Paid Pickpockets - Taxpayer Funded Lobbyists in Kansas
by Wayne Flaherty
Few people know that Kansas has over 100 lobbyists that are paid by tax supported government entities. In other words, our tax money is used to lobby legislators to get more of our tax money. Other lobbyists work for non-tax supported interests. A recent list of just 105 state lobbyists, paid with your tax dollars, reveals an interesting distribution.
- 22 - Cities
- 16 - Counties
- 13 - Higher Education
- 26 - K-12 Education
- 5 - Law Enforcement
- 23 - Misc. Governments
A lobbyist is not at the state capitol to explain the fine points of the financial needs of the organizations he represents. Neither is he there to look out for the interests of the citizens of Kansas. He is there to obtain money for his employer – our tax supported city, county, school, etc. Let’s look at schools.
Few Kansans are aware that about 2/3 of our state budget goes for education. Even fewer are aware that by the year 2009 every man, woman, and child in the state will be paying an extra $100 per year each, over and above the taxes were paying in 2006. That means a husband, wife and 3 kids, will be paying an extra $1500 per year in taxes - just for education. Some will argue that this new tax burden is a result of a Kansas Supreme Court order.
The point here is that while the education establishment was behind the court order, the infusion of all that money has not lessened their quest for more money by even the tiniest bit. They have just as many tax paid lobbyists calling for even more money for schools. Bond issues asking people to vote still more money are still being put before the public. Remember, it matters not whether their money is obtained by their attorneys in the courts, their lobbyists in the capitol, or from the voters in their district. There is only one pocket supplying all education funds and that pocket is ours.
It becomes easier to understand why education is so successful in extracting money from the legislators when one looks at the distribution of lobbyists. Of the 105 on the list, 39 (37 %) are lobbying for education organizations.
- 13 - Colleges, Universities, and Tech Schools
- 13 - Kansas Association of School Boards
- 3 – NEA (National Education Association)
- 10 - Various Education Organizations
The next time someone from education asks for more of our tax money, it is our right - even our duty - to require that person to explain their reasons and justify their alleged need. In these days of spin doctors and semantic experts, it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to be aware that very often want has been magically transformed into need. It is vital we know the difference.
Note: Reprinted from the old Eponym website given the latest 2017 education increase from the Kansas Supreme Court. It is a look back at what the education lobby has done since Nov 2007 when this article first published. The citizens of Kansas continue to be held hostage by a corrupt court system.