Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Business: December 2009


healthcare.gifSALINA, Kan. - Some programs that the government has previously said would be in deficit in the near future may actually have a surplus instead, once you account for the improved health and productivity of the population if real health care reform is implemented.

As the national discussion of health care focuses on costs, a new study from North Carolina State University shows that it might be more accurate to think of health care spending as an investment that can spur economic growth. The study also shows that government projections of health care costs and financing may be unduly pessimistic.

"Health care spending should be viewed as an investment in future capital, contributing to a productive workforce, rather than merely as an expenditure," says Dr. Al Headen, associate professor of economics at NC State and a co-author of a paper appearing in the Dec. 15 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

People are living longer and are retaining their ability to be productive members of society - they are able to work, pay taxes, consume goods and go on vacation.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - The Democratic party is the voice for working people, farmers, and small business. The Republican party is the voice of Big Business. Never was this contrast between the parties more clear than on February 12, 2007 in the Kansas House of Representatives.

That's the day State Rep. Mark Treaster (D-Pretty Prairie) tried to tone down a corporate welfare bill sponsored by Republicans. The Republicans planned to abolish the "Franchise Tax" on all corporations in Kansas, regardless of size. The "Franchise Tax" is the annual fee that corporations pay to do business in Kansas. At that time, the cap on the franchise tax was $20,000 per corporation, and the franchise tax raised $44 million for the State of Kansas each year.

Democrat Rep. Mark Treaster offered an amendment to eliminate the state's franchise tax on all businesses licensed in Kansas with a taxable equity of a half a million dollars or less. The bill not only would have provided a tax break to small businesses, but also included a provision rewarding those small businesses who provide health insurance to employees. (The exemption could climb to 3 million if the company provided health insurance for workers.)

Who could be against such a win/win bill for both small businesses and the everyday Kansans who work for them? The Kansas Republican legislative delegation, that's who. The Treaster amendment was defeated 73-48. The vote was strictly along party lines.

Why did the Republicans object to the Treaster amendment?

SALINA, Kan. - As Congress debates financial regulatory reform and the Obama Administration advocates for greater consumer financial protection, a new study finds a need for Congressional action on fringe banking practices used heavily by financially vulnerable families.

About 60 million Americans live without a bank account and resort to using pawn shops, payday loan storefronts and other non-bank operations to handle their finances, according to a report issued a few days ago by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Payday lending is a practice that has become part of the growing web of fringe banking largely concentrated in low-income and disproportionately minority communities. It allows lenders to provide cash advances on post-dated checks and has increasingly become a way for financially-strapped families and individuals to obtain money in the short-run.

Nearly all of these loans come with exorbitantly high interest rates and fees, and these monetary costs to families who become trapped by them has been well documented.

Aren't these non-banking systems providing a valuable service to Kansans? Who pays the most - and who profits the most - in Kansas? Why should we care?

money-200px-wide.jpgHAYS, Kan. - National economic indicators may signal the end of the recession, but here in the Midwest and specifically in Kansas, the job market is teetering. Companies are still laying off workers. New data shows communities reliant on the farm economy may be the last to rebound.

The November Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region, a leading economic indicator from a survey of supply managers in a nine-state area, slumped to its lowest level since May of this year. The index stood at 47.5, which was down from October's 51.8 and September's much healthier 56.2. An index of 50.0 is considered growth neutral.

The leading economic indicator for Kansas sank from October's reading. The November Business Conditions Index, based on a survey of Kansas supply managers, stood at 42.1, down from October's 50.0.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Business: November 2009. The next archive is Business: January 2010.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Business: December 2009 section.

The previous archive is Business: November 2009. The next archive is Business: January 2010.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

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