Please watch the first video from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting held in San Diego during July 2015. Former speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives in 2012, and now President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Mike O'Neal, tells the ALEC interviewer his version of what happened in 2012 when the legislature slashed taxes for 330,000 business owners in their march to a zero income tax for all Kansans.
O'Neal believes the sky is still blue in Kansas and noted the real story of what is happening is not getting out to the public because the liberal newspapers are not reporting it. He referred to Lawrence, Ks as the "Peoples Republic of Lawrence." O'Neal blames the tax bill signed into law by Governor Brownback in 2012. on the senate leadership who wanted to kill the House version after repeated attempts by the House to compromise with good faith offers. O'Neal said after the senate rejected these House offers, Governor Brownback signed the bill.
Now watch the second video where former President of the Kansas Senate in 2012, Steve Morris tells a different story.
Morris left the chamber to take the call in his office. Brownback told Morris this tax policy, as is, would bankrupt the state, and asked Morris to help get the bill through the senate so they could get it worked out in a conference committee.
Morris said it's pretty hard for a Republican senate leader to say no to a Republican governor. Morris got the votes in the senate to reconsider the bill and sent it back to the House. Morris acknowledged that trusting the Governor and passing the bill was a huge mistake on his part.
Governor Brownback had a different plan than the one he committed to Morris. The Governor went to the House Republican caucus and asked them to concur with what the senate passed. This would bypass the need for a conference committee to reconcile the differences in the bills and all but ensure the fiscal nightmare the state faces today.
As the senate debated a more modest tax-cut approved by a conference committee, the House Republican speaker, Mike O'Neal brought up the tax bill for a vote. O'Neal received harsh criticism by other House Republicans for going against the rules of his own chamber to speed up passage of the bill.
To expedite passage of the bill, O'Neal used a parliamentary procedure to cut off debate including changes and explanations of votes. This must of seemed like a scene out of the popular T.V. series "House of Cards" where actor, Frank Underwood, (Kevin Spacey) passed a bill using the same tactics in a fictional episode, which makes one wonder just how much truth is portrayed in the "House of Cards" series and what goes on in our legislature.
Morris said, "The governor just flat out lied to us and stabbed us in the back."
The Governor's betrayal of Morris was the first shot fired across the bow to start a civil war within the Republican Party where the extremists prevailed over the moderates. The divide widened when Governor Brownback, with the help of dark money purged 20 moderate Republicans, including Morris during their primary elections in the fall of 2012.
Morris received the brunt of vicious false attacks from outside influences in his defeat with funds provided by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and now a defunct group called KanPac (Kansas for a True Republican Majority.)
O'Neal was a party to this moderate purge, as he retired from the legislature and was rewarded for his efforts when he was hired during September of 2012 as President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, a group who was and still is (as you will hear on his interview), a strong advocate for Governor Brownback's aggressive income tax cut.
Steve Morris served as a member of my board of directors when I was the Executive Director of the Kansas State University Alumni Association back in the late 70's and early 80's, and is one of the most honest and trusting persons I know. Think of someone in your hometown who everyone trusts and respects, and that's Steve.
One of the reasons, I have become a strong and outspoken grassroots advocate for change in the legislature is the shabby treatment Steve received from O'Neal and Governor Brownback.
The videos will tell the story, and you can decide for yourself which version you choose. I've already made my decision by going with Steve's account. And as Paul Harvey used to say, "And now you know the rest of the story."
If you feel as strongly as I do about this issue that should be shared statewide with your networks, then contact Mr. Mike O'Neal, President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, 835 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka, Ks 66612, 785-357-6321 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I plan to tell him I watched both videos, and felt he left out the real story in his ALEC interview in San Diego. I was especially offended when he seemed proud and said, someone wrote there are three parties in Kansas including the House Chamber, The Senate Chamber and the Kansas Chamber. I believe that says it all if anyone is not convinced ALEC along with the Kansas Chamber is controlling our legislature, and unless we rebel it will continue. Go make some noise and let Mr. O'Neal know the true story is being distributed throughout the state.
The sun may have been shining on ALEC members in San Diego, but it's still cloudy here in Kansas with more fiscal revenue shortfall storms and tornados on the horizon during the remainder of 2015 and well into 2016.
Larry Weigel, Editor & Publisher
Kansas Underground News