Independence Day, July 4 , 2017
A monthly column by Heidi Holliday, Executive Director of the Kansas for Economic Growth

A new fiscal year began on July 1 --  a milestone that deserves celebration. Because lawmakers boldly set Kansas on the path out of the Brownback tax experiment, Fiscal Year 2018 marks the beginning of our state's financial recovery. Kansas is now better positioned to provide great schools, vibrant communities, and strong services that help residents in need.

Tax reform that passed earlier this month was a crucial first step towards recovery. By reversing the "March to Zero," closing the LLC loophole, and reinstating a three-tier income tax structure, Senate Bill 30 ends the most harmful provisions of the Governor's failing tax plan. It also phases in the restoration of an important tax credit and three deductions that were eliminated in 2012 to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy.

With the start of a new fiscal year, Kansas is on its way to restoring its fiscal health and reinvesting in thriving communities. Rebuilding a tax code that works for all Kansans, however, will require additional reforms.

To pay for the Governor's irresponsible and steep income tax cuts, the state increasingly (and disproportionately) depended more and more on the state's sales tax and property tax. In 2015, the sales tax was increased to offset lagging state revenue. This affected every Kansan in every county, but especially hurt low-income residents. State aid to local governments also declined sharply, resulting in property tax increases as communities struggled to keep up with the demand for basic services.

Restoring balance to Kansas' tax system will require broadening the base and rebuilding tax equity, so that the three components of a strong economy - income tax, sales tax, and property tax - function together.

The Brownback tax experiment broke the Kansas budget and the state's tax code. If we want to fully recover from the past five years, tax reform must rebalance Kansas' "three legged stool" by addressing sales and property tax problems in addition to income tax issues. Fortunately, Kansans are beginning the new fiscal year with a major piece of the puzzle in place.


Sign up for email updates from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth at www.realprosperityks.com
While we've always known the month your dues were received, we hadn't figured out how to remind you of your renewal date. Now the problem is solved. Now, no matter the month you become a dues-paying member, we'll send you a renewal reminder a year later. A bit more figuring and time for us but worth it.
 
Need we say? 2018 will be a critically important year for Kansas and for Women for Kansas. We will elect a new governor, work to retain the moderates we helped put in the statehouse and vote out the remaining extremists. To ensure that the 13 W4K Chapters around the state remain strong and working for all of us requires money.

Your dues are critical ... and now, whether you become a member in January or July, we're able to confirm your annual renewal date.
 
