The BETTER Kansas plan is designed to radically change Kansas state government by returning to fiscally-responsible policies that have traditionally guided Kansas, refocusing on bringing new jobs and economic growth to the state, giving more power to Kansans, and creating more transparency and accountability for our elected officials.
Balance the Budget
Plan for a Rainy Day Fund
Kansas statute requires a 7.5% reserve to cover unexpected shortfalls in the event of a “rainy day” or downturn in the economy. Right now, that fund is empty. It will not be done overnight, but Senate Republican nominees recognize the glaring hole and will act responsibly to make the Rainy Day Fund a reality.
Committee on the Budget
While we elect a “citizen legislature” in Kansas with the expectation each legislator will devote about 90 days out of the year, balancing the budget has become a full-time job that needs more oversight. In the past, the Legislature has heavily relied on budget proposals given by the Governor at the State of the State address. However, it is time the legislature becomes a more active participant in the budget process. Senate Republican nominees support creating a legislative oversight committee that will be required to meet at least quarterly. This Committee’s role will be to oversee the budget, hold agencies accountable, and ensure income projections are meeting balanced budget requirements.
No Budget, No Pay
Government officials should live by the same standards of those they represent. That includes not allowing payment for a job that is not done. Legislation will be offered to require legislators to forfeit their salary if the budget is not passed within the first 70 days of the legislative session.
Educate the Next Generation
Broken Education Funding System
In Kansas, we go about Education spending the wrong way. Since 2005 the State has put more than a billion new dollars into K-12 education, yet teacher salaries have remained flat and test scores have seen little improvement. Kansas cannot become a magnet for jobs with an education funding system that remains broken and unpredictable.
Creating a Student-focused System
Senate Republican nominees will make student achievement and progress our top priority. When we write a new school formula, we must provide flexibility in spending and long term stability for all school districts. We refuse to allow the one size fits all model we have seen fail in our federal government be implemented by liberal Democrats in Topeka. We believe in local control. Local school boards, teachers and parents should decide what is best for their schools. We will ensure and improve student outcomes and make sure each child is prepared to compete for jobs in our competitive global economy.
Treat Taxpayers Fairly
Low and Fair
Senate Republicans adhere to this defining common sense principle: we believe that we need to tax Kansas individuals and corporations at the lowest and most flat tax rate possible, that will allow the state to thrive.
We must strive to keep tax rates low on all taxpayers, both individuals and corporations.
We must agree to a system of taxation that is fair to all. Some currently do not pay any taxes while others who do the same job are taxed unfairly.
The tax system must be as flat and broad-based as possible.
All of the above principles must be maintained while keeping Kansas the best place in the country to live, raise a family, and start a business.
Transparency in Government
A System That Is Not Trusted
Kansans–now more than ever–feel as if they have no input in what goes on in Topeka. Government at all levels should be open and transparent with public access and participation available for all. Kansans have been kept in the dark about how their government is being operated and where their tax dollars are being spent. This must change if we want Kansans to play an active role in holding government accountable for solving the problems they face in their day-to day lives.
Make Government Open and Transparent
Creating a more open and transparent government starts with making sure people know what their elected officials are doing for them. Under our plan, legislative meetings and Senate proceedings will be public and streamed live online for public viewing. All bills will have a public hearing and notice of those hearings will be posted a minimum of two days in advance. Additionally, notice of upcoming action on bills will be posted online at least a day in advance, so that nothing gets rushed through at the final hour.
Economic Stability and Jobs
Too many Kansas families still feel like they are struggling
While Kansas has experienced a mild uptick in job growth and wages and has also seen slightly lower unemployment rates, the reality is that too many Kansas families do not feel that their personal economic circumstances have turned the corner. Too many Kansas families struggle to make ends meet and have fears about their job security. There is more that leaders in Topeka can do to create an economic climate where more Kansans feel their lives are improving.
A business climate that holds Kansas companies back
Kansas was recently ranked the 21st best state in the country for business. State leaders need to do more to improve the state’s economic competitiveness.
Making private-sector job growth the top priority
Senate Republican nominees are committed to ensuring that attracting new private-sector jobs to the state and retaining already existing jobs is a top priority every single day while in office. We will not rest until the job market in Kansas is strong enough that families no longer feel like they are struggling or worried about their job security.
Review Rules and Regulations
Kansas needs a total review of codes and regulations that impact businesses. Policies that may have benefited the state 20 years ago may be damaging our business climate today while remaining buried in the State Code or Administrative Regulations. The Senate Republican nominees are committed to enhancing the role of the existing Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations. The committee will meet throughout the year to systematically review the code and the regulations to ensure that they are up-to-date and beneficial.
Rein In Federal Regulations
Federal Regulatory Overreach
Aggressive federal overreach through enforcement of burdensome and unnecessary regulation is costing Kansas businesses time, resources and money. It is damaging the state’s economic climate, the competitiveness of our businesses and is killing jobs from Kansas City to Dodge City and everywhere in between.
Senate Republican nominees commit to introducing legislation to allow Kansas to take advantage of federal laws that allow states, rather than the federal government, to manage and enforce certain existing regulations. Currently, 26 states have taken over regulation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), resulting in more local collaboration on health and safety rules for employees, a safer workplace environment, and less red tape for business. This will reduce to costs businesses incur to comply with regulation mandates, allowing those businesses to hold down prices, hire more workers and be more competitive.