TOPEKA – Yesterday, the Kansas Department of Labor announced that Kansas’ unemployment rate has increased for the first time since 2009. After eight months of Republican-led debate on abortion, marriage and strip clubs, it is not hard to understand how this occurred.

“Gov. Brownback and the Republican Legislature have complete control over every facet of state government,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis (D-Lawrence). “This is what happens when our governor and Republican Legislature make divisive social issues their top priority.”

“I believe that former Gov. Parkinson and the previous Legislature put Kansas on the right track towards lowering unemployment and growing our economy, but that focus on job creation has vanished over the last eight months,” said Davis.  “During the beginning of 2011 Kansans were going back to work, but according to Brownback’s own Department of Labor economist, Tyler Tenbrink, ‘there has been no noticeable improvement in the Kansas labor market since April’.”     

“Last January, Sam Brownback told the people of Kansas that his first priority as governor was to create more jobs.  We now know his rhetoric doesn’t match his record,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, (D-Topeka).  “These unemployment numbers show that job creation isn’t even close to being his first priority.  Instead, he spent his first session laying off teachers, state employees, and abolishing 4,600 art-supported jobs, all while promoting an extreme social agenda that does nothing to improve our state’s economy.”

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