www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Another road map to success? -8/19/2014, 10:05 AM

It's the abuse of power, stupid -8/19/2014, 10:04 AM

Riots in Ferguson, and what they mean -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

One of billions -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

The GOP presents: Barack-nado -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Media and Missouri: What's going on? -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Answer the bell -8/15/2014, 8:58 AM

Get ready for denials -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mental illness -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mindless drones -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Can-do attitude -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

'Poor door' -- a symbol of a truth we all know -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

Eyeing the Ogallala Aquifer -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

The slacker congress -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

CIA vs. Senate -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

The cannabis conundrum -- we against us -8/11/2014, 8:55 AM

The debate is over -8/11/2014, 8:54 AM

The 'Almost' Revolution -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Is cross a history lesson or state religion? -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Another downgrade -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

State economy plays critical role in the future of FHSU -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Building on past successes for a stronger future -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Will Palin's channel rival Comedy Central? -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Western anti-Semitism -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Patrolmen without borders -8/7/2014, 10:13 AM

Not a choice -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Ebola politics -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Too few voters -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

A special breed -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

A license to vote -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

Selfies in Auschwitz -- and why it's wrong -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

Election turnout -8/5/2014, 9:19 AM

Dairy's closing -8/5/2014, 9:19 AM

Concealing the Statehouse debate -8/5/2014, 9:18 AM

Beauty all around us -8/5/2014, 9:18 AM

Needing another senator -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Doing what he said -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Needing a new understanding of energy -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Do-nothing Congress -8/3/2014, 12:02 PM

Seeking the ultimate 'redress of grievances' -8/3/2014, 11:43 AM

Kansas values -8/3/2014, 11:43 AM

A candidate with morals, integrity -8/3/2014, 11:43 AM

Huelskamp deserves vote -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

One third of 1 percent makes difference -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

Vote for our future -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

Reaching a limit -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

Please stop helping us -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Deadly double standards -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Huelskamp's attention to detail -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Surprise, surprise, surprise -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Medicaid expansion a win-win for Kansas -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Term limits are first step -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Vote for what's right -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

The next governor -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Shultz is the pick -7/31/2014, 10:11 AM

Eyeing the children -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Speak from the heart -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Changing attitudes -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Time to replace Huelskamp -7/30/2014, 9:00 AM

Water vision -7/29/2014, 9:48 AM

No longer a supporter -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

The power of punctuation -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

Running for the wrong bus -7/28/2014, 9:04 AM

Old Old Mexico -- Culture and content -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

The defining issue of economic recovery -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

In a world of sectarian violence, what can be done? -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

Funding DHDC -7/27/2014, 1:18 PM

Endorsement for Shultz -7/25/2014, 3:28 PM

Against the wind -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Do blacks need favors? -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Vote Huelskamp out -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Open meetings -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Leadership change needed -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Vote for Huelskamp -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Protecting unborn children -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Learning experience valuable -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

False equivalence -7/23/2014, 8:07 AM

Measles' scary comeback -7/23/2014, 1:27 PM

The 'big data' deal -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

GOP can't get out of its own way -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

War only will add to Middle East problems -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Avoiding taxes -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Take the win in Iran -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

The high court's high-handedness -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Up in arms in the Capitol -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Firefighters weigh in on pay raise -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Backpacks for Kids -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Our unwillingness to defend ourselves -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

Remembering a man who championed freedom -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

GOP split -7/17/2014, 8:38 AM

New Kansas senator -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Who'll build the roads? -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Time to retire -7/16/2014, 2:20 PM

Reagan: In or out? -7/16/2014, 2:45 PM

'Unbroken' WWII vet more than a hero -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Savor the fruits of your labor -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Erasing candidate's standards -7/15/2014, 11:36 AM

Returning to Trail Wood -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Leaving some in 'suspense' -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Strangers in a remarkable land -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Getting ready to grade Brownback

Published on -4/24/2012, 2:24 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

We'll know in the next three weeks whether Gov. Sam Brownback has  driven the state along his Roadmap for Kansas -- or whether he's going to have to pull over to ask directions.

The first real all-his legislative session (last year, he was to some degree just using up the last of the milk left to him by preceding Democratic governors) has produced just one clear victory.

He got the substantial changes he championed for state water law passed and into the statute book, but the next three, maybe four, weeks of the Legislature's wrap-up session will determine whether he has any other scalps to hang off his belt.

Now, the water law changes were dramatic for those who watch that sort of thing, but for most of the state where water rights mean who gets to the sink first, it wasn't an earth-moving event.

Brownback's dramatic school finance plan rework never got off the ground, but again, that's primarily an issue that is complicated, and most voters' contact with school finance legislation comes when their local school district announces the mill levy for K-12 schools.

The governor appears to have his massive re-working of the state's Medicaid system for the state's poor, children and elderly virtually locked up. For those of us with health insurance, it's hard to see just what is changing, but basically KanCare -- the renamed Medicaid system -- hands over the complicated management of care and payment for care for 380,000 Kansans to maybe three private contractors.

It might reduce costs and make more care available for more people, that's Brownback's goal, and it is likely to work. It is causing concern among some disability interest groups about the speed with which the governor is making the massive change, but it is also one of those things that can be done essentially from Brownback's desk without a lot of opportunity for the Legislature to step in and complicate -- or derail.

It's probably down to taxes and reapportionment that the governor will be graded on this session. His basic reapportionment plan is, very simply, to scatter the pockets of relatively high density Democratic voters -- Wyandotte, Douglas and Shawnee counties -- among separate congressional districts.

Simply, it would mean that virtually any Republican who doesn't have a restraining order against him/her can be elected to Congress, and the same principle applies to the state Senate redistricting. That's the blunt, if politically indelicate, way to describe it.

Strategically for a Republican governor, that's the right plan. Getting it done will be a test.

And, there are also taxes. Here, it's also murky.

Just cutting taxes across-the-board, so everyone pays a little less and enjoys it, would be simple. But Brownback isn't proposing to do it the simple way. He wants to eliminate state income taxes paid by small businesses and corporations, and toss in some individual rate cuts unevenly -- the wealthy get bigger percentage cuts than the middle- and lower-income Kansans.

That's the problem the Legislature will struggle with. Whose taxes do you cut? If you buy the governor's concept that lower taxes on businesses will mean they hire more people and make Kansas more prosperous, well, he's right. If you believe businesses that hire more employees merely because they have lower taxes are run by fools, then maybe that's not the way to go.

And, we'll see which way the Legislature goes, and whether Brownback will claim a victory in tax policy with or without those business tax cuts.

A canny governor will take whatever tax cuts he can get out of the Legislature and declare victory.

Then, we all get to grade him.

Syndicated by Hawver News Co. of Topeka, Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report. To learn more about this statewide political news service, visit www.hawvernews.com.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos