Sam Brownback Facing Down A Red-State Revolt

April 19, 2016

Upon entering office in 2011, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback declared Kansas would host a “real live experiment” to demonstrate that the road to prosperity is paved with repealed regulations and never-ending tax cuts. Unfortunately for Brownback, his conservative dream–indistinguishable from that of the Koch brothers and their network of interest groups–has quickly evolved into a budgetary nightmare. As the economic forecast worsens, Kansas GOP lawmakers are abandoning the governor and reminding voters that, “It’s his policy that put us there.”

Governor Brownback’s audacious, ill-advised “experiment” wouldn’t have been possible without the influence of David and Charles Koch. The Kochs and their network of conservative interest groups were the largest contributors to Brownback’s 2010 campaign. Influencing Brownback’s policy directly, one of Americans for Prosperity’s foremost consultants became the state’s budget director–helping to draft the budgets that have driven Kansas to the brink of fiscal ruin.

The Kochs got everything they could ever want […]

In The Kochs’ Native Kansas, Just 18% Approve Of Their Puppet Governor

October 26, 2015

Kansas is the Koch brothers’ policy proving ground — but Charles and David’s Sunflower State agenda has proved to be anything but popular.

After going to great lengths to implement the Kochs’ policy agenda, Governor Sam Brownback — their home-state executive and cherished stooge — has a public image problem. A bad one.

“This could be some of the lowest approval ratings of any Kansas governor in history,” said a Washburn University political scientist of Brownback’s latest approval numbers, according to the Kansas City Star.

Though the Kochs no doubt continue to hold Brownback in high regard, just 18% of Kansans agree, the Star reported. And if the recent Fort Hays State University survey is to be believed, Sam Brownback’s shilling of the Koch policy agenda is to blame.  Strikingly, the poll found that 61% of voters “think [Brownback’s] signature tax policies have either been a ‘failure’ or a ‘tremendous failure,’” according […]

Kochs’ “Rising Star” Kansas Still Facing Massive Budget Crisis

June 19, 2015

The Koch-affiliated Franklin Center is calling Kansas, or “Kochtopia,” a “rising star” in its story on the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual “State of the States” report. While the Kochs’ home state may be a feather in the caps of the billionaire brothers, in reality, Kansas is flailing under the pressure of a massive budget crisis.

One of the Kochs’ favorite shills, Governor Sam Brownback, has followed their party line since the start of his tenure. The Koch-inspired policies Brownback has implemented have left the state with a $400 million hole in its budget, completely wrecking the state’s public schools, infrastructure, and economy. 

So who is praising the massive failure? The same people who pushed for the policies that created the mess. 

Both ALEC and the Franklin Center receive funding through the Koch network. In fact in 2011, the Franklin Center received 95 percent of its revenue from DonorsTrust, the “dark […]

This just might be the Kochs’ most absurd legal argument yet

June 11, 2015

Using one of their most incredulous and absurd legal runarounds yet, the Kochs actually ended up undercutting their argument on academic freedom. After a Kansas University student organization filed a public records request for the emails of Art Hall, one of the Kochs’ handpicked business professors, Hall’s lawyers (who are being paid for by the Kochs) are arguing that he is not actually a public employee but a private citizen because the funding for his position comes from somewhere else (i.e. the Kochs).

Since this is without a doubt one of the most perplexing legal arguments ever, let’s back up for a moment.

At KU, just as they have done at many other schools, the Kochs have used their massive wealth to influence the college through grants that come with strings attached. Some of the grants give the billionaires leverage over the faculty hired to work in their program. This is likely the case […]

Kochs’ canary in the coal mine: Kansas

June 2, 2015

The Koch brothers’ economic experiment has failed so horribly that Gov. Sam Brownback might be forced to do the unimaginable for a Republican: raise taxes. 

Brownback is scrambling to make up for devastating budget shortfalls after he teamed up with the Kochs in their home state to push their agenda, according to the New York Times. Just three years ago, Brownback passed the largest tax cuts in state history — promising that they would lead to economic growth. Unfortunately for the citizens of Kansas, that growth and prosperity never came. It’s the canary in the coal mine warning us that, as the Kochs look to buy the presidency in 2016, their model state is in financial ruin. 

