Here is an example from their postcards which have been clogging the mailboxes of so ... many Kansans this summer. Against incumbent legislators whom they want defeated they claim they “retroactively raised our state taxes by $1.2 billion”. But here’s the rest of the story: That tax bill, passed in 2017, was deemed necessary by more than 2/3 of the Kansas Senate and 2/3 of the Kansas House, in order to correct the excesses of the Brownback tax cut of 2012, which had devastated state finances. And the $1.2 billion cost was over two years, not one. Among those voting yes were Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, House Speaker Ron Ryckman, House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch, and House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins. But is the Kansas Chamber targeting these leaders? Of course not. Instead they are selectively using the issue to try to replace independent-minded incumbents with challengers who would more obediently go along with whatever the Chamber wants.
Another example is their charge that the targeted legislators voted to increase the size of gifts legislators can receive from lobbyists. The rest of the story: The primary focus of the bill they refer to was about enforcing greater transparency in dealings between lobbyists and the governor’s administration. The bill was a response to reports of secret deals which certain favored lobbyists were able to obtain with the administration of Sam Brownback. One section of the bill did modestly increase the size of lobbyist gifts, but that was certainly not the focus of the bill, nor its most important objective. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and overwhelmingly in the House. The Chamber has chosen to twist the issue and imply it is something shady, when in truth the bill attempted to squelch shady practices in state government. And is the Chamber upset with all who voted for the bill? Evidently not, as they are only sending out those cards against the targeted incumbent legislators they deem too independent and not compliant enough with the Chamber’s agenda.
The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has mastered the craft of not lying while simultaneously not being truthful They think their deception can fool the voters of Kansas. They don't think the voters are sophisticated enough to see the truth. Don’t be fooled! Whenever you see a campaign hit piece from them, ask yourself what the rest of the story must be. And then pick up the phone and call the legislator they are targeting to get the rest of the story.
Don Hineman is a Republican member of the Kansas House of Representatives, representing the 118th District. He lives in Dighton.