Article questions state’s child support contract\

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article is by Andy Marso of the Topeka Capital Journal. Be sure to take the time to read the feedback at the end of the article.)

Brownback donor’s company gets child support contract

Company’s former employee head of department to be privatized

By Andy Marso

andy.marso@cjonline

A Mississippi company run by one of Gov. Sam Brownback’s donors was awarded a contract to administer Kansas child support services last week, two years after the state hired one of the firm’s former employees to head up the child support division.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families announced Friday that four companies were awarded contracts to privatize Kansas child support enforcement. One of them is YoungWilliams, P.C., based in Jackson, Miss. The company’s CEO, Robert Wells, and his wife, Pam Wells, both gave maximum $2,000 donations to Brownback’s campaign during the 2010 primary cycle.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the contract had the appearance of an insider’s “pay-to-play” deal.

Click here to read the entire article.

When elected officials tinker, results usually are disappointing

There has been a lot of debate and even some political arm-twisting going on in Topeka focusing on Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax reform plan, which the House basically supported. After first rejecting the House version and after Brownback flexed his political muscle with several GOP moderates, the Senate reversed itself Wednesday, March 21, and passed legislation that could lead to a compromise with the House.

History tells us that when politicians tinker with legislation designed to reform anything, especially tax laws, well, the outcome usually isn’t favorable to the working class or senior citizens and others who are on fixed incomes.

Brownback’s plan would make permanent the recently hiked state sales tax of 6.3 percent, would reduce individual income taxes, eliminate income taxes for small businesses and eliminate a host of tax breaks such as those for charitable contributions and mortgage interest all designed, he says, to create a better business climate in Kansas to create jobs and stimulate the state’s economy. Continue reading

Budget battle or playing into Brownback’s plan

Ultra conservative Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback isn’t the little engine that thought he could. No, he’s the diesel locomotive barreling down the tracks at full speed.

So when Brownback, in his State of the State speech last January, presented his budget plan that included sweeping and dramatic changes in the state’s tax code, he likely thought the tracks ahead of him were clear of all legislative clutter given the fact conservatives control the Kansas House and are just a few seats shy of controlling the Senate.

For years, conservatives fought, and usually lost to, moderate Republican and Democratic governors in trying to create legislation to diminish government and pass conservative agenda items. And now, finally, standing before them was a governor wanting to shrink government, reduce spending, reduce taxes, improve the business climate especially for small businesses, and put money back into the pockets of Kansans.

Brownback is the kind of governor conservative legislators have wanted in office for years. Continue reading

‘Social gatherings’ vs. committee hearings; newspaper reveals Brownback’s sneaky government

It is one thing to be a strong leader, which Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback seemed to exhibit during his State of the State Address earlier this month. It’s quite another, though, to show signs of being a dictator, of which Brownback may guilty as a result of a closed-door “legislative dinner” on Jan. 9.

According to a story published by The Topeka Capital Journal’s Andy Marso, Brownback apparently has brought to Topeka Washington’s way of doing government business: privately and in back rooms away from the public’s view. Marso writes that Brownback invited a majority of members from the Senate’s KPERS Select Committee and the House’s Pensions and Benefits Committee to what his staff said was the first of seven such dinners at Cedar Crest, the governor’s mansion. Continue reading

Brownback’s vision for Kansas

This will surprise a lot of people, but for the most part, I liked what I heard from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback last night, Jan. 11, in his State of the State speech to legislators in Topeka. The full text of his speech can be read by clicking this link.

Basically, he wants to put Kansas back on a solid financial footing by finishing the state’s budgeting process that will leave nearly $500 million in reserves, which will exceed the 7.5 percent required by the state’s constitution. To do this, he’s not asking more of taxpayers, rather, he’s urging lawmakers to overhaul the state’s tax code to make it what he calls simpler and more fair by reducing individual income tax rates, eliminating individual state income tax on most small businesses, by getting rid of many deductions, income tax credits and exemptions, and limiting government spending. Continue reading

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