Kansas Has Too Much Local Government


Following is a press release from the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy regarding the high number of government employees in Kansas. This problem has been known for some time. In 2005, Alan Cobb of Americans For Prosperity noted that in the past five years “Kansas has lost 16,700 private sector jobs while the government sector actually added 15,000 jobs.”

Kansas Has Too Much Local Government
State Ranks 49th for Residents-Per-Government Efficiency

(Wichita) — Newly elected Speaker of the House Mike O’Neal is calling for consolidation of local government services in Kansas, based on a lack of efficiency and high costs to taxpayers. The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy agrees with his suggestion.

While Kansas’ population has increased at 17.4% since the 1980 census, local government employment has increased by 65%. According to Flint Hills Center President Dave Trabert, “If local government employment had grown proportionally to population, taxpayers would be spending $2.2 billion less per year on pay and benefits.” The Bureau of Economic Analysis says Kansas had 184,280 local government employees in 2007, compared to 111,660 employees in 1980. If local government employment growth had matched the population growth of 17.4%, we would have had 131,138 employees in 2007, or 53,142 fewer employees.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Kansas has 2,084 general-purpose governments (cities, townships and counties) serving 2,775,997 residents. That’s an average of 1,332 residents per government, compared to a national average of 7,725. That ranks Kansas 49th in the nation (including the District of Columbia). Only North Dakota and South Dakota rank lower than Kansas.

Speaker O’Neal is right on target. As the economy continues to suffer a downturn and state funding remains tight, now is the time to enact reforms that increase efficiency, decrease costs and reduce the burden on taxpayers.


5 responses to “Kansas Has Too Much Local Government”

  1. Legend

    I agree with local government consolidation. I have always been a supporter of consolidation between Wichita and Sedgwick County. Here is my problem with Speaker O’Neal. While I agree with what he said, he will have to back it up.

    Below is a link from the Topeka Capital-Journal from Sunday. The article gives a little history on the creation of the Kansas Health Policy Authority. It was formed only four years ago and has now become one of the biggest state agencies. The creation of this agency was mainly the idea of Legislative Republicans.

    At the time, the Governor was opposed to the idea, but the GOP went ahead and formed the agency anway. Granted now the GOP have become critics of the agency, but my question is why create another bloated bureaucracy if you are opposed to more government? It is very hypocritical for most Legislative Republicans to say they support less government. The Democrats are no better either.


  2. Totally agree! Thanks.

  3. Cybex

    Gov Sebelius was not opposed to the KHPA because it would create another bureaucracy but because it took away her opportunity for socialized health care. Sebelius has increased the size of government including her own staff in the governor’s office and all the high salaries that head of agencies are making. Just compare the salary of the Sect. of Administration with the salary of the Insurance Commissioner. Wichita and Sedgwick County government should consolidate but where are going to put all of these incompetent elected officials that taht will be “downsized”?

  4. Joe Williams

    Talk about government jobs. I read somewhere recently that the city of Topeka, that 69% of the residences living there worked for the Government.

    That is insane. More than 2/3rds of your workforce is a government employee (meaning they don’t contribute to the State Revenue in the form of taxes also.)

  5. Legend

    Cybex, I challenge you to produce evidence that the Governor was against the creation of KHPA because it took away her opportunity for socialized health care. I want some proof from a reliable source.

    Bob challenged me to produce proof when I said the Governor ordered budget cuts and I came through. He still has not answered my question if he needs more evidence.

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