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Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Ciboski: Could Enough Newcomers Be Elected to Change Policies?

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Primary elections this August will give voters an opportunity to elect many newcomers to the state legislature. 

Ten of 22 incumbent Republican state Senators seeking to be returned to office face primary opposition, and 21 of 71 Republican state incumbent House members wishing to be returned have primary opposition.

This has fueled hope for many Kansans that enough newcomers could be elected to the legislature to help bring change to the Governor’s fiscal policies.

Even with the many open seats and the contested primaries, I am not optimistic about a significant political shift taking place with the coming elections.

The decision of the special session of the legislature to find the funding necessary to keep the schools open will give a political boost to legislative incumbents running for re-election. 

I have wondered if more people support the administration’s tax policy than critics think.

There may well be many “closet-type” supporters. 

Wichita State Professor Emeritus Ed Flentje, in a recent column, asks prospective voters to question legislative candidates about their support for Governor Brownback’s tax policies. 

Will candidates, especially incumbents, tell prospective voters that they will vote to raise their taxes? 

Short of a total economic collapse, isn’t a change in tax policy what is needed to get the state out of its revenue predicament?

Will those benefiting from LLC status—who pay no taxes—vote against their rational interest by supporting candidates who would want to tax them?

I will be surprised if the 2016 state legislative elections produce significant political change that could bring about a reversal of many of Governor Brownback’s policies.