Father SiricoFather Sirico, co founder of the Acton Institute, followed Steve Moore and Larry Reed as the third speaker in the Founding Father Lecture Series. His topic, The Soul of Liberty, is also the title of his new book. 75 people attended the March 24th event at the Marriott Hotel in Wichita. In his introduction of Father Sirico, Flint Hills Chairman, Martin Eby explained that, "the philosophy of Flint Hills reflects the philosophy of the Founding Fathers and the purpose of the Lecture Series is to keep those principles fresh in our mind".


Flint Hills believes that Kansas can learn from other states who are challenged by the same policy issues that we face. Issues such as, the effect of tax increases and decreases on the state's employment and investment levels, the cost and quality of education, and what the state can do to help provide affordable health insurance and health care.

Our first "Compare Kansas" feature looks at the surge of fiscal spending in the 1990s. How did Kansas spending increases compare to those in other states?

Kansas legislators are not alone in their search for ways to close the budget gap during the 2003 legislative session. In a Cato briefing paper Chris Edwards argues that the rapid tax revenue growth in the 1990s fueled over spending. The tables below enable Kansans to compare the 1990s spending surge in Kansas to that in other states.

In Table 1, the percentage of increase in tax revenue is compared to growth in the benchmark of inflation plus state population growth. The right-hand columns in the table show the tax windfall, or excess, that states received above the benchmark growth amount. This table ranks states by the size of the per household tax windfall state governments enjoyed at the expense of taxpayers

Looking at the spending side of state budgets, Table 2, offers another perspective on budget growth during the 1990s. Real per capita general fund spending in the 50 states increased 18.1 percent, on average, between FY90 and FY01.