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Governor: State leading 'American renaissance'

Gov. Sam Brownback gave his State of the State Address on Wednesday night, saying Kansas' economic growth the past two-plus years can be a beacon for the rest of the country.


The governor said the current growth was largely the result of getting people working again, streamlining regulations and lowering income taxes. Sen. Jeff Longbine credited the governor for offering policies many lawmakers could tolerate.

Rep. Don Hill said the speech followed the longstanding tradition -- long on style, short on substance.

Rep. Peggy Mast was pleased with the overall tone of the speech.

Not surprisingly, Democrats had issues with the speech. House Minority Leader Paul Davis, Brownback's opponent in the upcoming gubernatorial election this November, said Brownback's "experiment" on tax policy has turned out poorly.

Lyon County Democrat party chair Susan Fowler agreed and also criticized the governor's comments on education funding, especially Brownback's goal of funding all-day kindergarten.

The governor's comment saying lawmakers, not the court system, had the authority to set K-12 funding levels drew one of the longest cheers. Mast was pleased with that statement.

Longbine took a wait-and-see approach, while Hill warned it would not be wise to dismiss the courts' input.

Budget details will be released Thursday and Friday.

Gov. Brownback also touched base on possibly expanding Rural Opportunity Zones, which currently include Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Morris and Wabaunsee counties, and on his call for a long-term water management plan.

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