Brownback’s extreme tax cuts came directly from the Koch playbook. The Times notes that Brownback’s radical rollbacks on small business and income taxes are estimated to cost a total of about $7 billion through 2019. […]

Home-State News: Another Koch Condemnation on Renewable Energy

May 22, 2015

Another newspaper in their own backyard is lambasting the Kochs and Governor Brownback for their attacks on renewable energy. Last week, the Koch brothers’ hometown publication, the Wichita Eagle, issued an editorial roasting the Kochs and Brownback for their assault on wind energy. This week it’s the Butler County Gazette exposing how deeply involved the Kochs actually are in special-interest lobbying.

Last week, Governor Brownback announced a “compromise” on the state’s renewable energy standards, changing a mandate into a voluntary goal. The agreement also decreased the lifetime property tax exemption for renewable projects to a 10-year exemption. Americans for Prosperity has been attacking the standards since January 2014, calling for an end to the mandate. Now the Gazette editorial board is saying the wind industry was “bullied into the deal” — revealing that the “compromise” was brokered behind closed doors, with Americans for Prosperity seated at the table.

Before this […]

Kochs’ hometown newspaper attacks Brownback-Koch efforts

May 14, 2015

The Koch brothers’ hometown newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, printed a nasty editorial that skewers the Kochs and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback for their assault on wind energy. The Kochs and Gov. Brownback, who they propped up financially during his underdog reelection campaign, continue to team up and push through conservative policies that destroy Kansas’ economy and education system but balloon the Kochs’ bottom line.

The latest joint Koch-Brownback effort is the AFP-backed bill Brownback signed this week to weaken the state’s wind power sector. By some estimates, wind power could create 12,000 jobs and $8 billion in investment in Kansas. Seeing the impact to the Kochs’ profits, the Kansas branch of Americans for Prosperity (the Kochs’ political arm) spent more than $300,000 in an effort to repeal the state’s renewable energy standards. 

Naturally, the Kochs and their elected officials are opposed to any regulation that hurts their profits. And like always, after bankrolling Gov. Brownback’s […]

Kansas Gov. Brownback Gives the Kochs Another Home State Win with Ethanol Subsidy Compromise

May 6, 2015

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback just gave the Koch brothers exactly what they wanted. On Monday, Brownback announced a “compromise” on the state’s renewable energy standards, changing a mandate into a voluntary goal — another win for the elected officials protecting the Kochs’ bottom line.

The renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires utilities to get at least 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar. Since January 2014, the Koch brothers have been attacking the standards through Americans for Prosperity, calling for an end to the mandate. Brownback gave the Kochs just that and then went above and beyond for Koch Industries, changing the property tax exemption for wind power producers to a 10-year exemption.

The Kochs bankrolled the governor’s campaign and many of his policies come straight out of their playbook, including the cuts to taxes, state spending, and public jobs that have devastated the Kansas educational system. […]

Koch Agenda’s Consequences for Kansas Students

April 6, 2015

Two Kansas school districts plan to end the academic year early to save money, citing financial pressures caused by Koch Brothers shill Governor Sam Brownback’s radical budget.

Kansas school districts are facing massive budget shortfalls after losing $51 million they were expected to receive for the current school year. Governor Brownback’s misguided revamp of the income tax code has given billionaires and businesses a tax break while slashing school spending. The new school funding plan scraps the previous formula for determining state aid and replaces it with block grants, which will give districts a fixed amount of money for the next two years while the Legislature develops a new formula.

Governor Brownback’s extreme legislation was copied right out of the Koch playbook. It’s hardly surprising given that the governor is advised by Koch crony Steve Anderson.

According to ThinkProgress, the consequences of spending cuts have been dire […]

Things keep getting worse in the Koch-dreamland of Kansas

January 9, 2015

Kansas Is Totally Screwed.” That’s the Mother Jones headline from this week for their story documenting the latest in what’s been a fierce downward spiral for the Sunflower State ever since Governor Sam Brownback implemented his massive Koch-inspired tax cuts.

The article paints a stark picture of just how dire the situation in Kansas really is. Brownback will need to trim $279 million from the budget by this summer, an additional $650 million for fiscal year 2016, and on top of everything else, the Kansas Supreme Court claims that student funding is already so low that it’s threatening the “state’s constitutional guarantee of an adequate education.”

In sum, Brownback that promised his extreme tax overhaul would provide “a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy.” It appears instead, it just shot the Kansas economy in the heart. They’ve already been tagged with a slew of credit downgrades, […]

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation