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Americans for Prosperity-Kansas’s Position Kansas to Prosper lays out important steps lawmakers can take to improve the lives of all Kansans. These legislative priorities will provide a path towards recovery for the Sunflower State, and make our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Activists across the state will reach their lawmakers ahead of and throughout the legislative session to implore their support for principled policy solutions to the greatest challenges we face.
Income taxes are the most economically distortionary tax; discouraging work, job creation, and making it harder for Americans to live the American Dream. Kansas’ graduated income tax brackets complicate the state’s tax code creating an excessive burden on low to middle income families. Americans for Prosperity believes replacing Kansas income taxes with a flatter, lower tax rate brings simplicity to the Kansas tax code and budget management.
Americans for Prosperity also supports requiring a 2/3rds majority of the legislature in order to pass a tax increase. Kansas families have to think critically about budgets and spending, the government should do the same. 2/3rds majority vote for future tax increases encourages fiscal restraint and cutting wasteful spending rather than increasing the tax burden on Kansas families.
The Kansas state general fund is $1.7 billion higher than what is necessary. This bloated spending has crowded out and prevented startups. Instead of government growth we need private sector growth. In the past our state hampered innovation and growth among existing firms, but Americans for Prosperity believes government budget processes should focus on whether expenditures are providing a benefit to the public. Enforcing performance-based budgeting creates a continuous improvement process on par with firms in the private sector. This creates not only an opportunity to find processing errors and save money but also an effective bipartisan collaboration.
According to the statewide assessments scores of math, language arts, and science, 70% of Kansas students either need remedial training or are performing below grade level. Americans for Prosperity believes in giving each individual student the best opportunity to succeed. Kansas parents deserve more educational options for their children. Therefore AFP-Kansas will advocate for an Education Savings Account, where Kansas parents’ hard earned tax dollars can be used directly for the betterment of their child’s education.
A commission of trial attorneys select nominees for the office behind closed doors and with no input from Kansans or their elected legislators. This has led to an unelected judicial body acting like a super legislature. Americans for Prosperity believes that if the Kansas Supreme Court wishes to act like a legislator, then the Kansas Supreme Court should be constrained like legislators. Therefore AFP-KS calls for a “We the people” judicial selection process that either mirrors the Federal model, which is the Chief Executive nominates a judicial candidate and the Senate confirms or a process that allows for direct elections of Kansas Justices. It is a process inherent in the U.S. Constitution and can ensure the Kansas Supreme Court never exceeds its place in the founding of Kansas.
Kansas civil asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement to seize people’s property and money if suspected of criminal activity. The problem is that an overwhelming majority of the affected property owners have not been convicted of a crime. Kansas reported seizing $21.3 million of Kansans’ property, taking on average more than a year for that property to return to its owner. Americans for Prosperity-Kansas believes civil asset forfeiture should be reformed to protect Kansans that are innocent until proven guilty.
These fines for Kansas juveniles, can snowball and become overbearing on Kansas families. Moreover, evidence suggests fines and fees on juveniles have no link to recidivism. Americans for Prosperity believes fines and fees on juveniles is ineffective and creates a cycle of poverty and crime for those affected.
In Kansas, public workers automatically opt-in to public unions against their wishes. With their dues these public unions make political statements and campaigns that sometimes are in opposition to the views of public workers. This process is a form of forced speech and public workers should have freedom when it comes to joining a public union. Americans for Prosperity believes public workers should have freedom of choice, fairness, and be free from any coercion.
Over the decades government control of healthcare has resulted in higher prices, longer wait times and a decreasing quality of care. Americans for Prosperity believe the solution to the growing healthcare crisis is to grow the access to healthcare services. That means expanding the scope of practice for non-physician providers, removing barriers on nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists, and allowing more short-term personal option healthcare plans. It also means stopping Medicaid expansion; as the program would cost the state billions, would raise healthcare costs and would actually restrict access to care for Kansans who need it the most.
Kansans pay more than the national average and at least 13% more than our neighbors in Missouri for our electricity. AFP supports efforts to lower costs for ratepayers, including ending any cross-subsidization proposal that forces ratepayers to pay for items such as electric car charging stations. We support policy that decreases energy poverty in our state and holds regulators accountable for increasing prices.