June 17, 2016

Kansas is in the second term of perhaps the worst GOP Governor in the nation, and that bar has been set pretty low by fellow Republicans Paul LePage of Maine, Rick Scott of Florida and Pat McCrory of North Carolina. Kansas is such a mess, Jeff Blackwood, CEO of Pathfinder Health Innovations has decided to pack up and move his corporate headquarters to Missouri.

His privately held company provides software to autism therapy centers. Pathfinder's CEO states that he is moving mainly because his conscience won't permit him to stay in Kansas anymore.

The CEO's blog post, which he admits is his own opinion, and not necessarily the opinions of shareholders etc, leaves no doubt why he made his decision. He puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Brownback Administration, which is just all kinds of awful.

“In the end, I believe the goals of the Brownback administration are going exactly to plan — starve the state of resources to the point where it just makes sense to turn over critical government functions to for-profit entities,” Blackwood said.

The budget shortfalls of the state government have been horrific, plaguing the state for 11 of the past 12 months. Plus, its economy shrank in three of four quarters last year, all at the expense of the poorest and neediest in the state. Perhaps these fake 'Christians' think that this is what Jesus would do?

Taxes are bad, mmmkay? Right? Wrong. Here's how it went down in Kansas:

The state eliminated income taxes for limited liability companies and other pass-through businesses in 2012 at Brownback’s urging. It has repeatedly fallen short of tax revenue expectations in the years since the policy took effect.

CEO Blackwood is very well versed in the facts. In addition to listing the major medical cuts Brownback imposed, he eloquently explains the consequences of defunding PUBLIC education.

The state’s public education system, once considered one of the best in the nation, hasn’t been spared, either. You’ll hear claims from Kansas officials that funding to education is at an all time high, but it’s just an accounting trick – they chose to shuffle money for special education and retirement funds through the schools so it could appear as an increase on the books. Salary freezes, underfunding to the point of being ruled unconstitutional, laws allowing teachers to be imprisoned for introducing potentially “offensive” content, cuts and delays in $100 million in payments to the state-run retirement fund, and legislation specifically targeted to cripple the Kansas teacher’s union are all part of an ongoing effort to undermine the public education system in Kansas. Instead, the Brownback administration plans to offer vouchers to encourage families to send their children to private and religious schools.

To double down on these policies, Brownback is now ignoring the $250 million shortfall predicted for 2016, instead opting for headlines about closing Kansas to refugees and blaming the “liberal media” for the state’s economic woes.

It wasn’t just that Brownback was conservative; it was that he is seen as a tool of the Koch brothers and ALEC, a conservative think tank and lobbying organization. Brownback used his influence and funding to eliminate “moderate” republicans from the Kansas legislature and install his hand-picked conservative cronies. He couldn’t do the same with the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ruled a number of the conservative legislature’s laws as unconstitutional, so Brownback’s administration decided to threaten to cut off funding to the court system and is actively pursuing legislation to impeach the Supreme Court.

Our friend Charlie over at Esquire reminds us of another key player in the travesty that is Sam Brownback's Administration: Secretary of Election Fraud State, Kris Kobach. Kansas: what better place to be ruled by the KKK? It's the home of Koch and Kris Kobach.

This guy says it flat out–Brownback has engineered the failure of government in Kansas to prove to himself and to the world that government inevitably fails. It's not often that you see it made that plain, and now it's time to point out that enough voters in Kansas showed up and re-elected this cluck in what only can be seen now as a suicide pact.

Of course, that election fell well within the margin of chicanery due to the efforts of Kris Kobach, one of the Founding Fathers of modern Jim Crow election law. This week, having had his head handed to him by a federal court, Kobach graciously declined to be cited for contempt.

Bravo to Mr. Blackwood for his responsible decision to relocate while, very publicly, calling out the Republican villains who have wreaked havoc on Kansas. In awesome fashion, he concludes his blog post:

I can’t, in good conscience, continue to give our tax money to a government that actively works against the needs of its citizens; a state that is systematically targeting the citizens in most need, denying them critical care and reducing their cost of life as if they’re simply a tax burden that should be ignored.

It’s because of these moves that I have decided to deny Kansas revenue from Pathfinder’s taxes by moving our company to Missouri. Sure, our company taxes are a drop in the bucket, but I do not, in any way, support the Brownback administration’s actions.

I believe that it is the responsibility of business owners and people with some voice in society should speak up against these destructive policies. And I believe it is far past the time that Sam Brownback and his cronies admit the damage they’ve caused to the people of Kansas and resign in the shame they deserve.

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