TOPEKA, KS – Under the leadership of Governor Laura Kelly, the Kansas economy ranked in the bottom five states for personal income growth in 2020.
According to an analysis of economic data conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts, Kansas ranked ahead of only Wyoming and North Dakota in personal income growth in 2020. The growth rate across all 50 states was 5.9%, more than double Kansas’ 2.7%.
One reason for the lag could be the abysmal performance of Kelly and her Department of Labor throughout the pandemic. Yesterday, the non-partisan Legislative Post-Audit Committee produced a report estimating $600 million in taxpayer losses through payments of fraudulent unemployment claims in 2020. That estimate more than doubled the $290 million figure put out by Kelly the day prior. Throughout the pandemic, fraudsters have been getting through the system while actual unemployed Kansans have been forced to wait for their benefits.
Thousands of small businesses have been forced to close or file bankruptcy due to Kelly’s lockdowns in response to the pandemic. Back in the fall, while 80,000 Kansans continued to file weekly unemployment claims, Kelly dragged her feet for more than a month on applying for enhanced unemployment benefits provided by President Trump’s executive order. While Kelly played politics, 45 other states applied for and received authorization for the benefits. On top of that, at least 29 states began rolling out the extra $300 weekly payments before Kansas. When asked about why her administration hadn’t begun doing so, Kelly responded, “I honestly cannot give you a clear answer on that.”
Throughout the crisis, Kelly has blamed everyone but herself for the lagging economic recovery. She has never taken responsibility for the state’s poor performance on the economy, testing, or vaccine distribution.
Unfortunately, Kansans are the ones suffering for it.