GOP: Look to the states
POSTED: Saturday, April 6, 2013 - 8:22pm
UPDATED: Sunday, April 7, 2013 - 9:02am
ATLANTA (CNN) — It's all but certain the Republican-backed budget won't be adopted for the federal government this year, so the GOP governor of Kansas pointed Saturday to a place the party can make change: at the state level.
Gov. Sam Brownback explained in the party's weekly address, "the ideas on how to fix the federal government are now percolating in the states, 30 of which are led by Republican governors.
"You see, you don't change America by changing Washington. You change America by changing the states. And that's exactly what Republican governors are doing across the country, taking a different approach to grow their states' economies and fix their governments with ideas that work," he said.
And Brownback should know. He served one term in the U.S. House before winning a special election for a U.S. Senate seat in 1996. He won a full Senate term two years later and was re-elected in 2004. In 2010, Brownback turned his attention back to state government.
His state was in straits, he explained.
"The year I became governor, the state began the fiscal year with just $876.05 in the bank, less than $1,000, and it projected a $500 million deficit. Two years later, we had a $500 million ending balance and did it without tax increases," he said
Brownback says he turned the situation around not by cutting needed programs, but finding "ways to reduce the cost of running state government while increasing our investments in key areas like research in aviation, agriculture and medicine."
But that doesn't mean everyone thinks Brownback is good news for the state.
"Kansans are common sense people who can see the disastrous consequences of Governor Brownback's policies," Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon said in February, after a Democratic polling firm found Brownback's disapproval rating was just over the 50% mark.
"Kansans are waking up to the fact that Governor Brownback is raising taxes on middle- and lower-income Kansans to pay for tax breaks for his wealthy supporters. This poll is proof that Kansans see through the fairy tale Brownback is spinning and understand his policies will hurt Kansas students, Kansas workers, and Kansas families."
The governor, however, says his leadership shows his party's ideas work.
"What I and other Republican governors around the country are doing is a lot like the Wichita State Shockers basketball team playing in the NCAA Final Four this weekend - unranked as a team, the pundits said 'you can't win' and the Shockers said, 'watch us,' " he said.