Silver linings can’t hide the ugly facts


May 18, 2017 - 12:00 AM

For the governor’s sake, let’s find the silver lining: His approval rating among Kansans has come up.
Yes, it’s still in the basement, and well below that of President Trump’s, but it is up by 6 percent from the all-time low of 62 percent who last fall said they were “very dissatisfied” with the governor’s performance.
As for Trump, 36 percent gave him two thumbs down.
This spring’s survey of 1,362 Kansas residents was released this week. It is conducted biannually by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs based at Fort Hays State University.
 Their concerns?
A large majority, 65 percent, say Kansas is on the wrong track and that they have lost faith in its future. More than half of respondents fear the state’s shaky finances — the state has a $900 million budget gap for the next two years — will impact them personally.
Most think the 2012 income tax cuts were a bad idea and should be repealed and that income taxes should be raised on big business and the wealthy.
Almost 70 percent favor raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
A majority, 59 percent, favor banning guns in public health facilities.
So will legislators listen?
Perhaps for those legislators sitting on the fence the poll makes it easier for them to know what side to come down on — that is, if it’s their constituents they have in mind.
We know most things are not black and white and that compromises must be made.
For example, the issue of concealed carry on university campuses or in public health settings could be resolved by giving the decision to each school or hospital board of trustees. Let the locals, not a state body, decide what is best for individual settings.
Overwhelmingly, the survey showed that Kansans want change. They are tired of hearing about neglected schools, deteriorating infrastructure, and a budget in crisis.
The good news is that 90 percent of respondents say they intend to stay put. Let’s make it a place they are proud to call home.

— Susan Lynn

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