Sam Brownback

Programwitch / flickr Creative Commons

Our Kansas elections coverage team is taking questions (submit yours here). 

One question that seems to come up almost every election season is why people sometimes vote against their own best interests -- specifically their economic interests.

Diane Wahto of Wichita asked it this way:

“Why do Kansans often vote against their best interests? ... When we don't have money to fix the highways or fund social programs, who cares about those other things?”

KCUR

The state of Kansas incurred nearly $300,000 in legal fees in just three months to defend a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood challenging the state’s decision to boot the organization from the Medicaid program.

Invoices obtained by KCUR show that outside law firms representing the state billed it $282,477 in legal fees and $2,725 in expenses between May 29 and Aug. 31.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

A coalition of Kansas health care providers, business organizations and local governments is stepping up its lobbying campaign for Medicaid expansion.

Just this week the coalition has staged media conferences in Wichita and Manhattan to push for the expansion of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

In Manhattan, business leaders made the economic case for expansion. Kristin Brighton chairs the board of the area chamber of commerce.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Legislative researchers have found that the bond debt in Kansas has more than tripled since the late 1990s.

A chart they created shows the debt level stands at more than $5 billion for the 2017 fiscal year, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. From fiscal year 1997 to 2017, the total amount of bond debt increased by 336.4 percent, or $3.8 billion, according to the chart.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Some high-ranking Republicans have said tax policy is on the table as lawmakers work to eliminate a state budget deficit. But as Stephen Koranda reports, they aren’t endorsing a tax increase.

Senate President Susan Wagle previously said all options for Kansas budget balancing are up for consideration.

This week, Gov. Sam Brownback said he’s not ruling anything out when it comes to the budget. But Brownback pushed for the tax cuts, and he is not saying he likes the idea of modifying them.

The first TV spot has landed in the contentious battle to retain four Kansas Supreme Court justices in the November Election. The ad was paid for by Kansans for Fair Courts, the group backing retention.

The 30-second spot starts airing in the Wichita market on Friday. It takes on the two biggest issues Republicans and other conservatives are using against four of the five justices on the ballot: the death penalty and school finance.

The ad also tries to tie the ouster of the justices to Gov. Sam Brownback.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A task force charged with addressing the problems of health care delivery in rural Kansas met for nearly five hours in Salina yesterday. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, they still haven’t settled on a direction.

A task force appointed by Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says changes are needed to improve the revenue estimates used to build the state budget. But the top Democrat on the Senate’s budget-writing committee says the recommendations may have more to do with politics.

Retired Wichita advertising executive Sam Williams chaired the task force. He told reporters at a Statehouse news conference that the group’s sole aim was to retool a revenue estimating process that has been increasingly inaccurate in recent years.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A task force appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback has suggested a series of changes to how Kansas officials estimate future tax collections. Those estimates are used when lawmakers craft the budget.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Updated at 4:00 p.m:

Kansas tax collections came in more than $40 million short of estimates in September. That grows the budget deficit for the current fiscal year to around $60 million.

Pages