By Tom Wilbur
An open letter to Governor Sam Brownback:
The State of Kansas needs to take all of the lottery monies it receives directly from the people of Kansas, and commit them to funding education, like Missouri does. In 2015, 85% of lottery proceeds— right at $42 million— went to the “economic development fund” in our State. Trying to attract out of territory businesses to a State where educational funding fundamentals aren’t sound— is simply an act of futility. And that’s where a lot of our lottery money goes– “economic development”. It’s a nationwide dart throw– a form of shell game, in and of itself. Show us the results of these efforts. I doubt they’re stellar.
Kansas attempts to bring business to Kansas with teaser funding dollars that don’t compare and can’t compete to the firepower of much larger States. We’ve seen big businesses leave Wichita and Salina under your watch, and other areas across the State, because incentives elsewhere are much larger, and more freely distributed. Again, demonstrate how well the lottery money you’ve spent has improved the business climate here. Enlighten us as to the positive number of jobs these specific economic funds you’ve gathered from lotteries have impacted the State, compared to the number of jobs we’ve lost.
You, and the Kansas legislature, should make this adjustment by tapping these lottery funds, and upgrading our schools and districts with well-funded education brought to bear by well-paid teachers with a target for well-educated young people. Let’s quit pretending we can play the “buy big businesses” game, and do education right. You’ve lowered taxes claiming it will make Kansas businesses flourish. That’s a failed experiment– coming directly from you. You are responsible.
Our bank, and all Kansas banks, are committed to helping small businesses grow, across this great State of Kansas. We work hard every day with Kansas entrepreneurs, farmers, manufacturers and businesses of all shapes and sizes generating new jobs, and new growth for our communities. We support these businesses looking to expand with sound funding sources and guidance. Home grown businesses have deeper roots, and are most likely to stay here—and we dig in to help them prosper.
Let’s get back to the fundamentals, and make Kansas great again. It’s time to wake up, and get the appropriate funding model in place, before it’s too late. You politicians should get to work on funding education correctly, now. Use those lottery funds. Do something to bring respect back to the office of Governor again, because frankly, your ratings on your accomplishments to date aren’t looking too good. The people of Kansas and hundreds of financial institutions across the State will do our best to grow, support, and help prosper good Kansas businesses.
You do your part— Governor, and stop leading without listening.
Pay attention to the will of our residents, and your constituents, and get Kansas education funded constitutionally appropriately, and distributed fairly, to Kansas kids.
Educated at Meadowlark Ridge Grade School, Salina’s Roosevelt/Lincoln Junior High, Salina Central High School, and the University of Kansas.
President/CEO, BANK VI, Salina, Kansas.
P.S. You could help us delete Common Core curriculums, while you’re at it, sir.
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