Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Political commentator Ken Ciboski stands just right of center and offers a common-sense view of politics today.

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The Kansas state legislature and the Governor are at an impasse about revenue and tax policies. More cuts in state spending are being proposed, but I have heard nothing about the money savings that could occur by cutting the number of legislators.  

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that increased funding of K-12 education in Kansas is needed. The Court did not say how much money would be required to fund the schools adequately, but it gave the legislature a deadline of June 30 to devise a formula to fund the schools with more money.

The Kansas House and Senate advanced tax bills this past week that endanger Governor Brownback’s signature tax plan.  

The House passed the measure last Thursday with a 76-48 vote. 

Senator Ty Masterson of Andover dubbed the House measure “a piece of garbage.”

The Senate passed the measure the next day 22-18--just one vote above the minimum required for passage.

Ciboski: Budget Issues

Feb 8, 2017
Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

This week, the Kansas Senate began considering Senate Bill 147, introduced by Senate GOP leaders. This measure would reinstate taxes on business income from limited liability companies.  


Governor Sam Brownback disappointed many Kansans when he failed to offer a long-term plan in his State of the State address on how to get Kansas out of its fiscal hole. Instead, the governor reiterated that he believes his tax plan is working.

Why were the national media and the forecasts of the polls wrong for the 2016 presidential election?

Kansas News Service/File photo

The 2017 Kansas legislative session convenes on January 9. The work of the session is expected to be demanding and difficult as the legislature hopes to reach a legislative consensus on revenue and tax policy and on what to do about a $350 million deficit for the current fiscal year. In anticipation of the difficulty in reaching a consensus, the legislature has scheduled the coming session from 90 to 100 days.

President-elect Donald Trump has appointed Betsy DeVos, an advocate of school choice, to be Secretary of Education. The idea of school choice is that a student can leave a poorly performing school for one that can supposedly provide a better education, including private and parochial schools. Charter schools are an example of a choice. They are publicly-funded, and they have greater freedom than public schools in the kind of curricula they wish to have and in choosing their students.

We had a presidential election and, for the fifth time in our history, the winner did not win the popular vote. The most difficult questions at the 1787 Constitutional Convention were: what kind of executive will we have, how will we select or elect the executive, and what should be the term of office?

Gov. Sam Brownback is apparently on President-elect Donald Trump’s “short list” for secretary of agriculture. In any case, under Brownback, Kansas has about a $350 million budget gap to fill this fiscal year. Next year is expected to be even worse. In addition, the Kansas Supreme Court is expected to rule in coming months on whether or not the state has underfunded K-12 schools.