State Sen. Forrest Knox has voted against the interests of Kansas taxpayers again and again over the last five years, and voters should hold him accountable for his part in creating the state’s current financial mess, that is, the stream of unbalanced budgets, unfair taxes, and unprecedented new debt. Let me explain:
He voted wrong four years ago, in 2012, in supporting a hugely flawed tax bill (Senate Sub for HB 2117) that cut income taxes benefiting primarily the wealthiest Kansans by $1 billion a year without any cuts in spending. Over 300,000 business owners were exempted from taxation while modest tax benefits for lower-income residents were eliminated.
The folly of the 2012 bill quickly became apparent, and so Knox next voted in 2013 to increase sales taxes (HB 2059) adding a new $220 million burden on Kansas taxpayers.
Knox then voted in 2015 to place Kansas taxpayers at further risk by authorizing a new $1 billion debt to prop up the pension fund (SB 228), even though national credit rating agencies asserted the borrowing would not reduce the state’s pension liabilities. Kansas taxpayers will be paying off this billion dollar debt for the next 30 years.
Also, in 2015, Knox voted for an appropriation bill (House Sub for SB 112) that suspended all debt limits on borrowing by the Kansas Department of Transportation and allowed a new record-breaking highway debt of $400 million and at the same time record-high sweeps out of the highway fund approaching $500 million.
Finally, in 2015, Knox cast a deciding vote (Senate Sub for HB 2109) raising sales taxes and cigarette taxes to new highs and adding another $205 million tax burden on Kansans.
Knox and his far-right allies have sent Kansas state government into financial chaos. The state is broke, flat broke, lunging from one financial crisis to the next. Sales tax rates now make Kansas’ tax on food the highest in the nation. Highway maintenance and improvement projects are being deferred; pension payments are delayed; health care for the most vulnerable is slashed; and state universities are being cut and tuition increased. Bills are not being paid on time. The state consistently trails the region and the nation in economic growth.
Voters of Senate District 14 should seriously consider whether they want Forrest Knox representing them for another four years.
Former state representatives of the 13th House District: