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I knew in the back of my mind the day might come after Sam Brownback announced his run for Governor. I didn't know the specifics of why or how, but I did know it might come to this. I had hoped to put it off until my teen had graduated from high school however unwise or expensive it may be. The finances of the county, city and school district I live in are now entirely enmeshed in a fight for the last tax dollar I am willing to part with over the rush to create a libertarian utopia. Sam’s folly to untax the wealthy and corporations have shifted the entire burden of managing the state's finances squarely on the backs of the middle and lower class populations of Kansas. Now that the state is unable to spread the wealth of northeastern Kansas to the more rural portions of Kansas, it will be up to the individual counties, cities and school districts to raise their own funds in any manner they can.

Sam told us he wanted Kansas to be more like Texas, where property taxes, fees and barrels of oil are the tax base and thus the mainstay of revenue for counties, cities and school districts. He has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams with the compliant teabaggers his wealthy benefactors gave him in 2012. In Texas, a property owner pays property taxes to each level of government individually and in ever increasing amounts. Fees for services are high, but regulation is lax, allowing companies, in some cases such as the town of West, to build hazardous chemical plants adjacent to nursing homes, schools, and even homes. Can Sam Brownback's vision of "North Texas" be far behind his tax plan? Texas k-12 schools were consistently behind those of Kansas in college preparatory proficiency rates according to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. Kansas had a higher percentage of high school completion rates as well using the latest data from NCHEMS. I foresee the days of getting a better education in Kansas coming to a close well before my teen earns her high school diploma, and for her sake the day I didn't want to happen has come.

The prospect of higher taxes on my already highly taxed property and the knowledge that my state tax write-off for mortgage interest helped to push me towards the decision I had hoped I wouldn't have to make. The high probability of falling into an upside down mortgage when my property is devalued beyond what I owe because of the high tax rates, inadequate fire and police protections accompanied by poor schools, bad infrastructure and lack of good jobs in the area contributed to my decision as well.

I will not empathize with the citizens who voted for the schemes of Arthur Laffer, either by exercising their rights or in absentia by allowing others to decide for them. I will miss my friends and I will reluctantly visit because of family still here. I will visit the graves of my wife, my relatives and friends who have gone before me to pay the respect I owe them. However, I cannot respect Kansas any longer. It is because of the people of this state’s ignorance and intolerance that I am leaving. Low information or no information voters have the upper hand here, and they gave me the shove I needed to make my decision.

I have researched the east coast, the west coast, the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast US and yes, even Texas. I researched housing, schools, demographics, population growth predictions, environmental sustainability, climate change and also looked at local property taxes. It took me months of sifting through the various ideas, the good and bad of every place I'd been or wanted to be at this stage of my life. A few weeks ago, I came to the conclusion of the research phase of my plan. I found the state where those things make sense to me. Where state services are fair and equitable and the schools are better, even more diverse. The time to move on for the future of my daughter has come, Good bye Kansas.

I should clarify my remarks about Texas, I am speaking in general. I do understand Texas has many challenges Kansas does not have, such as the number of english as a second language kids in secondary educational settings. My point is that Kansans took great pride in the education kids got here until Brownback/Laffer took over, and things may never get any better.

I have not moved yet, but I am working with a realtor in the city where I plan to move. My house goes on the market in a few weeks, but I would rather it sit empty and feel safe than stay here and watch the state fall upon its sword of ignorance.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (32+ / 0-)

    "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

    by zamrzla on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 05:00:18 PM PDT

  •  I wish you luck (11+ / 0-)

    Mostly that you can sell your property before others who think they want to live in Kansas wise up.

    And a heavy heart for those who see the light like you but can't relocate. The desperation must (or will be) horrible.

    "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." James Madison, Federalist #51

    by history first on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 05:44:09 PM PDT

    •  I'm one of these... (8+ / 0-)
      And a heavy heart for those who see the light like you but can't relocate. The desperation must (or will be) horrible.
      The growing feeling of unease and the fear of near (and the not-so-near future around here) IS horrible.  

      Like the diarist, I've been doing research on where to move to, if and when it becomes possible.... but right now, I'm caretaking my getting-to-be very elderly mother.  For her sake, I stay.  I'm also terrified of not being able to find another job anywhere now at my age.  I'm 58, and DH turned 60, just had a heart attack 2 weeks ago, and hasn't worked since being laid off 5 years ago. I've given up hoping he'll ever work again.  I work on an Army Post, and while we're getting pinched bad by sequestration, at least it means I'm bringing in some money every two weeks.  We are, tho, down to the point of basically crossing our fingers we can hang on to our house.

      zamrzla... can I ask where your research led you?  I'm thinking of northwestern Oregon, but I'm nowhere near finished with my research.   Congrats on getting out of here, and best of luck with your new environs.

      •  yes, you can ask (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aunt Pat, freerad

        I love the Portland area and it was a finalist. My choice is Las Cruces New Mexico. I have no family in the Pacific NW, but several in New Mexico. The support network we all need is built there, not so in the Pac. NW for me. Las cruces is a desert town of 94,000 less than an hour away from El Paso Texas. The economy of the Mesilla Valley is agrarian, Education, tourism, and a mix of STEM related industries because of the White Sands Testing range. The area has an average of 350 days of sunshine per year and while the ecosystem is threatened there, it seems there are people concerned about it enough to act.

        "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

        by zamrzla on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 07:04:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for replying... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gfv6800

          and apologies for the tardy response.   Hubby had a heart attack, so my attention has been elsewhere lately.

