What's really happening in Kansas
We have such good news to share with you. In the last two weeks, companies have announced decisions to come to Kansas or to expand their business and create jobs. Here's a list of some of the exciting announcements:

GM plans to shift a $245 million expansion to Kansas City

Instead of expanding a plant in liberal Detroit, GM will expand its plant in Fairfax, Kan. to produce a new model of Cadillac. The new model could start rolling off assembly lines in as little as three years.

A new aircraft completions firm is opening in Wichita

Emerald Aerospace, a new business that will modify planes into luxury aircraft and for other custom functions has opened up in the space Boeing previously occupied in Wichita. The company plans to hire local workers, many of them previously employed by Boeing.

Amazon will bring 1,000 jobs to Kansas

Online retail giant Amazon plans to open a new 800,000 square foot distribution center in an Edgerton logistics park. The decision was partially based on the skilled workforce the Kansas City area offers.

DH Pace is expanding in Olathe

DH Pace, which produces doors for homes and businesses, is adding 150 jobs and investing $3 million into expanding their corporate headquarters in Olathe.

Do you own a business that's expanding? We'd love to help you brag about your success. Send the information to speakermerrick@gmail.com.


Remember how the Kansas unemployment rate has been way low for over two years? So low in fact it seems like it can't go any lower? Well March's report proved that wrong. Unemployment in Kansas now stands at 3.9 percent.  There are 22,774 more Kansans employed now than there were a year ago at this time. Way to go Kansas! 
Source: Kansas Department of Labor

School district's favorite scapegoat: GOP  

One of the far left education lobby's favorite tactics is scapegoating Republicans to disguise their own mistakes. This week, a Kansas school district put that tactic on full display.
You can read this story for all the background, but here's basically what happened. Republicans last year passed the education block grant, which is designed to act as a stable bridge of funding to a new student centered school finance system. Despite everything that has happened with revenue volatility, Republicans over and over have kept their promise not to cut the record levels of education funding provided by the block grant.

Last fall, officials with the Kansas Department of Education advised school district officials that depending on how property tax values fare, they could receive additional money. Key word: could.  Well, some districts, like USD 501 in Topeka, decided to add that possible money into their budget. Now that they found out that money might not materialize because of plunging oil and gas prices--which have affected property tax values across the state-- they're blaming Republicans for "cutting" their budget.

In what universe other than a Bernie Sanders rally does that kind of thinking make sense?

Listen, nothing has changed. The block grant remains fully funded. Property values continue to fluctuate based on a whole host of factors like they always do. And school boards continue to make budget decisions for their district.

This is not a new tactic for USD 501. Last year, they made a very public show out of blaming Republicans for their decision to cut classrooms. Yet, they've increased their spending on administration by 50 percent  over the last 10 years. They also awarded hefty raises to administrators last year. 

It's pretty clear where USD 501's priorities lie, and it's certainly not with educating students. 
What the media forgot to tell you this week

Save yourself a headache and don't read a recent column in the Hays Post, which is attributed to Burdett Loomis, "professor of political science at the University of Kansas." The only reason we bring it up it here is that no where in the column does it mention Burdett formerly worked as the mouthpiece for Governor and failed Obamacare executive Kathleen Sebelius. Nor does it mention anywhere that his son formerly worked for the Kansas Democratic Party ( before he got fired for calling SE Kansas horrible names). It's hard to blame them for not mentioning his son's poor choices, but it's also strange that Burdett is presented as a kindly professor without further information on his background and agenda for the benefit of Kansans who read his biased vitriol.  
Want to look over every bill that's passed the legislature?
The Kansas Legislative Research Department has released their preliminary summary of all the legislation that's passed so far this session. The original can be found here and the supplemental can be found here.