Balancing rhetoric with reality


National News

August 2, 2018 - 11:17 AM

Truth, it’s said, is the first casualty of war. That helps explain why combat metaphors so often get applied to political campaigns.
The battlefield of the Kansas governor’s race bears out the maxim. Even when candidates get their facts right — a surprisingly difficult task for the field — their words tend to twist a broader truth.
So we’ve run through some of the lines the governor hopefuls commonly trot out and tested where they get it right, and how they often tell voters something that just isn’t so.

What would be the impact of charging out-of-state tuition to immigrants who are in the country illegally but grew up in Kansas?
Only 670 students who are in the country illegally pay in-state tuition in Kansas. Hiking their rates — doubling or tripling their tuition — might improve the finances of state colleges and universities by a marginal amount.
But that price increase could have the unintended effect of driving many of those students out of school. After all, the out-of-state rate is sometimes double or triple the cost and those students are ineligible for federal student aid.
So if they left, that could drive up tuition for the people left behind.
If the vast majority of those immigrant students found a way to pay for far steeper tuition — a scenario implied with some campaign talk — it might lower the tuition for others.
But Kansas universities are eager to keep all the students they can. Even students attending public colleges and universities at discounted in-state rates generate badly needed tuition. Almost any drop in enrollment spreads campus costs among a smaller student body.
Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the leading candidates in the Republican primary, want to end in-state tuition for immigrant students in the country illegally.
A fiscal note signed by Colyer’s chief budget officer, Larry Campbell, says that charging those students the out-of-state rate would raise about $2.3 million in tuition. (In a television ad, Kobach inflates that figure to $4 million.)
That $2.3 million assumes all those students would stay enrolled.
“Some would say, well, they just won’t go, as opposed to paying the higher rate,” said Blake Flanders, president of the Kansas Board of Regents.

    How pro-gun or anti-gun are the leading Democratic candidates for governor?
Former state agriculture secretary and state lawmaker Josh Svaty and state Sen. Laura Kelly both have a long history of voting for stronger gun rights in the Kansas Legislature. Their records, and campaign positions, have been more mixed recently.
But a statement about Svaty and Kelly by Carl Brewer, another Democrat in the race, is, at best, dated.
A Brewer a campaign ad says both have “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association. That was true once, but not now. Today, they each have an “F.” The NRA itself doesn’t consider those past ratings relevant, but they remain visible on Vote Smart, a non-partisan organization that tracks votes and endorsements.
Svaty got an “A” rating in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Kelly got an “A” in 2008.
Svaty has attacked Kelly’s sponsorship of the 2015 constitutional carry law, under which Kansans who want to pack a hidden weapon no longer need a concealed carry permit.
“We should have stopped this when we had the chance (in) 2015,” Svaty said, “and we needed Democrats that knew that then and knew enough to stand up say no.”
Svaty was not in the Legislature in 2015.
Kelly has expressed regret over the law. “It became very clear that we went too far,” she said at a debate in Wichita.
She has more recently voted to curtail gun rights, including a vote this year against a bill that would have allowed 18-to-20-year-olds to conceal and carry a weapon without a permit.
When Svaty was in the Legislature, he cast the same votes as Kelly to expand gun rights, including one law that restricted how much local governments could regulate firearms.

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