Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona and its schools


Dicey Doug Ducey, the man hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona (h/t Charles Piece), is following in the footsteps of Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, and his “experiment” in “trickle-down” rainbows and unicorns. We all know how this story ends — badly.

Steve Benen writes, The real-world effects of Brownback’s Kansas ‘experiment’:

DorothyWhen Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) launched his radical economic plan, which cut taxes far beyond what his state could afford, he called it “a real-live experiment.” The governor said at the time, “We’ll see how it works.”

More than four years later, we have, indeed. Brownback’s plan has resulted in debt downgrades, weak growth, and state finances in shambles. The latest data adds insult to injury: “State figures released Tuesday showed that tax revenue came in $11.2 million below expectations in March, the latest in a string of lower-than-expected tax receipts.” The report came two weeks after the governor said his plan is “working.”

As msnbc’s Trymaine Lee reported over the weekend, it’s reached the point at which some Kansas public school districts are wrapping up the school year early because they don’t have the money needed to keep the doors open.

As a result of [Brownback’s] cuts, the two Kansas school districts have announced that they’ll be cutting their school years short because of an expected budgetary shortfall, including a reduction of state aid and increasing financial pressure. The Twin Valley School District will end its year on May 8 instead of May 20, while the Concordia school district will end its school year about a week short, on May 15 rather than May 21. Concordia schools also will be closed on April 16 and May 1, to spread out the days certain staff won’t be paid.

“The board’s made a difficult decision,” Twin Valley Superintendent Jan Neufeld told The Wichita Eagle. “We have just a few fiscal reserves.”

Nothing says “21st-century super power” like American schools closing early because a state can’t afford to keep the lights on.

Though the governor’s office is trying to avoid responsibility for the early school-closings, the Wichita Eagle reported last week that these districts are “losing $51 million they expected to receive for the current school year after Gov. Sam Brownback signed a school funding overhaul bill in March.”

In theory, this might cause state policymakers to take a fresh look at the tax policies that have ruined state finances, but as of last week, Kansas Republicans appear to have a very different priority in mind:  imposing new restrictions on how welfare recipients can receive and spend limited benefits.

* * *

Kansas welfare recipients will be unable to get more than $25 per day in benefits under a new law sent this week to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk by the state legislature.

As the Huffington Post’s report explained, under Kansas’ TANF program, a low-income family of three is eligible to receive $429 per month in benefits through government-issued debit cards. But under the new Republican plan, families would have to receive those benefits in increments of no more than $25 per day – and the overall monthly total would be reduced through a series of withdrawal fees.

Demonizing the poor for the failure of GOP “trickle-down” economics has long been a favorite sport of the lickspitter servants for the plutocracy. It’s never the fault of their  corporate Plutocrat masters.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. We reap what we sow. The voters of both states must harvest the crops they planted (voted for). If this is the fruit they wish to place upon their tables then let them eat it.

    The great part about our democracy is that throughout history, these things will correct themselves. Either through a great leader, a great voter uprising, or a great conflict. I just hope the damage is not such that it results in the latter.

  2. The voters of kansas and arizona decided they want this again by voting them back in. You can not shame these people as they have no shame and their voters will say I don’t care as long as they don’t support gun control or raise taxes! In kansas they are stuck, here randy parraz is trying to register 200,000 new voters mostly hispanic to defeat them.

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