After five years of a mismanaged budget that has resulted in cuts to education, higher sales and property taxes for middle class families, and a state that is among the worst in the country in job creation, Kansas Senate Democrats are committed to moving past these failures and putting Kansas on the right track again with these priorities:
Kansas’ fiscal condition is dire. Every year, the state legislature has had to fill budget shortfalls. Bond ratings have been downgraded. Borrowing has increased. Funds designated for other purposes have been raided. All the while Kansans are bearing the burden of the largest tax increase in state history and rising property taxes.
Kansas Senate Democrats want to put the state budget on solid footing for taxpayers and the economy with real, sustainable solutions.
The policies enacted by Gov. Brownback and his rubber stamping allies in the Legislature have resulted in deep cuts to the budgets of K-12 schools. Class sizes have increased, quality teachers have been let go, and test scores have dropped.
Investing in education at all levels – early childhood, K-12, and higher learning, including trade and technical education – has been, and always will be, a top priority of Kansas Senate Democrats. All Kansas children deserve a 21st century education, regardless of their economic background or geographical location in Kansas.
As Democrats, we understand that the economic prosperity of our children, our communities, and our state depends on quality schools with educators who have successfully completed teacher education programs and are licensed through the Kansas Department of Education.
That is why we believe in upholding the Kansas Constitution and fully funding public education.
During the past five years, Kansas’ economy has grown slower than its neighbors and the rest of the country. The governor has mismanaged our state economy, and Kansas is now among the worst in the country in job creation.
Kansas Senate Democrats want to work to put Kansas back on the right track to create good paying jobs and encourage the development of STEM industries in our state as well as strengthen our existing industries, including agriculture, aviation, bio-science, manufacturing, oil & gas, and wind energy. Only then can our state build a strong economy that every Kansas family may benefit from.
Good government and transparency are the very foundation of our democracy – it’s how trust is built with Kansans. Far too often in recent years this trust has been broken and abused.
Having an open and transparent government is absolutely critical to all the work done in the Capitol on behalf of Kansans.
Kansas Senate Democrats are committed to taking the steps to ensure that as challenges like the budget, schools, and so many more are addressed, they are done in an open way that gives Kansans the opportunity to observe or participate in their government. It is their right.
Returning our state government to the people is at the very core of our values as Democrats. More importantly, it’s at the very core of who we are as Kansans.
There should never be a shortage of law enforcement officers or within any area of public safety. Yet, as of November 2015, 36 counties in the state were without an assigned Kansas Highway Patrol Officer. In addition, state agencies including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Department of Corrections are understaffed and their employees are underpaid.
This is a direct result of years of poor fiscal management by Governor Brownback and his rubber-stamping allies in the Kansas Legislature. Kansas cannot afford to continue on the current path. Taxes and fees on average Kansans cannot continue to be relied on for the sake of tax breaks for the wealthy and well-connected.
Kansas Senate Democrats believe it is time for Kansas to move in a direction with responsible fiscal management of the state general fund that provides for proper staffing of essential public safety services.
Paid for by The Senate Democrats Committee, Kerry Gooch, Treasurer.