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Taxes, or Votes

WICHITA, Kan. - To tax or not to tax, that seems to be the pre-eminent worry in elected official's minds. Whether it's best to cover the costs of necessary government expenses or to tell some citizens - usually the least of our brethren, the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the children - that they will have to depend on the goodness of others or go on the streets. Is that the question? Or are the representatives and senators in Topeka and across the nation more worried about losing votes from their constituents should they raise taxes to cover essential costs?

There are two easy ways to raise taxes. They could accept Governor Parkinson's proposal to instigate a temporary (three-year duration) one percent sales tax. The more progressive, alternative method would be to raise taxes on the wealthiest in Kansas, the corporate farms and persons making more that $250,000 per year. Unfortunately, the latter proposal will have little success because some self-centered citizen or corporate lobbyist will scream "socialist."

TOPEKA, Kan. - From KNEA News...

The state-wide coalition Kansans for Quality Communities (KQC) held a press conference in the capitol today at which they called upon legislators to pass a tax increase to support vital state services and keep Kansas communities strong.

Speaking at the press conference were KNEA lobbyist Mark Desetti, Kansas Organization of State Employees Executive Director Jane Carter, Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas Executive Director Shannon Jones, InterHab Assistant Executive Director Matt Fletcher, and Kansas Families for Education Executive Director Kathy Cook.

"The people of Kansas have elected their legislators to put the needs of all Kansans ahead of political expediency or ideology. Today more than ever, we are in need of a legislature that can set aside partisanship and demonstrate a spirit of collaboration and cooperation in the quest to preserve and ultimately strengthen our state and our communities," said Desetti.

I Am a Liberal

WICHITA, Kan. - "I am a liberal, a plain, unadorned, old-fashioned liberal...I believe in America; I believe in democracy..." So said Senator George McGovern said in a speech to the Americans for Democratic Action a couple of decades ago. I agree with him. Therefore I question why our legislators in Kansas and across the nation waste the taxpayers' money in vengeance and other wasteful schemes.

The Kansas legislators wage a personal attack against women by gutting a utilities bill and placing the text of an extremist anti-choice bill inside. Governor Parkinson vetoes it and now the bonehead, vitriolic anti-choicers are wasting our time and money by attempting to pass it over his veto.

Earlier, they spent time debating the merits of Flint Hills grasses to anoint "The Kansas Grass."

GREAT BEND, Kan. - The state of Kansas has slashed about $1 billion from it's budget during the past two years. Still, a revenue shortfall of $450 million to $510 million looms for Fiscal year 2011, which starts July 1.

The State Senate is willing to bite the bullet and raise taxes to prevent cutting more state services. But the House of Representatives isn't biting, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) is the ringleader of the effort for no new taxes. Politically, it's a good bet for Yoder, a candidate for U.S. Congress, to reject new taxes. But all the House members supporting Yoder's idea are running for a different office - re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives. And Yoder's gamble is a high risk gamble for each of them.

PhotobucketTOPEKA, Kan. - This week both the Senate Ways and Means and House Appropriations Committees are meeting to develop a budget.

Senate Ways and Means began meeting Monday and completed work on their budget Wednesday afternoon. The committee recommended a budget that would require an estimated $500 million in additional revenue but they could not reach agreement on a tax package to pay for it. Chairman Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, abruptly ended the meeting, announcing, "We are adjourned until the 28th," - the date when the entire legislature returns to Topeka for the veto session.

On the House side, Representative Kevin Yoder continues to say that the legislature must CUT, CUT, CUT. As I have reported earlier, Yoder represents a brand of politician whose intention is to destroy government and leave everything to the market to fix. Such ideology is not what the people of Kansans need. We need leaders who understand government serves a positive purpose.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Curt and Christie Brungardt, parents of the late Jana Mackey, applaud Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson for signing a new domestic violence law today in Topeka. Mackey was a 25-year-old law student who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Lawrence in 2008. "We are very pleased with the actions of our legislature and Governor in addressing this serious issue," said Christie Brungardt. "While we recognize that this new legislation alone will not stop domestic violence, we do believe that it is an important step in the right direction."

Originally recommended by the Governor's Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, this bill is recognized as the most comprehensive domestic violence legislation ever passed in Kansas. This law will assist the criminal justice system in documenting crimes associated with domestic violence and track repeated offenders. The legislation also requires the courts to order assessment of the offender and recommend intervention treatment programs.

HAYS, Kan. - The State of Kansas should plan on $130 million less than we had previously thought, says the Consensus Estimating Group in a memo sent yesterday to Governor Mark Parkinson and the Legislative Budget Committee.

The Consensus Estimating Group says that for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the state should now plan on $46 million less than it had been planning on. Next year's budget will have to incorporate that $46 million cut and then cut another $84 million.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Lisa Johnston has spent the past 17 years working in higher education teaching and supporting students. This should come as a breath of fresh air when viewing the current education disparities in Kansas and the nation.

For the past seven years, Johnston has worked as Assistant Dean for Student Academic Services at Baker University where she both teaches courses and oversees a variety of support services for students.

Prior to holding this position Johnston served in a variety of administrative, teaching, and academic support roles at several different universities. She has earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and the University of Kansas and will complete her Ph.D. in Foundations of Education from the University of Kansas in May of 2010.

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 State: March 2010. The next archive is State: May 2010.

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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 State: April 2010 section.

The previous archive is State: March 2010. The next archive is State: May 2010.

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

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