Commentary
5:00 am
Fri March 5, 2010

Richard Crowson: Signs Of Spring At The Statehouse

I don’t know about you but I’m seeing signs of spring everywhere these days! The tiniest hint of green on my lawn; birdsong in the mornings; two whole weeks without snow and that surest indicator of Spring in Kansas – state legislators giving more tax breaks to businesses while our schools agonize over deep budget cuts.

You see, our legislators argue that they may be creating new jobs for our state by giving businesses these tax breaks. You know, to sort of offset the jobs lost due to school budget cuts.

I’ve never understood why almost anything in the state budget can be justified as economic development except school budgets. Don’t schools employ teachers and janitors and librarians and coaches and lunchroom ladies and principals and secretaries and nurses and counselors and a bunch of other type folks? Don’t all those employees spend money in our community and pay taxes like the rest of us? Isn’t cutting those jobs a drain on the Kansas economy? What am I missing here?

Back some 35 years ago when I was a wet-behind-the-ears editorial cartoonist, I quickly learned from the deeper thinking editorial writers that it was almost never a good idea to ascribe motives to those one was criticizing. You could find yourself out on the proverbial limb that way. The limb could splinter and you could fall on your butt.

But now that I’m an old curmudgeonly semi-retired cartoonist with a calloused butt, I’m going to break that rule. I think that some of our legislators are deaf to the cries of school advocates because they secretly abhor the whole concept of public education and don’t have the guts to say it out loud.

It’s nice hearing the robins’ song in the mornings as winter wanes these days. But there are some icy hearts in Topeka that are far from thawing out.