Kansas parties grapple with Gov. Kelly’s economy

(KS Governor's Office)
Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:43 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas’ Republican and Democratic parties are grappling over Governor Laura Kelly’s economy.

The Kansas GOP says the Kansas economy ranked in the bottom five states for personal income growth in 2020. It said according to an analysis of economic data conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts, Kansas ranked ahead of Wyoming and North Dakota in personal growth income for 2020. The growth rate across the nation was 5.9%, it said this is almost twice as much as Kansas’ 2.7%.

“The data in the Pew study demonstrates the need for both the RELIEF Act and the Economy Recovery Act to provide help to families, boost our economy, and create more private-sector jobs so personal income can rise,” said Mike Pirner, Director of Communications for Senate President Ty Masterson. “We also need to continue to get our economy fully open. For our businesses to thrive and employ more Kansans, they need to be confident government is on their side.”

According to the GOP, one reason for the lag could be the performance of the Kansas Department of Labor throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, it said the Legislative Post-Audit Committee report estimated $600 million in loss through payouts of fraudulent unemployment claims in 2020. It said the estimate more than doubled the $200 million figure that Governor Laura Kelly had previously said.

The GOP has accused Gov. Kelly of “dragging her feet” to apply for enhanced unemployment benefits and has blamed everyone besides herself. It claims that she has never taken responsibility for Kansas’ poor performances in the economy, testing, and vaccine distribution.

The Kansas Democratic Party defended Gov. Kelly’s position and said she is a fiscally responsible leader.

“Governor Kelly has been a pragmatic, fiscally-responsible leader despite a once-in-a-century crisis. Last year, her administration brought in a record $2.5 billion in new investment and greenlit more than 150 new transportation projects,” said KDP Executive Director Ben Meers. “Republican leaders have focused on undermining Kansas’ ability to respond to COVID-19, and are actively trying to bring back the Brownback tax cuts, which would rob our schools and roads of the funding that the Governor just restored.”

On Thursday morning, Gov. Kelly announced a new cybersecurity company, Novacoast, will expand its operations to Wichita and plans to hire 60 Kansans. She also signed Senate Bill 15, which enacts the Kansas economic recovery loan deposit program which will boost industries such as agriculture and housing.

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