From the office of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, follow-up to the State of the State Address the governor delivered on January 12, 2016.
Tonight, Governor Brownback delivered the 134th State of the State address. We celebrated freedom, self-government, and the rule of law. The Governor, just as the Kansas Constitution requires, told the legislature about the strength of our state, and cast a substantive vision for the future.
Precisely five years ago today the Governor gave his first State of the State. We’ve accomplished so much since then: More than 388,000 low income Kansans now pay zero income taxes, KPERS is out of the bankruptcy zone, more than half the people once on welfare are now off it and most importantly getting out of poverty altogether, and technical education participation has tripled. We’ve consolidated government agencies, eliminated wasteful programs, and reduced onerous regulations. Wages are up, unemployment is down, and new businesses continue to open in Kansas.
Looking forward, Governor Brownback outlined measurable successes and called for continued reform and progress:
- Education: Kansas invests more than $4 billion in education each year, yet not nearly enough goes toward instruction. Governor Brownback called on the legislature to design a new funding system that puts more money in instruction and provides bonuses for exceptional teachers.
- Kansas National Guard: Following the attack on the National Guard recruiting facility in Tennessee last summer, Governor Brownback ordered our Adjutant General to complete a security assessment of all Kansas National Guard facilities. The Governor’s new budget funds the arming and training of additional personnel.
- Refugees: Governor Brownback continues to question the federal government’s ability to properly screen people claiming to be refugees. Where President Obama refuses to act, Governor Brownback will act—he has expanded his executive order blocking state agencies from resettling any refugees that present a safety and security risk.
- GITMO: President Obama has resurrected his plan to close GITMO, instead transferring terrorists to American soil. He is prioritizing his agenda and the feelings of radical Islamic terrorists over the safety of Americans. Governor Brownback stands ready to thwart every action the President takes to transfer terrorists to Kansas.
- Judicial Selection: Kansas is the only state in the nation where the selection of Supreme Court justices is controlled by a handful of unelected, unaccountable lawyers. The Governor asked the power be put back in the hands of the people, through a Constitutional amendment for a more democratic selection process.
- Property Tax Lid: The ability to raise taxes at the local level should not be made without consent and input from local citizens. Governor Brownback announced his support for strengthening the property tax lid by closing existing loopholes.
- Welfare Reforms: Kansas has led the way on common-sense welfare reforms by requiring healthy adults without children to work or receive work training. Results now show that the amount of time able-bodied adults spend on food stamps has been cut in half, and those leaving welfare are better off. The number of enrollees who have risen out of poverty tripled.
- Planned Parenthood: Governor Brownback has enacted pro-life legislation every year he’s been in office. Governor Brownback believes Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of baby body parts is antithetical to our belief in human dignity. He directed that not a single dollar of taxpayer money go to Planned Parenthood through our Medicaid program and called for legislation to make it permanent law.
Much has been achieved. But much has yet to be done. Governor Brownback is ready for another session working to make Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and grow a businesses.
Deputy Communications Director
Office of Governor Sam Brownback