Friday, January 20, 2006

Republican math

Jim Barnett lays out his platform in the Kansas Governor's race. Tax credits to business, cutting taxes on rich people's estates, making the income tax much less progressive in the upper brackets, and:
A freeze in state spending, with an allowance of $400 million in new spending over four years for K-12 education, an allowance for expected growth in Medicaid, and a 2.5 percent annual increase for regents universities.
Set aside the fact that his tax plan is a massive giveway to the richest Kansans at a time when the state can barely afford to keep up with its current fiscal obligations.

I want someone to explain how increasing spending by $100 million per year, and guaranteeing growth in the second largest class of expenditures could possibly qualify as "a freeze in state spending."

When Sebelius won, it was because, confronted with the likely necessity of budget cuts, she made it clear that she wouldn't cut education spending. She also said she wouldn't raise taxes, and most people found that an implausible combination.

She won on values. She valued education, and people knew she'd fight for that. Barnett is making it clear he'll fight against the boost in education spending that two independent reports have now made clear are necessary. Cutting taxes on very rich Kansans, people concentrated not just in wealth but in geography is his priority.

Kathleen Sebelius won against a more vigorous version of the same thing once before. She's popular, which is important, but her values click with people, which is more important.