This editorial first appeared in The Kansas City Star.
Missouri, have you met Kansas?
We ask because you seem intent on repeating your neighbor's mistakes, even after their folly has been fully documented.
Jefferson City continues to envy the steep tax cuts that led Topeka to near ruin under former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
On Thursday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson had lunch with Rex Sinquefield, the major donor who's still pushing to eliminate the state's income tax, and (non) economist Arthur Laffer, the architect of Brownback's tax debacle.
And Parson's potential GOP rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, meanwhile is signaling that he'd like to repeat former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's wasteful and willfully off-point preoccupation with voter fraud.
The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill that would give Ashcroft the power to subpoena records related to voting violations. He would still have to refer cases to local prosecutors.
Ashcroft has been investigating complaints of such violations already, but he has complained that the lack of subpoena power means he can't always do so thoroughly.
Spoiler alert: Armed with that power, all he would find, like all who've gone before him, is that in-person voter fraud exists mostly in the minds of Republicans with political ambitions.
In the 3 ½ years that Kobach had the power to prosecute voter fraud cases himself, a spokesman for that office said, he oversaw somewhere between 10 and 15 such cases, not one involving an undocumented immigrant.
Kobach's successor as Kansas secretary of state, Scott Schwab, has refocused the office on its traditional responsibilities, which are registering businesses and administering elections.
Schwab also supports legislation that would divest his office of the power to prosecute voter fraud.
County clerks in Missouri oppose the proposed legislation. The bill will be put to one more vote in the House, and if it passes, the proposal would be sent on to the Senate. The clerks say subpoena power is unnecessary since election records are already available from local prosecutors or through the Sunshine Law.
But they're missing the point, aren't they?
The only reason to start down this road is to please conservative voters in some future contest — against Gov. Mike Parson, maybe. And he seems to have responded in kind.