By Paul Soutar | Kansas Watchdog
TOPEKA — Kansas officials played a shell game with government reports they used to support a statewide tobacco ban.
In arguing that the state’s 2010 Kansas Indoor Clean Air smoking ban hasn’t hurt business, officials and activists pointed to Kansas Department of Revenue data that showed no decline in revenues.
There’s just one thing wrong with that KDOR data: it’s irrelevant.
The ban’s supporters point to KDOR data about “drinking establishments,” a category used by KDOR’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
. That report combines sales revenues from a range of establishments, including high-profit full-service restaurants that limited smoking before the ban as well as drinking places such as bars where smoking is more common.
KDOR has consistently pointed to that combined ABC report to bolster its contention that the ban had no impact on year-over-year revenues.
Now, KansasWatchdog has discovered that KDOR manages another report, data that may support bar owners’ contention that the smoking ban is bad for their business.
The data, segregated by North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS,
numbers, shows up on U.S. Census Department and Bureau of Labor Standards sites.
KansasWatchdog has discovered anomalies in the NAICS data on drinking places and has submitted the report for independent analysis.
In interviews and public testimony, state officials and anti-smoking activists have failed to present the OPR data, focusing instead on the ABC report.
Anti-smoking activist Duane Goossen
, vice president for Fiscal and Health Policy at the nonprofit Kansas Health Institute, cited the combined bar and restaurant data supporting in his March 12 testimony before the House State & Federal Affairs committee.