By Gene Meyer | Kansas Reporter
FAIRWAY – Kansas legislators cast more middle-of the-road votes than outsiders might imagine.
So says free-market advocates at the Kansas Policy Institute think tank, Voice for Liberty policy blog in Wichita and Americans For Prosperity, an advocacy group in Topeka. The groups released Thursday the first of a planned annual Kansas Economic Freedom Index, showing how Kansas legislators voted on 20 or more bills that advance or set back principles held by the organizations.
Kansas House members, as a unit, voted slightly to the right of center on groups of bills which, the three index creators say, promote lower taxes, smaller government and individual liberties. Members of the Kansas Senate, as a group, voted slightly to the left of center.
Individual members’ votes in both chambers varied far more widely, as shown here. The 24 bills counted in the House and 20 in the Senate varied, as well – from hot-button tax bills over which legislators fought bitterly to technical changes in barbers’ licensing and business regulations.
The narrow differences between the two chambers records “shows economic freedom is not a partisan issue,” Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute’s president, said in a telephone news conference.
That’s because Republicans out numbered Democrats 92-33 in the House and 32-8 in the Senate last session, and strict party line votes would have greatly altered index results, he said.
The group stressed that their new index and voting record analysis was created to inform Kansas voters and not to support or oppose specific candidates.
But the index “is an important tool for Kansans who want to know if their state legislators follow through with promises to lower taxes, control government spending and protect individual liberties,” said Derrick Sontag, head of Americans For Prosperity’s Kansas chapter.