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I think it is important to investigate whether or not the Republican attack on education - school funding, testing standards, collective bargaining - is just an attempt to subvert an education system that made the United States the global social, economic and military beacon on the hill because they themselves failed basic courses at an early age.

Republican attacks on science education are well-documented, particularly in Kansas (often starting in Kansas).  Now that conservative Republicans comfortably control both houses of the Kansas legislature as well as the governor's mansion, the glory and brilliance of their agenda is on full display.

Right now, the legislature is busy working bills to allow local school districts the ability to determine whether or not to allow teachers and school staff to carry weapons on campus.

Right now, the legislature is busy working bills to allow local school districts the ability to determine whether or not to allow teachers and school staff to carry weapons on campus:

State Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee), who presented the guns-for-teachers amendment, said the proposal gives school boards discretion to decide whether or not to implement it. School boards then would also have the option of deciding which specific teachers could carry a gun.
Simultaneously, the legislature is working to amend the state constitution to forbid Kansas courts from "interfering" in school finance decisions, after the state Supreme Court has ruled several times that the legislature unconstitutionally underfunded state schools.  So on the one hand, local school districts must be able to exercise their right to determine whether or not school staff can carry a weapon on school grounds.  On the other hand, local school boards cannot exercise their right to challenge the legislature in a court of law over the belief that their school district was unconstitutionally underfunded.

But the point of this post is neither of these issues directly.  Rather, it is another bill intended to combine the state department of transportation with the state turnpike authority.  More specifically, it is a question of whether or not state legislators, presumably themselves products of the state education system they both praise and loathe, have demonstrated yet again that Kansas is not a wise place to do business.  It isn't that Republican policy here provides little certainty or clarity to business owners looking to plan for the future of their business.  Rather, it is further evidence that Republicans just make things up, think no one notices then cannot fathom how or why anyone questions their thinking and actions.

As mentioned, the current proposal is to merge the operations of the Kansas Department of Transportation with the Kansas Turnpike Authority.  The KTA is a self-finanaced toll road between Kansas City and the Oklahoma border.  The KTA currently has $200 million in reserves designed to pay for anticipated road and bridge repairs over the next ten years.  A model of fiscal responsibility anyone can support.  Of course, Governor Brownback wants to raid these savings to balance his fiscally irreponsible budget shortfall ($295 million in 2013).

To do this, he is attempting to write another chapter of Republican unicorn math.  The Lawrence Journal World noted yesterday that the merger of the two departments will save $30 million over two years:

Brownback said the merger would save $30 million over two years, although KDOT Secretary Mike King has said he doesn't know how those savings would occur.
I suppose my question should be "is it worth it to become a Republican in this state?  It seems so easy to rise right to the top."  In reality, the question is "what is the best way to get out of the way of this train wreck?"
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    It's amazing what people will do to others in the name of themselves.

    by ABlueKansas on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:21:30 AM PST

  •  The attack on education (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, NancyWH, ABlueKansas, Ckntfld

    is part philosophy, part greed.

    The GOP would prefer a subservient, barely educated populace on the one hand, and the Oligarchs would like to get their hands on the $750 billion budget on the other.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:43:52 AM PST

  •  If I weren't old, retired and pretty well off (7+ / 0-)

    I'd get out of this hell-hole of a state and head somewhere where civility reigns. This is not the same Kansas I moved to a quarter century ago, not by a long shot. Today the offer that originally brought me here would fall on deaf ears.

  •  From what you say about raiding reserves (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, ABlueKansas

    it sounds like I understand the efforts against the US Postal Service from Republicans.  I believe the whole reason the Republicans are forcing the USPS to build up the huge retirement reserves is because they want to privatize the USPS and plunder all those funds.  Just as they've done with hundreds of private companies and their retirement funds, here they want to do it with a quasi-public company so they have to do this with passing laws in Congress.  Slightly more out in the open, but once it's privatized, it will be hidden from observers when the trucks back up to the vault in the middle of the night.

    •  Yes. It's amazing what happens (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      when the law requires "fiscal responsibility" (i.e. saving for the future).  Or maybe Republicans just have an uncommon definition for responsibility.

      It's amazing what people will do to others in the name of themselves.

      by ABlueKansas on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 01:19:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some don't believe it's (0+ / 0-)

        that long until Jesus returns and bails them out of all responsibilities, so why not raid the savings?  Still others don't want to leave any money unspent if they can avoid it - a symptom of greediness/selfishness and that's definitely a Republican trait.

  •  Thanks for the diary, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I had read about the merger, but not in detail, so this explains why he wants to do it.
    Did you know that Kansas is one of the top ten states for  "best roads" ?
    With Brownback trying to steal funds and taxes from the DOT to pay for his tax giveaways, I imagine that we won't stay in the top ten for long.
    Who knew that he could bankrupt this state in 4 years or less? (all Democrats please stand up and be counted!)

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 01:13:14 PM PST

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