Kansas has a fairly well-deserved reputation as a significant target for spring storms and tornadoes. And it's likely many Kansans would blame twisters for the $1.2 billion U.S. taxpayers have sent to the state since 2004 for a variety of disaster expenses.
It turns out, though, that tornadoes -- and floods and severe storms -- aren't the problem in Kansas.
It's Old Man Winter.
The governor's 2014 budget lists a series of natural disasters that have hit the state since 2006, with cost figures for each. The April 2012 tornado in Wichita, for example, cost federal taxpayers $7.4 million for disaster aid.
But a late 2006 winter storm in western Kansas (Rep. Tim Huelskamp's district) cost the feds a whopping $239 million, according to the budget. An ice storm a year later in Kansas cost another $226.8 million, just in federal spending alone.
For those adding at home, just two winter storms cost U.S. taxpayers $466 million dollars, just for aid to Kansas. Local and state taxpayers kicked in another $152 million for those storms.
By contrast, the Greensburg tornado and related storms cost the feds $86.1 million.
The figures also reinforce the reality that Kansas depends on Washington for disaster relief. Since 2006, taxpayers have paid $997 million for Kansas disaster aid. Of that, Washington paid $727 milliion, or about 73 percent of the cost.
All four Kansas House members voted against all of the aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy.