Brownback’s calculations were wrong — and by a lot.
The governor overstated the spending by former Gov. Mark Parkinson’s administration by $2 billion — yes, that’s “billion,” not “million” — which negated the point Brownback was attempting to make to constituents in his apparently oft-used PowerPoint presentation to organizations across the state. The miscalculation was brought to light by a recent report in the Wichita Eagle, following Brownback’s presentation to the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.
“Numbers showing reduced spending in the last two years came from Brownback’s Budget Division, but they don’t match what’s reported in the state budget book. Last week, Elaine Frisbie, deputy director of the division, confirmed that Brownback’s chart was incorrect,” according to the Wichita Eagle’s report.
“(I) believe the issue is an erroneous number I had previously given Sherriene (Jones-Sontag) in the governor’s office out of a separate spreadsheet,” she said in an email, according to the report.
Flawed numbers can prove devastating when policy decisions at the Legislature are being based on them.
Brownback certainly has made a lot of changes during his tenure, but it will be important to look at the real numbers to see if those changes actually yielded savings and improved services or if they merely served to rearrange the proverbial deck chairs without any measureable gains. Numbers can provide great metrics to gauge a department, organization or even government’s performance, but ensuring the accuracy of the numbers is essential before they can carry any weight.
— Jeanny Sharp,
editor and publisher