(TOPEKA, Kan.) — To find the best ideas for repairing the federal government, one should start by looking at the state level, according to Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. In this week’s Republican address, Brownback says “Washington is broke,” and “change is coming,” but state governments may be taking the best approach to growing the economy.
“The ideas on how to fix the federal government are now percolating in the states, 30 of which are led by Republican governors,” he says. “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.”
Gov. Brownback, more specifically, touts the growth his state has seen in the two years since he took office.
“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,” the Kansas governor explains in the address.
“Now to make that financial turnaround a reality, we didn’t cut state funding to schools, we didn’t cut state funding for our universities and colleges, we didn’t cut state funding for our Medicaid system, we didn’t cut state funding for our prisons,” he continues.
“We did consolidate agencies, cut overhead costs, offered a voluntary retirement buyout to state employees and eliminated outdated programs. We reformed our state’s Medicaid system to save a billion dollars over five years while at the same time, we expanded health care services for our neediest Kansans. We found ways to reduce the cost of running state government while increasing our investments in key areas like research in aviation, agriculture and medicine. We reduced the number of state employees and increased the number of students taking technical education courses which will help them prepare for a future with a better paying job.”
But for the naysayers, who doubt that budgets can be balanced all without raising taxes, Brownback points to … basketball.
“What I and other Republican governors around the country are doing is a lot like the Wichita State Wheat 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 says.
“Republican governors have been told you can’t cut taxes, balance your budgets and invest in the future all at the same time, and we’ve said, ‘watch us’ and done what we said we would do. Growing our economies, building strong family structures and making wise government investments produces winning results.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Gregory Krieg, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune