Well first of all—as I have alluded to in previous posts—with each passing day, the impact of the past two elections on our state is becoming much more real to our citizens. That should make a difference and should alter some voter’s views. Decisions made to eliminate the income tax for many are now being clearly offset by increases in property taxes, local option sales taxes, higher tuition and fees, and now, after the 2015 legislative session, higher sales and tobacco tax. There is no free lunch. Our historically sound tax balance is totally out of whack. Shortage of funds in almost all areas of state responsibility is becoming more and more evident. And the slipping credit rating of the state can only lead to more financial problems. These realities should help candidates of all stripes be more willing to take on the protectors of the status quo and do what is right for the common good of the state.
If what is going on today on the ground is any forecaster of tomorrow, then there should be different results come November 2016 when the entire legislature is up for election. For an off election year, there is much more activity going on than usual. People are talking. Meetings are being held. Working together is more the norm. Learning from 2014 seems to be a high priority. And it’s not funny for many Kansans that we are all too often the butt of jokes nationwide. Worse yet is that some national economic development consultants label Kansas as a place not to invest. Also, there is a growing understanding that we will face even more difficult challenges if we don’t begin to turn this around soon. We can’t totally turn it around in 2016, but we must make a significant start. We must, as soon as possible, send the message that Kansas is once again open for business in a way that is attractive and of value for one to explore. The failure to do so is too scary to contemplate.
In the end it will come down to citizen involvement. It will take citizen-led efforts to educate, to communicate, to volunteer their time in support of candidates and causes aimed at getting the state back on the right track. It will be organized citizen efforts that help quality candidates of either party withstand the onslaught of false information backed by unlimited money and, in the process, turn the page for a new and brighter day for Kansas.