FYI: If your dues exceed $75, we'll send a tax-deductible receipt for the difference.
BROWNBACK, GOP LEGISLATORS DEBATE SPIN ON KS TAX REFORM
Tim Carpenter, The Garden City Telegram
House and Senate Republicans in the Legislature sharply challenged Friday accuracy of Gov. Sam Brownback administration's depiction of state income tax reforms adopted in response to the government's substantial revenue shortfall.
Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat on the Senate budget committee, said new revenue went into erasing the deficit, improving state employee salaries, upgrading mental health services and other long-neglected areas of the state budget. She expressed surprise at the tone of the Brownback administration's response to tax legislation approved by the Republican-led Legislature.
"It's certainly disrespectful, at least, and unbecoming the office of the governor," Kelly said.  Read more here .
RUNNING THE NUMBERS ON THE KANSAS EXPERIMENT
Justin Fox, Bloomberg View
Ah, the  Kansas experiment. It doesn't seem to be going so well! Republican Governor Sam Brownback, who pushed through big tax cuts in 2012 at the urging of supply-side guru Arthur Laffer, now has an approval rating of 27 percent -- besting only New Jersey's Chris Christie. The Republican-majority Legislature voted earlier this month to override Brownback's veto of a $1.2 billion tax hike meant to bring the state's red-ink-ridden budget back to somewhere near balance.
In political terms, then, the experiment was clearly a failure. But was it really an economic failure -- and if so, how big a failure? And why didn't it work?
Read more here .
HOW LOW CAN TAXES GO? OUTSIDE WASHINGTON, REPUBLICANS FIND LIMITS
Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times
Something strange has been happening
to taxes in Republican-dominated states: They are going up.
Conservative lawmakers in Kansas, South Carolina and Tennessee  have agreed to significant tax increases in recent weeks to meet demands for more revenue. They are challenging what has become an almost dogmatic belief for their party.
And now some Republicans say that what has played out in these states should serve as a cautionary tale in Washington, where their party's leaders are confronting a set of circumstances that looks strikingly similar.
Read more here.
A LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT HEADS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Eagle Editorial Board, The Wichita Eagle
We knew this much: It was going to be an unusual Kansas legislative session.
Gains by moderate Republicans in last August's primaries were combined with nine seats picked up by Democrats in the November general election. It created essentially three blocks of legislators: conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans and Democrats.
"The legislature's going to be a much different place in 30 days," House minority leader Jim Ward (D-Wichita) said on election night.  It was.  Read more here .
IS KANSAS CONSERVATIVE? THAT'S A MYTH
Michael A. Smith, The Wichita Eagle
We all know the conservative myth by now--the American myth--anyone can make it if they try hard enough. All it takes is a strong foundation in family and traditional values, a willingness to work hard, and a refusal to take handouts. Government just gets in the way.
As the loyal opposition, we respond to this myth by throwing facts at it. Examples abound: Kansans receive more money from the federal government than we pay in taxes so that residents of Democratic-voting "donor states" like Connecticut are paying our bills. Rural America depends on generous farm subsidies. Taxpayer-funded military outlays support communities like Junction City and much of Wichita. Communities need strong public schools and good roads to thrive. Most entitlement spending in this country goes to middle-class senior citizens, not unemployed poor people in urban ghettos.
In fact, most of the poor in this country are employed; they receive low wages, not welfare.  Read more here .
PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTIONS -- AND
NOT JUST FROM RUSSIAN HACKERS
Martin Levine, Nonprofit Quarterly
The growing number of states that
have passed laws making it harder  to register and vote has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Americans losing a basic right of citizenship. What's more, in many states, the ability of legislatures to redistrict has turned into a powerful tool for devaluing targeted voters.
In state houses across the country, the debate over what comprises the real threat to our democracy rages as legislatures consider proposals to make it easier or harder to register and vote. According to New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, "At least 99 bills to restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced in 31 states. At the same time, "at least 531 bills to enhance voting access have been introduced in 45 states. In the coming months, we will see how these statehouse struggles play out. In the wake of the 2020 census, we will see how each state approaches redistricting. And we will learn more about how the Supreme Court, now with a full nine justices, really feels about a state's right to discriminate.
In the balance hangs the meaning of our democracy.
Read more here .
PAPER BALLOTS ARE HACK-PROOF. IT'S TIME TO BRING THEM BACK
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today
I've been talking about the importance of protecting against voting-machine hacks since 2002. And now, finally, people are starting to take me seriously.
So what should we do? Well, we could try to boost our cybersecurity, but given that the NSA, the FBI and the CIA are leaking important secrets on a daily basis, maybe we're not up to that job. So, once again, let me suggest that we return to something that, by its very nature, can't be hacked by a guy in St. Petersburg: Paper ballots.
It's time, and past time, to get serious about ballot security. Because today's paranoia and division is just a minor taste of what could happen next time, if we remain unprepared. America can't afford that.  Read more here .
I'VE SILENCED KRIS KOBACH ON THE ISSUE OF VOTER FRAUD
Chad Lawhorn, LJWorld.com
There are some who would say evoking silence from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is akin to a miracle.
And when the subject is illegal voting, Kobach normally becomes like a "Game of Thrones" fan at a cocktail party. You need an actual wizard to get out of that conversation.
But evidently that is not always the case. It has been a little more than four months since I  first reported a potential voter fraud case involving Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern and his elderly mother. I've asked Kobach's representatives approximately a half-dozen times for an update on the case. Most times, I haven't even received a response from his office. I did on June 14. Spokeswoman Samantha Poetter sent me an email saying she expected to have an update for me later that day. That was the last I've heard from her, despite checking in several more times.  Why is Kobach silent on the matter?
Read more here.
BUILDING THE BRIDGE:  FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD TO  K-12 EDUCATION
Kansas Action for Children
All Kansas kids deserve the best possible start in life. As legislators worked together to develop a new school finance formula this session and contemplated the level of funding needed to adequately meet the needs of all students, especially the most at-risk kids across the state,  another important conversation emerged - the importance of investing in research-based early childhood programs and support services.  Legislators focusing more on children and how the state can best support their social, emotional, and intellectual development is promising. Building bridges between early childhood and K-12 education is how we build a better, brighter future and achieve remarkable outcomes for Kansas kids.  Read more here .
The Kansas Rural Center is pleased to host
FARMING PRACTICES THAT BENEFIT POLLINATORS (& A WHOLE LOT MORE!)
FARM TOUR & WORKSHOP
Wednesday, July 26, 9:00am-4:30pm
Holton, Kansas

Morning Farm Tour: 9-11am
Shane New's Farm, 11760 254th Road, Holton

Lunch & Afternoon Workshop: 11:30am-4:30pm
EUM Life Center, 227 Pennsylvania Ave., Holton

Hear from farmers Gail Fuller, Robin Griffith,  Shane New and Lucinda Stuenkel about practices they use that benefit pollinators and increase soil health, water and air quality, biodiversity, resiliency and more.

