So it was no surprise last Sunday when The Wichita Eagle ran an article written by Kansas Senator Susan Wagle trying to justify her party’s policies that have damaged our state’s infrastructure, raised taxes on the poorer workers and left other workers with no jobs at all.
But to hear Wagle tell it, Kansas is an economic miracle that the rest of the country will soon want to emulate;
“The 2013 legislative session marked a major step forward in reforming long-term fiscal policy and positioning Kansas as a model for other pro-growth states.”
There may be economic growth in this state, but it is not reaching the working class or the middle classes. There are very few new jobs being created here in Wichita and this is the biggest city in the state. Since the end of the school year, (I work in a local school) I have found few new or summer jobs. What few jobs I have found have had at least 10 applicants for each opening. I know of other people looking for work and many have just given up.
If this is a future model for pro-growth states—where are the jobs? Who wants to live in a state where the jobs are few and far between?
Then she is quick to say that Kansas now has “a FairTax model that targets the taxation of consumption (sales) rather than productivity (income).”
This state has moved the tax burden to sales taxes rather than income based taxes. We now have some of the highest sales taxes in the country. This puts the burden of taxes on the working poor and middle classes who are spending more of their hard earned income on sales taxes. As for “lower income taxes,” that is not the case for those in the lower income tax brackets. Most people I know are actually paying MORE not less income taxes than they have ever paid before. This “Fair Tax model” works for those who make a lot of income, but not for those who earn lower levels of income. The average working class citizens is paying higher taxes than many other states.
Wagle also wants the readers to know; “We passed a balanced budget while funding core services and kept state spending within our means.”
Her governor, Sam Brownback, and her other cohorts have balanced the budget by wrecking essential services to the average citizen and waging a war against any services to the poor and disabled.
People are spending three hours on average to renew their driver’s license. Any calls made to a government agency now take at least 10 minutes are more to get a real person. Any government services are now taking way longer to get done. It now takes me six to eight weeks to get my teaching certificate back after I reapply. It used to take only one week. This is typical of anything that requires the services of a government employee.
Schools have been seriously hit hard, with teachers being fired, and discipline problems at an all time high. There are fewer services for the students, fewer class choices, overcrowding, and there are shortages of supplies.
The poor in this state have been especially hard hit. According to Otto’s War room;
“Roughly 384,000 Kansans, or 13.8 percent of the state's population, live at or below the poverty line, which is $23,050 a year for a family of four. That number has risen by nearly 80,000 people since before the recession began in 2008. Of those, 34,000 were children, whose poverty rate has increased from 14.5 percent to nearly 19 percent.”
Wagle bragged that “we doubled down on the success of last session and set Kansas on a path to prosperity for years to come.”
If Wagle’s idea of prosperity is a huge increase in poverty that is not the kind of prosperity most of us living here want. I’m sure her rich friends are doing well; the rest of the state is enduring one of the worst economic nightmares in recent history.
This next statement shows just how much Wagle takes the working classes for granted;
“We live in a mobile society. Jobs grow and people locate where they can keep in their own pocket the maximum amount of their hard-earned money.”
She just doesn’t get it. People who can leave this state are doing it and at some point her rich friends she has worked so hard to satisfy are going to need workers to do the work it takes to create wealth. Many of the state’s most talented workers are leaving for states where they can “keep in their own pocket” what they earn. If people’s needs are not met, no amount of sucking up to business will keep the work force here that is required to keep an economy afloat.
This article doesn’t have a lot of statistics because I live and work here. So do many of my friends. We see firsthand what this “model for other pro-growth states” has produced and we want no part of it. God help any state that tries to incorporate this mess into their own economy. They are going to need it.