When Sam Brownback was a young FFA student in Parker, Kan., he was taught to keep an accurate record book. It was part of his requirements to gain the chapter, state and national offices he would hold.
Then Mr. Brownback went to Washington, and his FFA record book was apparently left in the Kansas dust.
The governor this week signed into law massive reductions in state income, saying it will boost the economy and create jobs.
Republican loyalists lined up behind him as he inked the bill, afraid of doing anything else. After all, their arms were still red from the twisting they had received during this legislative session. When Brownback gets something in his head, he stays the stubborn course until he gets his way.
He learned that in Washington.
Not in Parker.
There are two columns in an FFA record book — one for income and another for expenses. All entries fall into one of those categories and at the end of each page, they must balance.
Chief in this formula is keeping income coming at a steady pace. By all means, don’t lower it. Then do everything possible to control expenses, even turning chintzy if necessary.
But keep the door open to new income. Don’t allow it to drop.
That’s precisely what Brownback did Tuesday when he gazed in the crystal ball and dreamed of money that will come from state-owned casinos.
And, when his buddies at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce assured him that massive tax cuts (remember, that’s the income side of the FFA record book) would result in a boon to the economy and new jobs, it only bolstered his illogical thinking.
Obviously, Democrats are calling it a budget-buster. But each day there are more Republicans coming out into the light and shaking their heads, too. A bevy of former lawmakers who call themselves “traditional Republicans” have formed to oppose Brownback’s staid goal of slashing state government into the good times.
It won’t happen.
The lines at the bottom of his record book won’t allow it.
If you’re going to chop expenses, you’ve got to protect the income. Says so in the book.
Area lawmakers are now back home from the most divisive session of the Legislature in recent history. They are taking some pride in the tough hand dealt by their leader in the governor’s office.
They will see a different picture when they return to Topeka next year. Figures will be written in red ink by then, and it will get only worse in future years.
Sam should have stayed in Washington. Or, he should have stopped in Parker on his way back home to pick up his old FFA record book. It would have provided a better roadmap for being governor than the one written on his forehead by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
— The Montgomery County Chronicle (Caney, Kan.)