About 400 concerned citizens are gathered at the Maner Conference Center in Topeka for the Kansas Defending the American Dream Summit 2010. This event is produced by Americans for Prosperity-Kansas.
The day of the event coincides with the return of Kansas legislators to Topeka to work on the Kansas budget. Both the Governor and Senate leadership are in favor of large tax increases. The House of Representatives leadership has a budget that is balanced without tax increases.
“We stand for free market principles,” said AFP Kansas state director Derrick Sontag. “We’re a group of grassroots individuals who stand for limited government. This principle is under attack.”
Sontag mentioned Wall Street bailouts and cap-and-trade energy legislation as areas of concern. He asked “How many of you went to a tea party because you’re angry about the government takeover of the health care system?” The audience roared with approval.
He told the audience that many legislators and a large group of taxpayer-funded lobbyists are gathering at the statehouse getting ready to ask Kansans to bear the burden of years of state overspending. This is not acceptable, he added.
The spending advocates don’t tell taxpayers that the Kansas budget grew by 40 percent during a five-year period. We’ll remind them later today at the rally at the Capitol, he said.
Sontag said that we have fewer private sector jobs than we did ten years ago, saying that raising taxes now is not a good idea.
He disagreed with Governor Mark Parkinson’s contention that there is no waste in Kansas government, that the budget is already “cut to the bone.” Sontag said that the Parkinson has demanded that the legislature send him a budget that includes tax increases. He said the best message we can send is “November is coming,” referring to upcoming elections.
Tim Phillips, President of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, told the audience that tea party opponents said the movement would die away. But Phillips said that our opponents and President Obama should realize that the November elections will be a turning point if conservative activists do their job. “It’s up to us to keep doing the hard work of freedom.”
Phillips told the audience that Kansas was the first state chapter of Americans for Prosperity. “We wanted a grassroots organization that would stand up and fight for our economic freedom.” He said our opponents want more power, more government, more taxes, and more programs that benefit them and their friends. Those who love freedom want to be left alone, but Phillips said that unless we get involved, we won’t be left alone.
Do we make a difference, Phillips asked? He said that polls showing 58 percent of Americans wanting to repeal the health care bill is evidence that yes, we are making a difference. The battle over cap-and-trade energy legislation is another example of a victory.
Other coverage of this event from State of the State KS is at Americans For Prosperity Bring Tax Protest To Topeka.