The following editorial is attributed to Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka:
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Kansas has a new governor and Sam Brownback has a new title. Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer has become Governor Colyer while Sam Brownback heads to Washington D.C. to serve as the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
When he first became governor, Sam Brownback told Republican legislative leaders that he wanted to go down in history as the best Governor our state has ever seen, but here is what the Brownback/Colyer administration has accomplished:
- A self-inflicted budget crisis from the Brownback/Colyer ‘real live’ tax experiment;
- Three credit downgrades;
- A billion-dollar surplus turned into a billion-dollar shortfall;
- The highest sales tax on food in the nation, when combined with local sales taxes;
- Record levels of borrowing and bonding;
- Our state’s retirement system has been used like a credit card;
- A depleted highway fund by $2.7 billion and, as a result, deteriorating infrastructure;
- Inadequately and unfairly funded K-12 schools;
- Teachers stripped of their due process rights;
- Private schools subsidized with public dollars;
- $24 million cut from higher education;
- 150,000 Kansans remain uninsured because of his refusal to expand Medicaid;
- Children sleeping in the offices of Kansas foster care contractors;
- Working men and women facing stagnant wages, no job growth, and unsafe workplaces;
- State employees stripped of civil service protections;
- Riots in prisons while corrections officers were forced to work 18-hour shifts.
With accomplishments like these, Sam Brownback will go down in history as the worst Governor our state has ever seen. All the while Jeff Colyer loyally and silently stood by.
With Brownback gone, some say this is the beginning of a new era. The reality is, it’s a new governor with the same thinking.