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State of The State: Brownback or Colyer, It Doesn’t Matter

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Colyer and Brownback Support the Same Failed Agenda 

KC Star: ‘Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer might be as committed to Brownback’s budget theories as the governor himself.’


For weeks, questions have swirled around  today’s State of the State speech in Kansas. Kansans wondered if Governor Sam Brownback – who was re-nominated yesterday for a gig in the Trump administration – would be giving the speech himself, or cede the spotlight to Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer.  

Here’s the catch: It doesn’t really matter.

Brownback and Colyer have been in lockstep on their administration’s economic policy from the beginning.

Their mind-meld is well documented. Colyer is a “Brownback loyalist” who donated hundreds of thousands to get him elected and implement his agenda. According to the Kansas City Star Editorial Board, Brownback enacted his failed tax experiment “with Colyer’s full support.”

Over the next four years, Brownback — with Colyer’s full support — enacted a series of tax cuts and budget changes that worsened the problem dramatically.

And even as their “experiment” caused hundred million dollar budget shortfalls, anemic growth, school shutdowns, and credit downgrades, Colyer stuck by his decisions. Asked by KWCH if he had any regrets about their agenda, Colyer said no:

Colyer said Brownback’s tax plan was not a mistake. ‘The decision then was what sort of economic issues were going on then,’ said Colyer.

Now as he prepares to take over for Brownback, his fellow Republicans are skeptical he would be any different.

  • House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr.: “Ideologically, I think he’s aligned with Gov. Brownback.”
  • Rep. John Whitmer: “Dr. Colyer’s policies are very similar to the governor’s, so I don’t think we’ll see much change if any.”
  • Rep. Keith Esau: ‘I’m not sure that much would change’ if Brownback leaves.

So while it is fun to speculate about whether Colyer would get the chance to speak this afternoon, it is clear that on substance and policy, he and Brownback are “two peas in a pod.”

“Since Governor Brownback and Lt. Governor Colyer both support the same disastrous failed policies, it doesn’t really matter who’s doing the talking today,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Colyer and Brownback ushered in the worst economic catastrophe Kansas has ever seen, and they clearly still don’t regret a thing. Kansas voters desperately want to move on from these nightmarish eight years, but Colyer and Brownback are the wrong men for the job.”