Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: State: May 2010
2010 Candidate for Attorney General
Sen. Derek Schmidt (R)GREAT BEND, Kan. - In 2002, Republican Governor Graves faced a $300 million budget shortfall. And a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans like Senator Derek Schmidt passed a $252 million dollar tax increase to prevent massive cuts to education, social services, highways and law enforcement.
Back then, Schmidt was unashamedly affiliated with the moderate Republican party. Kansas actually has three de facto parties: Democrats, moderate Republicans, and conservative Republicans. And Schmidt's entire career, up until this year, seemed to be a homage to his former boss and mentor, Nancy Kassebaum.
The tax increases Schmidt helped pass on May 16, 2002 included a sales tax increase, an inheritance tax increase, a cigarette tax, and an increased franchise tax for businesses, among other things.
COLBY, Kan. - A few days ago, Brad asked a question in his comment on Marty Keenan's post, addressing taxes and education. "So while I like the idea of people pressing their legislatures for more funding, how can one be sure the tax increase will be targeted to the programs we want?"
Well, Brad, in a perfect world you wouldn't need to worry about it, would you? However, we don't live in a perfect world. - too many of us imperfect human beings -
When the majority of us 'adults' have progressed beyond our infantile stage, when we were aware of only our immediate needs - dry diapers - warm milk - cozy covers - etc. - and learn that we can't always be the center of attention and that by screaming louder, we can't get what we want - then maybe we can expect society to understand equity and fair treatment for everyone.
UPDATED - See Below.
TOPEKA, Kan. - Buried in the 2011 Budget passed by the Kansas Legislature last week is a cut of 50% to the public radio and television stations in Kansas.
The Kansas House included a $903,161 cut in the annual budget allocation for public radio and television. The 50% cut affects stations statewide but has particular impact on stations in the western portion of the state, where the state funding represents a larger portion of the budget.
High Plains Public Radio (HPPR) has told its listeners that the station will see a cut of more than $120,000. Being that we are the doorstep of the new fiscal year, HPPR had already budgeted to receive the same allocation as they had in 2010.
For High Plains and the other public stations these cuts are drastic, without precedent, and threaten each public broadcasting station's ability to bring high-quality, independent, informative programs the state.
LA CYGNE, Kan. - Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs of Junction City, and Senator Chris Steineger from Kansas City, KS sat side by side in La Cygne last weekend to share views on what the secretary of state office includes, and what it does not include. Both will face-off in the primary on the Democratic ticket, while three Republicans also are vying for the same position.
Steineger has served in the state senate for 14 years, eight of which were spent on the election committee. As a small real estate business owner, Steineger believes he is uniquely qualified to be secretary of state because of his many years in the senate dealing with election laws, his ability to balance a budget from his personal business, dealing with banks and marketing, and his customer service skills.
Steineger said Kansas elections have been fairly run, however, he also stated that Republican Candidate Kris Kobach's claim that illegal immigrants voting is a problem "is totally patently false. Ron Thornburgh (former secretary of state) looked into that and denied it was a problem."
TOPEKA, Kan. - Governor Mark Parkinson's recent 'call for civility' urges state lawmakers of both parties to come together to serve the common good:
Two weeks ago, in my letter to legislators welcoming them back for the veto session, I wrote about Kansas' ability to rise above the partisan bickering seen in Washington and come together to solve real problems.
Today, the 88th day of a 90 day Session, I am disappointed to see that civility slipping away. The political games, divisive debates and entrenched gridlock of Washington have found their way to Topeka. And fanning the flames of partisanship is the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
This weekend, the president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce was quoted as saying that by passing a one-cent sales tax to prevent further cuts to schools, Medicaid and safety-net services, the legislature has "catered to the needs of those at the government trough."
It is heartbreaking to think that somebody would equate the disabled, the elderly, school children, veterans, law enforcement and the poor to pigs at a trough...
GREAT BEND, Kan. - The Kansas House of Representatives today voted 79-44 to require preparation of a State Land and Property Inventory by Aug, 30, compilation of market values for each item by Nov. 30, and liquidation proposals by Jauary 31. The budget shortfall is that bad.
I come from an auctioneer family. So I hope you can forgive me a little literary license as I envision the highlights of the "State of Kansas Auction: Sell our Past for Our Childrens' Future," auction, to be held next Winter.
One can almost hear the auctioneer, kicking off the auction: "Our first item on the sale bill is the famous John Brown Mural located at the Kansas Statehouse. This priceless John Steuart Curry Mural can be safely removed from the wall and preserved for safekeeping and private display. Who would start the bidding at Ten Million Dollars?"
EMPORIA, Kan. - Rory Pugh grew up in Southern Kansas, a part of the state none for it's red dirt and football. Not necessarily the part of the state you would think about when talking about state championship caliber debate and forensics programs. Rory was lucky though, Rory went to Chaparral High School where state championship caliber debate and forensics programs weren't only prevalent, but expected by those who walked and talked within the walls.
Now at the young age of 21 he is making his run for the state legislature. He will run in the state's 116th district against an entrenched incumbent and a republican should he make his way out of the primary.
Pugh was a two time state placer in debate in a program that placed at State from 2002-2007 and also three times placed in the top five at forensics state in that period. He spoke in a recent interview with me about how he thought debate and forensics really prepared him for a future in politics.
"When in high school, I was a member our debate team," said Pugh. "There I learned how to effectively research a subject and build comprehensive arguments that were able to convey my side to those listening."
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