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Morning Sun
  • SULLIVAN: Kansas isn't Texas

  • Kansas isn't Texas. Kansas isn't Florida. Kansas is Kansas. If you take away the ability of the state government to maintain and/or enhance it's great university system, and if you take away the money to fix the roads, re-build bridges, and maintain and/or enhance infrastructure, Kansas won't be Kansas anymore. It will be simply a central flatland with few distinguishing characteristics.

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  • Kansas isn't Texas. Kansas isn't Florida. Kansas is Kansas. If you take away the ability of the state government to maintain and/or enhance it's great university system, and if you take away the money to fix the roads, re-build bridges, and maintain and/or enhance infrastructure, Kansas won't be Kansas anymore. It will be simply a central flatland with few distinguishing characteristics.
    Kansas is renowned for its great universities. People come to Kansas from all over the country to live and to learn . It is one source of great pride for Kansans, and rightly so. But if the Brownback budget proposal passes, say goodbye to the Kansas we know, and say hello to the flatland with a flat tax and a flat earth approach to solving complicated contemporary problems.
    Say it ain't so, Joe!
    When Governor Brownback gave his State of the State address, his legislative cheerleaders erupted in raucous applause when he said "Look out Texas, here comes Kansas!"
    The comparison could not be more in apt. Both Florida and Texas have lots of seacoast and derive much of their economic vitality either from the gulf coast directly, or tourism indirectly.
    Kansas is landlocked. It has no sea coast.  It has little tourism industry compared to the other two states.  What it does have is a pretty good road system, pretty good schools, and excellent university system, all of which are now at risk under the policy initiatives of the current regime in Topeka.  It also has an industrious and well trained workforce, whose middle class existence is being threatened by the tax increases that will be visited upon them in order to give tax cuts to the supposed job creating class that has yet to move here.
     
    People locate their businesses where they locate them for a whole host of reasons, a favorable tax climate being one.  But it’s not all about taxes.  It is about quality of life, and proximity to airports for travel, and available land, a good transportation system, and cultural amenities.  Kansas has a good central location, but people need more than just low taxes as a reason to relocate here.  Becoming the only one of 50 states to abolish its Arts Commission is not helping to improve that quality of life that new movers and shakers seek. Indeed, it is another  step backward.
    No doubt Governor Brownback fervently believes the path he is following is the right one. Zealots, historically, always do. The one thing that is missing,  however, is a fact based approach that warrants the diversion down the path he is choosing. Did anybody do a study that concluded that if you just eliminate the state income tax, Kansas will become the Emerald City like ‘Oz ‘of Brownback's dreams? If so, where is it, and who did it?
    Page 2 of 2 - It is good to dream. It is good to strive to better one's home state. It is even better to tether those hopes and dreams to a reality based approach to governance, lest those dreams become the average Kansan's nightmare.
    Let's hope that the Kansas Legislature awakens from this sleepy stupor before it is too late to change course and realize that there are a few icebergs in the path Governor Brownback is choosing. It's not too late to navigate around them. Is anyone up in the crows nest looking ahead and shouting down to us?  Where is William Allen White when you need him?
    John Sullivan is a teacher at Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern State. He lives in Pittsburg.
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