Blessedly, the Kansas Legislature has adjourned for the session. Perhaps the upcoming elections will eliminate some of the lunatics, but given the undying love and cash from the Koch brothers to bolster and legitimize crazy and the constant drumbeat from various morons about Obama, next year's legislature seems primed to be even stupider than this.
This legislature has been the worst in recent memory, spending time this year banning sharia law, condemning a conspiracy theory, and more anti-family planning legislation than you can shake a big stick at. What they failed to do during the regular session notably included passing a budget or drawing new district maps. You know, the important stuff.
So the legislature, unable to come up with a map that didn't put liberal, eastern Lawrence in with blood red Western Kansas, punted, and now, mercifully, the question of redistricting lies in the (at least less in-) capable hands of the federal judiciary.
So all that remained was the budget. And hoo boy, did they ever fuck that one up. After a not insubstantial amount of acrimony that resulted in the Republican Party demanding its legislators sign a loyalty pledge and sending the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity on a witchhunt to oust conservative candidates (who are defined in Kansas as 'moderate Republicans,' where 'moderate' can be taken to mean 'not radical') in favor of right-wingers who fall more on the frothy part of the political continuum, like the uber-slimy Speaker of the House Mike O'Neal.
See, last year they already cut the schools -- cutting the per-pupil aid to schools by 6% -- then told us that the dogshit was caviar, claiming that because state expenses for teacher retirement increased, meant that they'd actually the education budget. As a result of the hung jury on tax cuts in the legislature last year, we actually ended up with a bit of a surplus as the recovering economy pushed tax receipts into the black. The surplus over the next five years was estimated at $600 million, which was promptly returned to the schools.
Wait, no. Of course you can't restore funding to schools. Kansas has to compete with Croatia and Mississippi, you know -- no matter that the state just lost Boeing to Tennessee, a state with higher taxes. So now Sam Brownback, chair of the Incompetent Governors Association, has signed a budget. That $600 million surplus? Gone. Replacing it is a $2.5 billion deficit.
And you wonder if that wasn't the plan all along.
Here we have a governor whose campaign promised he wasn't going to try to govern as the Archbishop of Kansas, who's shown nothing but contempt for our state's once-exemplary public education system (the colors for the University of Kansas are Harvard Crimson and Yale Blue, and there was a time that wasn't ironic).
And he has passed a budget that requires 600,000 new jobs (paying $50k apiece) to be created in a state of less than three million within the next five years to pay for his crazy tax plan.
Well, at least I probably won't have to share a congressional district with a city whose paper produced this editorial suggesting that the moderate Republicans who think that Governor Crazypants' crazy-pantsed idea is crazy aren't really Republicans, and didn't get burned down or anything.
Seriously, my state is not as crazy as our legislature. We're just at Ground Zero of the Kochs' war on America.