          I agree with you about New Mexico.  I was stationed in Albuquerque in the mid-late '70's and really enjoyed that area... other than getting badly windburned while standing gate guard at Kirtland AFB!  In fact, my first and last tram ride was up the Sandia Mountains.   ;)

          I've been drawn towards Taos, but the cost of living is so expensive around there and Santa Fe, due to the tourist trade, no doubt.  Hadn't thought about Las Cruces, although two of my very best friends... both passed away for many years now... called Las Cruces home and absolutely loved it.

          I think I'd "lumped" New Mexico in with Arizona as far as the political climate went, for no good reason, except for just making assumptions.  

          Thank you for jogging my memory.  I'm putting NM on my list to check it out further.  Might be such a thing I could even move from fed job here to a comparable position at a base there, even.   Awck!  My gypsy feet are getting really itchy again (gryn)

          Good luck on your move!  Wishing you bright skies and fair days all the way!

  •  Good Luck to you (9+ / 0-)

    and your daughter.

    I left years ago (Kansas) and only go back to visit relatives.

    I have been happy to be from Kansas.

    I wish you well.

  •  Good luck (9+ / 0-)

    You made the right choice.  I'd tell anyone in a deep red state to do the same--get the hell out and help make a purple state blue or a blue state bluer.  Besides, Kansas is going to be 145 degrees in June in a few years.  

    I hope you gave Minnesota serious consideration--this is a great state for a progressive.

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 06:09:39 PM PDT

    •  I did consider It (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      But with my arthritis and the cold, I couldn't seriously make it a contender. I love the area, just can't taker the cold.

      "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

      by zamrzla on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 07:07:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would you consider summarizing your research (13+ / 0-)

    here for us other Kansans, and other red-staters?

  •  Best of luck to you. (7+ / 0-)

    I've been trying to get out of Texas for several years now, stuck here with a piece of real estate that nobody wanted. Things finally seem to be improving lately in the real estate market.

    I've heard the best view of Texas is in your rear view mirror. For me it sure will be!

    •  So says Mac Davis - but he was from Lubbock (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      and that's not the prettiest place in TX. Might be among the narrowest, though.

      “The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.” - Gore Vidal

      by Hanging Up My Tusks on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 07:55:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That S.O.B. Brownback may have a diploma in his (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, DrCoyle65, zamrzla, Aunt Pat

    office saying graduate of Kansas State University, but he sure as hell didn't go to the same college I did.

    •  I too, went to K-State (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      It breaks my heart about leaving and dragging a 14 year old away from her friends. She wanted to go to Ft Hays like her mom or K-State like me, there will be time enough for her to choose what she wants to do after high school.

      "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

      by zamrzla on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 07:10:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I stopped reading (other than the comments) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    because of your sloppy (iow, non-existant) knowledge about the tragedy of West, Texas.  The fertilizer plant was not built next to all those things.  It existed for years, and the lack of zoning allowed all those other things, schools, hospital, apartments, to be built later right next to the facility.  The problem got worse when the lack of inspections and oversight by Texas government at multiple levels didn't ensure that the place accurately reported what was stored there or that it was stored in a safe manner.  

    It was a tragedy, but your whole effort at using that as an example was wrong, and so the rest of your diary is very tainted.  And I come from Kansas and still have relatives there, but while I know a good deal about Kansas, and what Brownbackistan is like, I'm not going to try and correct any other points of error.

    •  I am sorry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      if my lack of knowledge of West Texas offends you. It seems you would rather pick apart my post than critique it with helpful comments and for that, I feel sorry for you.

      "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

      by zamrzla on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 07:13:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Getting things wrong when they've been (0+ / 0-)

        thoroughly described in post after post on the tragedy in West is something that bothers me, yes.  West was a totally foreseeable and preventable tragedy and yes, Brownback would like to bring the same lack of regulations to Kansas, but getting the basic facts wrong isn't helpful.  

        There are plenty of examples from within Kansas, even, where Brownback and other Koch toadies not only are destroying what safety nets were left in Kansas, especially Lawrence and Johnson County, where they've not just ended services but worked to prevent the counties from doing what the state now refuses to do - in some cases out of spite and in other cases just out of plain meanness towards the poor and unfortunate who weren't born with silver spoons in their mouths.  Even the aircraft manufacturing plants from around Wichita, one of Kansas' few high tech industries, are moving away in part because of Kansas' declining prospects for a worthwhile future.

        You're not asking, in your diary, for helpful comments or suggestions.  You say you've made up your mind where you're going, others have encouraged you to help make wherever you're going more blue, so you don't need anything from us.  When you get where you're going, I'm sure you'll reach out and see if there are any local Kossacks and progressives (if you haven't already) and settle right in.

        Nice you feel sorry for me.  How nice for you.

        •  You know so much (0+ / 0-)

          about Kansas, seem to be progressive, yet your final words drip with the venom of those who feel trapped either by circumstances or by bad decisions. Yes, I do feel for you ColoTim. Though I don't know you, nor do you know me, my hope is for you to make peace with whatever is going on in your life.

          I guess I hadn't read any of the diaries you describe on West, texas. How terrible of me to get it wrong and for you to assume everyone is a cookie cutter copy of you. Again, may you accept your life as it is and not find yourself tearing into against someone you don't know.

          It has long been my experience that when one can't separate one's feelings while making simple statements to total strangers, one needs to think about why that bothers them so much.

          "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

          by zamrzla on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 05:03:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Our house is up for sale... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    My wife and I have put our house up for sale and are going to move to Kansas City, Missouri where she works.  While Missouri is trending red it has a stronger D base and we will be living in an urban area that is fairly liberal.  Both of us grew up in Kansas and we will be back to visit (and pay property taxes on our rentals).  

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