I must reply to Bob Hooper's column titled "Kansas the Fruitcake State." I cut that column out and hung it on my office wall because Hooper had it exactly right. Yes, his column was meant to be humorous, but more than once, he hit the nail on the head. Hooper said he still had his Davis/Docking campaign signs in his yard. I've been waiting for a good snow storm so I, too, could put my Davis signs out, stuck in the snow.
My question is this: Who voted our fruitcake heads of state into office? I've come to the conclusion Kansas could save a whole lot of money if they just eliminated elections. I'm only half joking. Since our fruitcake state is also a "red" state, and there are twice as many voting Republicans as there are Democrats and the Republicans are always going to vote for their party candidate, why vote? If you're a Republican running for office, just think of the money they could save: No degrading expensive political commercials between parties, no money layout for signs and mailed fliers, and we could avoid standing in line to vote.
Then maybe we could have more money to keep our nice Kansas roads, our kids wouldn't be crammed into classrooms, and we could pay our teachers what they deserve. And just think of all the time we would save listening to politicians drone on and on about all their untrue promises. On second thought, maybe Gov. Sam Brownback could get back all the money he spent on those negative political ads and place that money nicely into the Kansas coffers?
Now the Guv wants to increase taxes on liquor and cigarettes. Here we go again. My tasty Pino Grigio wine I love with my steak is going to cost more again. I have a better suggestion: If we are going to have "sin" taxes, why not increase the taxes on those energy drinks Americans consume by the case? Surely all those energizers they contain can't be good for us. Or tax all the things that are bad for us?
Yes, cigarettes cause cancer, alcohol can turn us all into alley drunks, but what about cholesterol? Heart disease is our No. 1 killer, but I don't see higher taxes on red meat, bags of sugar and flour or the dreaded pasta which we are now supposed to avoid. For years, we shunned eating eggs because of the cholesterol, but now they are "OK" to consume. Then it was coffee. I don't remember what negative disease that was supposed to cause. So every time we find something that is supposed to be a "sin" to consume or use, we get taxed more for it?
For the first time since 1977, there are more Kansans moving out of Kansas than moving in. (According to a nationwide moving company). Who can blame them? And does the Guv really think Kansas is going to make money by raising taxes on smokes? No. Kansans will drive to Oklahoma and Missouri to get cigarettes, where they are cheaper. Sheepherder Brownback's sheep will be shopping in greener pastures, much like the people of western Kansas drive to Salina or Wichita to shop: To get a better deal.
Yes, Hooper, we are indeed the fruitcake state. But maybe we wouldn't be if sheepherders like Brownback wouldn't keep getting voted in by the sheep.
Nick Schwien is managing editor at The Hays Daily News.