A Weekly Rundown of Important Activity in Topeka, from a Principled Perspective
"Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”
~ Ronald Reagan
The Facts of the Matter will be a feature in The Truth Report each week, highlighting important information, some of which is not always reported or emphasized in the mainstream press:
  • Senator Roberts says Brownback will be confirmed soon. Despite delays, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts says that Governor Brownback will soon receive a renewed vote for Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom. Roberts indicated the committee would vote to confirm him, and he would receive a floor vote. (

  • The nation’s economy is soaring. Since Donald Trump took office, the nation’s economy is on a rebound. According to CNBC, in the year since President Donald Trump has been in office, the economy has done something it has been unable to do since 2005 — maintain 3 percent growth for three quarters in a row. This is good news for Kansas revenues and most importantly, Kansas taxpayers.

  • Employment is at a record high in Kansas. More people are working than ever before, according to the Kansas Department of Labor. The unemployment rate for Kansas was 3.5 percent in November. That is down slightly from October and down from 4.3 percent in November 2016.
News & Views is a weekly collection of relevant news items and editorials regarding what's going on in Topeka and around the State of Kansas.

Editorial: A Fair Share of the Pie for All Kansans

A group of contractors wrote an editorial (linked above) in the Gardner Edge. Here is an excerpt:

Spending time with family and friends over the holidays is a time honored Kansas tradition. It’s a chance to come together, celebrate the season and share great food. Homemade pie is always a favorite at our houses. But, when one member of the family continually takes more than his fair share of the pie, forcing others to go without, even the most patient family members have to speak up.

We’ve seen the same thing happen over and over again in Topeka. For decades, lawyers have entangled our school districts in lawsuit after lawsuit seeking more funding. Each time, taxpayers pay more, yet wind up with less for other essential priorities. Under the latest ruling, school districts are at the front of the line again, seeking 60 percent of state taxpayers’ pie while other priorities for our families – like job training, roads, healthcare and foster care – continue to lose.
State of the State Information
This week, Governor Sam Brownback delivered his State of the State address, which we discuss in the Truth Report below. Below is a link to the transcript of his speech, in addition to the Governor's Budget proposal.

Governor’s Budget:
Governor Sam Brownback Delivers Final State of the State Address
Governor Sam Brownback delivered his 8th and final State of the State address on Tuesday, January 9th. His speech outlined a number of facts and ideas for the future. ighlights of the speech included the following:

Defending a Culture of Life in Kansas
The Governor said the following:

“And finally, I dream of a culture of life where every life at every stage is celebrated and cherished. You have already done much to create this. With all the legislation protecting and honoring life you have passed, there have been 17,000 fewer abortions in the past six years than in the prior six-years. 17,000 we must not go back now!”

The progress in protecting life the last seven years is unmistakable. However, a case before the Kansas Supreme Court threatens to undermine all of that, as the Kansas Truth Caucus has written about before. Pro-life legislators are prepared to defend the culture of life we have established in Kansas.

The most notable part of the speech was on education policy and school finance, where Governor Brownback surprised many by calling for $600 million in additional funding for schools, which would be phased in over a five-year period. The cumulative effect of that funding increase is actually $2.0 billion over those five years. His proposal has even drawn praise from the Kansas City Star editorial board.

This was despite the fact that in the same speech, he indicated Kansas should not repeat the mistakes that educational results can be forced by massive infusions of taxpayer money alone. This proposal, he indicated, was to respond to the “decree” from the Kansas Supreme Court, which he has indicated he feels the legislature has no choice to comply with.

A detailed accounting of Governor Brownback's ideas on education can be found in his speech, which you can watch by clicking here.
Truth Caucus Expresses Alarm at School Finance Proposal
The Kansas Truth Caucus released the following statement in reaction to the State of the State Address by Governor Brownback:

"We appreciated hearing from Governor Brownback at his State of the State address to the Legislature. First, we affirm his commitment to protecting a culture of life the last seven years, and the 17,000 less abortions that have occurred the past six years as a result of the pro-life laws we worked together to enact. We must be vigilant in protecting innocent human life and we agree with the governor that this new growth in the culture of life in Kansas must not be destroyed.

“Secondly, regarding his newest school finance proposal, we are very alarmed at the $600 million requested over five years, which has a cumulative impact of $2 billion in new spending that the taxpayers would be on the hook for. It stands in sharp contrast to the governor’s statement that simply spending more money does not produce better results among students.

“Too often, school finance debates in Kansas revolve around a dollar figure and not around the principles of accountability, sustainability, and opportunity, particularly for those students who are not performing up to standards. Outcomes matter.

“Finally, it is important to remember that it is the Kansas taxpayer who pays the bills. It has only been a few months since the Legislature passed a massive, $1.2 billion retroactive tax increase on the backs of Kansas families, largely to pay for an increase in government spending. We stand against proposals which further add to the spending burden or blow a hole in the budget.”
The Kansas Truth Caucus is fighting for our students, families, and teachers for the best education possible in Kansas. As such, we are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent the Kansas Supreme Court from closing our schools.

Governor Releases Budget
Last year, the Kansas Legislature passed a two-year budget. However, often the budget needs to be revised and on Wednesday, Governor Brownback released his budget revisions for FY 2018 and FY 2019, which called for increase spending in the following areas:

Department of Children and Families. The proposal adds a $16.5 million funding increase over two-years to strengthen child welfare services at DCF. The $16.5 million presented would be focused on several key areas including:

  • 20 additional child welfare staff
  • Investigative staff to help track down missing children
  • Fingerprinting and background checks for foster care providers
  • Improvements to the center where people can report suspected abuse and neglect
  • Funding for family-preservation programs that are designed to prevent at-risk children from being taken into foster care

Where would the new money come from? It would be a combination of sources, including the state general fund and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Family) dollars. It was indicated that this would be the largest increase in child welfare funding in Kansas history.

The reason for the funding increase request stems from recent problems impacting DCF. This includes reports that children have been sleeping in social workers' offices because of a shortage of emergency-placement homes, as well as numerous missing children in the foster care system.

School Finance. As noted, Governor Brownback proposed an increase in education spending of $600 million by the end of a five-year period. The immediate impact in FY 2019 is an increase to K-12 funding by a total of $200.8 million. This includes approximately $88 million passed in 2017 (in SB 19) and would be used to increase the base state aid per pupil to $4,281.

Aviation & General Manufacturing. The governor proposed additional funding to the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), the restoration of funds to the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) to assist the aviation industry in Wichita, and additional $1 million to an apprenticeship program which helps students seeking certificates from trade schools and community colleges such as a CNA or mechanical license. Here are the details:

  • NIAR - $5 million additional dollars to bring to a total of $10 million
  • NCAT – Restoration of $1.7 million dollars to bring to a total of $5 million
  • Apprenticeships - $1 million

Ending Balance. The ending balances, under the proposed budget, would be $266 million in FY 2018 and $150 million in FY 2019. It is worth noting that the balances only occur by sweeping KDOT funds as well as delaying payments to KPERS.

The principle of limited government requires that every element of spending – existing and particularly new spending – be examined in detail for its justification and necessity. The members of the Kansas Truth Caucus look forward to scrutinizing these proposals, and others in the budget, over the coming weeks.

You can view the Governor’s Budget Report here: