Forget the GDP–the half billion or so of newly committed money is apparently not money enough for the lawyers representing four local school districts. They want $1.5 billion–with a “b”–more from the state taxpayers.
The fact that Kansas GDP actually fell in 2017, the only state in the region to experience a loss, does not overly trouble the lawyers in question. They seem to have convinced themselves they are more concerned about Kansas children than are the people who are raising those children and paying their fees.
As reported in the Kansas City Star, two of the lawyers, Alan Rupe and John Robb, asked the Kansas Supreme Court Monday to declare the school funding system “void” if the legislature fails to approve a second spending increase by the end of June. A “void” declaration would essentially mean the shutdown of the state’s public schools.
“The demands placed on the Kansas Legislature by the people of Kansas cannot be ignored simply because those demands are challenging,” Rupe and Robb said in their filing, presumably with a straight face.
On Friday, as reported in Wichita Liberty, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a division of the United States Department of Commerce, posted the 2017 state by state Gross Domestic Numbers (GDP) numbers.
If attorneys Rupe and Robb had a look at those numbers, they ignored them when filing their demand. Only Connecticut and Louisiana posted lower GDP growth numbers than Kansas did in 2017. A tax increase and a looming drought are likely to sabotage any additional Kansas growth in 2018.
The school district lawyers may have turned up the heat a little too abruptly for the tax-paying frogs of Kansas. The frogs may be ready to jump. Attorney General Derek Schmidt has rightfully described this second increase as “massive.”
Even moderate Republicans like Don Hineman of Topeka have called out this most recent demand as “ridiculous.” Said Hineman of the lawyers, “They must occupy a different universe than I do.”