Learn about the impacts of neonictinoids on pollinators and how to transition away from pesticides on your farm.
Register today at the Kansas Rural Farm Center or call 866-579-5469 or email info@kansasruralcenter.org.
SEBELIUS: REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE PLANS ARE 'A VERY CRUEL WAR ON THE POOR'
Dan Margolies, kmuw 89.1
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius calls the Republican health care plans passed by the House and proposed by the Senate "a very cruel war on the poor."
The post, co-authored with Ron Pollack, founding executive director of consumer health group Families USA, states, "By far, no demographic group would be hurt more by these legislative proposals than low-income people. They are the bulls-eye!"  Read more here .
PACHYDERM: CONGRESSMAN  RON ESTES
Hosted by Wichita Pachyderm Club
Friday, July 7,  11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Wichita Petroleum Club  100 N. Broadway, Wichita

United States  Congressman Ron Estes represents the fourth district of Kansas, which is the Wichita metropolitan area and counties to the east and west and  was elected in a special election and took office on April 25.
Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings. The meeting cost, which includes a delicious buffet lunch plus coffee and/or iced tea, is $15 ($12 for Club members).
There is no RSVP. You may park in the garage on Broadway, and if you do, bring your parking ticket to have it stamped for $1.00 parking.
IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
The Topeka Capital-Journal
Posted in Cowley Courier Traveler
Although the 2018 elections are a year and a half away, Kansans should already be paying attention.  The Legislature underwent a drastic political transformation when more than one-third of our lawmakers were replaced in 2016, and this resulted in the passage of a $1.2 billion tax-reform package and other bills that would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago.
But this doesn't mean the political character of Kansas has permanently changed - we'll find out just how moderate the state really is in November 2018.  Read more here .
SEE WHAT YOU'VE GONE 
AND DONE!
Your belief in Women for Kansas and the work we do to elect, and keep, moderates in Topeka has created
13 W4K Chapters across the state!
Thousands of moderate voters thank you.  As you know, 2018 is a momentous election year, and we're looking for committed W4K members. 

If you're interested in being involved, contact a Chapter Leader. A complete list of Chapter Leaders and their contact information is available here.

If you're interested in forming a Chapter, contact Deanna Zitterkopf at beowulfprof@cox.net .

BECOME A MEMBER OF WOMEN FOR KANSAS!   

Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of determined Women for Kansas, 2016 was the year we began turning the ship around. In the Senate, we picked up 10 moderate seats; in the House, we added 28. Not quite a legislative majority but changed enough so that Brownback and his lemmings can no longer stream roll over us.
 
Up next: planning for the 2018 gubernatorial/statewide races.

With your support, Women for Kansas will again help lead the way.

Basic membership $60.00
Contributing member $150.00
Sustaining member $500.00
Student member $30.00

Mail your check to:
Women for Kansas
P.O. Box 8774
Wichita, Kansas 67208

Or charge your credit card via  PayPal
(You are not required to have a PayPal account).
STATE GOVERNMENT: HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN KS
From tracking legislation, to contacting your state legislator or governor, to viewing campaign contributions, this article is
packed full of useful information EVERY  Kansan should know.
PDF of handout available here.
2017-2018 KANSAS ROSTER AND CONTACT INFORMATION
KS House of  Representatives Roster
Kansas Senate Roster

NOT SURE WHO REPRESENTS YOU?  WE CAN HELP
Find your U.S. State Senator
VoteRunLead supports the aspirations of women who want to transform our country and democracy through their participation as leaders. 
VoteRunLead is proud to have trained over 15,000 women for political leadership.  Find other women in your area and get connected.  Visit  here .
EDITORIAL: GOVERNOR MUST GET ON BOARD
J-W Editorial Staff, LJWorld.com
It is time for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his administration to accept they lost the battle in 2017.
The vote to override the governor's veto, which requires two-thirds support from both houses, included broad support from both parties. In reality, the budget override was the final nail in the coffin for Brownback's six-year economic experiment in Kansas. Legislators, even those who stood by the governor's side in previous years, recognized that Kansas could no longer wait for the economic growth Brownback kept promising his trickle-down philosophy would provide. Legislators, faced with the worst debt crisis and smallest reserves of any state in the nation, had to do something.  Read more here .
NEW KANSAS INCOME TAX WITHHOLDING TABLES NOW AVAILABLE
KDOR; Hays Post
Withholding tables designating how much income employers should remove from employee paychecks to abide by the retroactive tax increase passed by the 2017 Kansas legislature
are now available. Read here.
LAWMAKERS TO KOBACH: EXPLAIN 'CULTURE OF CORRUPTION' ALLEGATION
Tim Carpenter,
Topeka Capital-Journal
The Kansas Legislature's leadership agreed to send a letter to Secretary of State Kris Kobach requesting explanation of his claim that a "culture of corruption" infected state government.  "The secretary of state has insinuated a culture of corruption and is accusing the Legislature of being corrupt, which, I think, insults the integrity of this body," said Rep. Scott Schwab, Olathe Republican.
Read more here .
VOTE ICT MUSIC FEST:
Presented by ICT INDIVISIBLE   & VOTE ICT
Saturday, July 8, 12-5pm
Central Standard Brewing
156 S. Greenwood St., Wichita

