Super PAC spreads fake ‘truth’

The fact that I am no fan of the conservative political agenda could be the worst kept secret in Marion County. But, I want to come to the defense of our Republican state Rep. Don Schroeder.

I received a piece of propaganda in the mail the other day from Americans for Prosperity. Apparently, there is a branch of the super PAC in Kansas, directed by Jeff Glendenning.

The supersized postcard claims in bold, 1-inch type that Schroeder “slashed everyone’s paycheck” when he voted late last spring to override the vetos of SB 30 and HB 2184.

“Rep. Don Schroeder retroactively raised taxes on every Kansas family by $1.2 billion,” it states. Aside from the fact that this sentence in no way could be technically accurate—where would every Kansas family get $1.2 billion?—it is also flawed in other ways.

First, Schroeder voted to SAVE Kansas, not destroy it. Gov. Sam Brownback’s disastrous tax break, touted by his administration as the best thing to come along for the economy since sliced bread made with Turkey Red wheat, broke the bank instead.

The state was hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate as businesses did not flock to Kansas as the governor predicted. Simply giving tax breaks to corporations does not cause their owners to expand their workforces, just their wallets. Only increased demand for their products will entice businesses to hire more workers.

Second, the missive claims our paychecks were slashed “to fund corporate giveaways and runaway spending.” But, the bulk of the benefits from Brown­back’s scheme went to businesses. State spending is only up because Kansas has neglected public education to the point that the supreme court again ruled school funding is constitutionally inadequate while calling the block grant system put in place by the Republican-dominated legislature unethical at best and, at worst, illegal.

Finally, I have met Rep. Schroeder, and I like him. He’s from Inman, for heaven’s sake. He’s one of us. And, he tends to vote in a pragmatic, commonsense way. I doubt anyone at Americans for Prosperity knows him at all. In fact, it is likely the organization simply targeted the districts of every legislator who voted to begin salvaging the Kansas budget.

To Rep. Schroeder’s credit, he was placed on that list. It shows he is a man of integrity who can’t be scared into submission by the radical right. And, neither can the forward-thinking residents of the Sunflower State.

The best way to solve problems is to seek compromise, not divisiveness. The sooner our political leaders figure this out, the better off we will all be.

Bob Woelk teaches English and journalism at Hillsboro High School.