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Editorial: Pettiness and lack of compromise foils tax relief in Kansas

I have been highly critical of various issues over a number of years -- educational outcomes, excessive taxation, and government spending in general – with good reason. But after this legislative session, it’s apparent that the root problem preventing the improvement of these issues is the lack of true leadership in our state Capitol. The governor’s recent vetoes of key legislation show her true colors, none of which put citizens like you first. The fact that significant tax reform didn't happen is the result of her pettiness and lack of compromise, even with members of her own party.

I campaigned extensively on the fact that we needed to return Kansas’ nearly $3 billion in surplus tax dollars (or as I referred to it, “confiscated capital”) to you, the taxpayers. After taking care of our most vulnerable citizens (I championed that, and we made progress for those with disabilities), our primary duty was to return much of the surplus to the taxpayers. The fact that this did not happen is a failure of our governor and leadership. I personally lobbied the chairmen of the House appropriations and tax committees, and we passed a good tax reduction bill. But the governor vetoed it and the Senate failed to override the veto. This is unacceptable. The constituents of Kansas deserve better.

Republicans usually lead efforts to tame excessive taxation. If we had a Republican governor, you would be getting significant tax relief. Governor Kelly, (rather “No Compromise Kelly”) repeatedly rejects efforts to compromise and work on behalf of the majority of Kansas taxpayers who want significant tax relief. Kansas voters, you will never get real compromise from a recalcitrant Governor Kelly.

Her pettiness and lack of integrity were never more apparent than her last-minute veto of $250,000 in funding (in a $20 billion state budget) for the Quindaro Ruins Project, a key landmark of the Underground Railroad history championed by KCK Rep. Marvin Robinson (D).

Some say she voted against the project because of Democratic Rep. Marvin Robinson‘s votes on pro-life issues. There doesn’t seem to be much disagreement regarding that statement. But what it does show, on a much larger scale, is the degree to which the governor would go to get even with a colleague in her own party. This was a personal public retribution, which signifies that this governor was not going to compromise one iota regarding pro-life or other social issues.

Folks, if you can’t see your way through to compromising with a fellow party member, you sure will not be inclined to compromise with the opposition party. The question has always been asked as to why people can’t go to Topeka and compromise. This is proof positive that this will not happen and that is to the detriment of all.

To be fair, pettiness happened across the aisle, too. After voting repeatedly in favor of a sensible tax-reduction plan, Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe) changed his vote at the last minute to force a failure of the override of the governor’s veto. Olson’s deep-seated resentment of being removed from a party leadership role will now prevent you and other Kansans from getting the tax savings you deserve.

Stay tuned for a full recap of the legislative session coming soon. I'll also share a list of priorities for the 2024 session, as work begins anew to help Kansas citizens benefit from much more prudent budgeting, fiscal oversight and -- hopefully -- significant tax relief. 


Paid for by Rep. Owen Donohoe for State Representative Campaign
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