Apparently no one told the new House Majority Leader, Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, that a blue wave had transformed Kansas into a tax-and-spend paradise.
In discussing what should be done with the windfall to Kansas and other states from changes in the federal tax code, Hawkins said the state would be “just robbing” taxpayers if they did not return the unexpected dividend to the people.
Estimates of how much additional money will flow into Kansas coffers as a result of the federal reform run between $84 million and $138 million.
As reported by John Hanna of the Associated Press, Governor-elect Laura Kelly wants to “let the dust settle” before tackling the subject of tax reform. Beholden as she is to the education lobby, Kelly plans to increase spending, especially on public education. Hanna cites the figure of an additional $90 million a year, which would consume just about all the new revenue generated by federal reform.
Like too many reporters, Hanna divides the political world into “conservatives” and ordinary Kansans. State Sen. Caryn Tyson is “a GOP conservative and chairwoman of the Senate tax committee.” House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. is a “Kansas City-area conservative.” House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins is “a conservative Wichita Republican.”
All three want to reverse this unexpected tax increase. “A lot of Republicans ran on giving that money back to the taxpayers,” said Ron Ryckman Jr. It would seem that this gesture alone is enough to make one a “conservative” in the media’s eyes.
In reality, Hawkins and Ryckman are moderates. According to the Kansas Policy Institute’s Freedom Index, which measures a legislator’s commitment to economic and educational freedom, the conservative Tyson scored an 83 out of 100 in the 2018 session, but Hawkins and Ryckman each scored only 55.
Several Democrats scored in this same range including new House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, who scored a 50. Hanna cites Sawyer but without a label. As a senator, Laura Kelly voted herself deep into the liberal range with a score of 26 in 2018. True to form, Hanna labels her only as a “veteran state senator from Topeka.”
The only use of the world “liberal” comes in the comment section from a Bob Summers who asks, “Tell us Liberal governor, how more confiscated money, from the working stiff, spent on an education albatross helps the children break the worldwide top twenty in math, science and reading proficiencies?”