SAVE THE DATE
for this outstanding event!

Voter registration tables, local candidates and good beer! Nobel House food truck will be there. 
Bands confirmed so far are
Comfort Revue and Harrison   Steele

Stay turned for more info and check back here.
EDITORIAL: KOBACH HAS CHUTZPAH
J-W Editorial Staff, LJWorld.com
To recap Kobach is photographed with documents he brought to a meeting with the president, he fights efforts by other groups to force their release, tries to mislead courts about what's in the documents, gets fined and then proclaims his lack of transparency and candor was just an editing error. At the same time, Kobach professes, he's going to fix the culture of corruption at the statehouse.  Read more here .
ARE YOU UNDER 30?
There are nearly 5,000 of you.
See who you know on the voter suspense list.  List available here .

VOTERS IN SUSPENSE?
Which Kansas counties keep
highest number of would-be voters
in suspense?  See the numbers
by  county here .

They say they have voters' best interests in mind, how do they vote?

TRACK YOUR SENATORS' & REPRESENTATIVE'S VOTES! 
  • Key votes by your two Senators and U.S. Representative.
  • Links to send e-mail to your members of Congress using pre-addressed forms.
  • Upcoming votes for your review and a chance to offer e-mail input before they vote.
Use this weekly vote monitor to track the decisions made by your elected officials on key issues.  Sign up here .
ROCK THE VOTE RESPONDS TO KOBACH'S FIRST STEP TO ENACT NATIONAL VOTER SUPPRESSION
Rock the Vote, Medium
Rock the Vote President Carolyn DeWitt issued the following statement in response to Kris Kobach's request of sensitive voter information for voters nationwide:
"We join our colleagues in the pro-voting community in condemning yesterday's actions of the President's Election Commission and Kris Kobach, who requested highly sensitive information on nearly every voter in America, in what appears to be the first step in a national voter suppression effort.  Read more here .
EVIDENCE CASTS DOUBT ON VOUCHER EDUCATION
The Journal Gazette
"The results are becoming apparent in study after study - from the Lubienskis' research, the Notre Dame review, an Institute of Education Sciences study of Washington, D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarship Program, a Northwestern University study of Ohio's voucher program and more."
As rigorous, peer-reviewed research shows public schools outperforming private, why do policymakers and the public continue to believe otherwise?
Read more here.
EPA LAUNCHING PROGRAM TO CHALLENGE CLIMATE SCIENCE
PBS Newshour
In the latest move to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change, Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has recruited a team of researchers to challenge climate science. Emily Holden, who broke the story for E&E News's ClimateWire, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Washington D.C.
Read more here.
DISABLED KANSANS SAY THEY FEAR REPUBLICAN HEALTH BILL
Kansas News Service, KPR
Polls show that a lot of Americans have concerns about the Obamacare replacement bills now working their way through Congress.
But for people with disabilities it goes well beyond mere concern. As Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service(link is external)reports, they are downright terrified.  Listen here .
 
Senator Moran is hosting
 Town Hall Meetings in Palco, Sublet and Liberal.
 
THURSDAY, JULY 6
11:00am - 1:00pm
McKenna Youth & Activities Ctr,
311 Main Street, Palco

FRIDAY, JULY 7
at 12:00 noon  
Haskell County Courthouse
300 S. Inman Street, Sublette

FRIDAY JULY 7
at 2:00 p.m.
Seward Co. Community College
1801 N. Kansas Ave., Liberal

Please help us extend his invitation to attend his town hall meetings to everyone you have in your networks in northwest and southwest Kansas.
And, also, please let folks know they can call Senators Moran
and Roberts if they cannot
attend the meetings.

Click here to find out how.
Follow Women for Kansas on Twitter  or Instagram,
@women_for_kansas. Like us on Facebook , and visit our website at www.WomenforKansas.org .
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