Last week, we read in the Wichita Eagle and other papers that in a fund-raising letter Gov. Sam Brownback repeated his false claim that when he’d taken office, the state had only $876.05 in the bank — when in fact the total balance was more than $200 million.
But what about other claims the letter makes?
MISLEADING KANSANS ABOUT DEFICITS AND DEBT
Sam Brownback: “When I took office, Kansas was running a projected $500 million deficit. Today the state is running a projected $500 million cash surplus.”
That’s part of the story.
But according to figures provided by the Kansas Legislative Research Department, Brownback’s ill-conceived tax policy will obliterate that surplus by fiscal 2016 — and barring drastic spending cuts, it will lead to deficits of more than $1.2 billion in five years.
What’s more, the state’s bonded indebtedness has grown by more than one-fifth under Brownback to nearly $4.5 billion.
Kansans are fiscally responsible, and we want fiscally responsible leaders.
INFLATING AND OVER-HYPING JOBS NUMBERS
Sam Brownback: “In just three years, we’ve added 25,000 new private sector jobs and Kansas’ unemployment rate stands at just 4.8%.”
Close to right, according to the Kansas Labor Information Center, which reports about 21,000 more Kansans working now than before Brownback became governor.
But under Brownback, Kansas is creating new jobs slower than the nation as a whole and slower than most of our neighboring states.
As for the state’s unemployment rate, it’s true that it stands at 4.8 percent, according to the Kansas Labor Information Center. What Brownback won’t tell you is the average unemployment rate in Kansas since 1976. It’s the very same: 4.8 percent.
Average unemployment? Not something to crow about, and not something Sam Brownback can take credit for.
Sam Brownback has failed to deliver on the economy.
CHERRY-PICKING CENSUS NUMBERS
Sam Brownback: “Our state is growing and thousands of new residents are arriving.”
True, as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
The Kansas City Star reported in March on recent U.S. Census numbers that show nearly 17,000 people had moved to Kansas in the past four years. That much is true. But the same Census report shows nearly 27,000 people left the state.
The net loss is more than 10,000 — which more than offsets a population gain under Brownback’s predecessors.
Brownback goes out of his way to mislead us — by exaggerating, telling half the story, or cherry-picking statistics. Not the kind of strong leader we want.