Duane Goossen: Do as I say, not as I did

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Former state budget director Duane Goossen, now employed by Kansas Action for Children, recently wrote, “The Kansas budget has been structurally unbalanced every year since the 2012/2013 tax cuts went into effect, putting the state in a highly precarious financial situation.”  The state does need to resolve the structural imbalance but it’s been around much longer than Goossen says.  In … Read More

University funding actually increasing; tuition hikes not necessary

Dave TrabertEducation

Kansas universities are proposing more tuition hikes and placing the blame on what they describe as “budget cuts” for the upcoming fiscal year.  But as is often the case in government, “budget cuts” means getting a smaller increase than desired rather than getting less than the previous year – and that’s the case with 4 of the 6 Kansas universities. … Read More

State school board member should practice what he preaches

Dave TrabertEducation

District 9 State School Board member Jim Porter published the following piece outlining what he considers to be deceptive statements about school funding and state taxes.  He urges political leaders to “tell the whole story” but doesn’t practice what he preaches, as we found a dozen deceptive statements in his piece.  His published text follows in black and our reaction is … Read More

Option 4: Soak the Poor

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

A coalition of four organizations – Kansas Action for Children, Kansas Organization of State Employees, Kansas National Education Association and Kansas Contractors Association – held a press conference on April 27 to announce their proposal for balancing the state budget.  “Option 4” (their alternative to the three options proposed by Governor Brownback) called for taking away all of the tax … Read More

Tax revenue increasing, but not enough to keep up with record spending

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

You wouldn’t know it from most media coverage – and certainly not from the special interests calling for higher taxes and more spending – but the new revenue estimates released yesterday show that tax revenue increased 1.5 percent last year and is expected to be 2.6 percent higher this year.  Tax revenue is expected to grow 3.0 percent more next … Read More

Kansas Legislature introduces transformative new school funding system

Dave TrabertEducation

To the surprise of many legislative observers, a brand new school finance system was proposed last week in House Appropriations with an effective date of July 1, 2017.  The unique approach set forth in HB 2741 includes a new method of equalizing capital outlay aid and eliminates the need for Local Option Budget equalization by providing all funding needed to … Read More

Lawrence school board member makes many false claims in angry rant

Dave TrabertEducation

A commentary by USD 497 Lawrence school board member Marcel Harmon published this week by Salon.com set new lows for its cruel, angry tone.  This isn’t the garden variety name-calling that permeates school funding discussions; he actually issued what could be construed as a call to violence. He ponders what it will take for what he sees as ‘apathy’ “…to … Read More

James FrankoResearch, Tax & Spending

Latest in “Factbook” series exploring the relationship between the size of government and economic vitality.

Houston, we have a spending problem

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Hyperbole-laden claims from special interests, certain legislators and editorial writers are giving Kansans and the world the impression that revenue shortfalls have led to apocalyptic spending cuts.  That’s not true, of course, but the battle for control of the message is about something much bigger than agency spending levels.  In Chapter 4 (Lessons from Kansas: A Behind the Scenes Look at America’s Most Discussed … Read More