An Inconsistent Message

Kansas Viewpoint

Governor asks for disaster declaration for 21 counties; Republican Party advocates eliminating funds for disaster programs

Published on: April 27, 2011
Today, Gov. Sam Brownback declared a disaster emergency in 21 Kansas counties that have been hard hit by drought through the fall and winter of 2010-2011. Almost all of them stand to lose most of the winter wheat crop and have insufficient moisture to plant a fall crop.

At the same time, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, fired up on budget deficits and empowered by Rep. Ron Ryan's "brave" plan for budget reduction, suggest that federal funds for agriculture should be eliminated. Brownback, last time I looked, was a Republican conservative, bordering on Tea Party budget hawk and a big supporter or Ryan cuts.

Is he really going to the federal trough asking for money? Is he departing from his party roots or simply recognizing that disaster is disaster, especially when it hits home?

Mind you, I am absolutely NOT, repeat NOT, suggesting that western Kansas farmers hit by weather disaster should not get help. I absolutely believe they should get help.

I am also NOT suggesting the Governor was wrong to declare a disaster emergency for wildfires in Stanton County on March 30 or Ellsworth and Saline Counties on April 11.

Or that he was wrong in declaring a winter storm disaster in 53 counties back on Feb. 1.

But I am pointing out that helping them is not consistent with the governor's stated beliefs and not consistent with what his party says we need to do in Washington, which would eliminate the budget that would pay for all of the relief that he is asking for in these disaster declarations.

We ought to think about that.