Personal income up in Kansas, but …

As reported in the Lawrence Journal-World on September 27, 2006, personal income in Kansas grew at the rate of 1.4 percent for the second quarter of 2006. That sounds pretty good, and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius uses facts like this in her campaign ads.

But our growth can be understood only when placed in context. Here’s what the Journal-World said:

Kansans are putting more money in their pockets, but the extra income isn’t keeping up with increases for residents in other states.

Personal income rose by 1.4 percent in Kansas during the second quarter, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate of growth was surpassed by all but nine other states.

(As has been mentioned, most of the growth in jobs in Kansas has been in government.)

The governor must be hoping that voters get their information only from her campaign ads, and that they don’t take a moment to read an entire news story. Even if they do read a newspaper, it might not help much. I can’t find mention of this news in our state’s largest newspaper, The Wichita Eagle.

Would Republican challenger Jim Barnett do much better leading Kansas? Although he earned a legislative vote rating of 100% from the Kansas Taxpayers Network this year, his voting in 2006 was very different from his past behavior. Before this year, Sen. Barnett had a lifetime ranking of only 28%. I would imagine that had Kathleen Sebelius been in the senate these same years, her rating would be similar. You do the math.

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