Monday, July 30, 2012

GUEST EDITORIAL: There never has been a more important election

By KELLY KULTALA, Kansas Senator

I would like to respond to Senate President Steve Morris’ guest column, which was published on July 23rd, 2012 in The Leavenworth Times.  

As a state senator myself, I agree with Senator Morris’ assertions that extreme tactics from outsider groups are overshadowing the real issues of concern in this upcoming election.

In just four months, the voters of Kansas will cast their ballots for 125 Representatives and 40 State Senators.  To see what’s at stake, all you have to do is look back to the last election.

In 2010, Kansans elected a far-more conservative House of Representatives, who along with Governor Sam Brownback, have slashed $100 million from K-12 public schools, cut $200 million from the state’s 10-year transportation plan, and enacted a $4.5 billion tax cut plan that will benefit the state’s wealthiest tax filers and bankrupt our state by Fiscal Year 2018.

In just two years, these legislators have placed our state on the brink of financial ruin, and risked the well being of every Kansas schoolchild, working family, and senior citizen.

Now, with the unprecedented financial backing of out-of-state special interest groups, extreme conservative candidates are poised across the state to oust moderate Republican and Democratic senators in the 2012 elections.  If these outsider groups are successful in their attempt to take over the Kansas Senate, the chamber’s moderate majority coalition will be destroyed.  And the Senate will be lock-step with their allies in the House and Governor’s office. 

Kansas schools have already endured seven rounds of devastating cuts.  Homeowners have experienced a 65 percent increase in local property taxes in the last decade.  And our disabled and elderly neighbors have waited far too long for needed state services. 

If this moderate majority coalition isn’t maintained, Kansas four years from now will be far worse off than the state we all love today.

More than any other time in history, our state is at a significant crossroads.  The path we take – and as a result – the future of our state depends on the decisions made at the polls in November.  There truly has never been a more important election that this one.