Kansas Governor Sam Brownback lost many of his allies in the state legislature after far right-wing conservatives were ousted from their seats after the GOP primaries.
Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a conservative and supporter of Brownback’s tax policies, lost his seat to the former president of Hutchinson Community College, Ed Berger. Berger is a far more moderate Republican than Bruce. Senator Forrest Knox, considered one of the most extreme conservatives in the Kansas State Senate, lost his bid to the more moderate Bruce Givens.
Senator Carolyn McGinn, another moderate, beat out her conservative challenger, Renee Erikson. Representative John Doll, another moderate, won with voters over the far more conservative Senator Larry Powell. Overall, ten out of the sixteen races were won by moderates over more right-wing conservatives.
The widespread ousting of conservatives in Kansas is largely being blamed on the economic collapse across the state due to Governor Brownback’s tax reforms. Supported by far-right conservatives and implemented over Brownback’s six years as governor, the plan cut personal income tax rates for the wealthy by 29% and “exempted more than 330,000 farmers and business owners from income taxes.” The cuts were meant to attract business owners and correct Kansas’s falling unemployment rate. Projections for rising tax collections as a result, however, were missed by a mile, causing budget crises and an economic downturn for Kansas.
To address the hit to the Kansas state budget, Brownback attempted to reduce the budget in ways that further hurt the state.
‘Last month, Brownback ordered $17 million in immediate reductions to universities and earlier this month delayed $93 million in contributions to pensions for school teachers and community college employees. The state has also siphoned off more than $750 million from highway projects to other parts of the budget over the past two years.’
Voters rewarded Brownback by ousting conservatives and voting in a community college president and a special education teacher. This news becomes even more encouraging when ones realizes that all 40 Senate seats and 125 House seats are on the ballot in November.
Hopefully, the Kansas election is a harbinger of elections to come as well as a warning in the elections for president and members of Congress.
See more on this story from the Kansas City Star below:
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