ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Whether you see yourself as being politically conservative or liberal-or somewhere in between-the path the Kansas economy is following these days is treacherous to say the least. Our representatives in Topeka, Sen. Jim Barnett and Rep. Don Dahl, made that point clear at their recent legislative forums in Marion and Hillsboro.
Consider these facts:
- From August 2000 to August 2005, the government sector in Kansas gained 6,100 jobs while the private sector actually lost 14,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- From August 2004 to August 2005, Kansas ranked 42nd among states in private-sector job growth.
- Kansas ranked 32nd in 2004 in the business tax-climate index as measured by the Tax Foundation. Neighboring states Nebraska ranked 35th, Missouri 11th, Oklahoma 14th and Colorado eighth.
- From 1972 to 2002, the state’s general fund increased 1,119 percent while Kansas wages increased 348 percent.
- Kansas ranked 51st-yes, 51st-in median family income growth from 2003 to 2004. The median income dropped $3,200, in fact.
- Kansas has the 15th-highest state and local tax burden as a percent of income. Kansans pay more of their income to those governing entities than do residents of California and Massachusetts.
- In 1992, the Kansas debt was $424 million, or $195 per resident. Since then, the debt has increased 832 percent to $3.7 billion or $1,352 per resident. In 2005, the cost just to to service the debt was $429 million.
Welcome to “Bleeding Kansas” redux. -DR