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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2006

Kansas Voices

September 23, 2006

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The (Pittsburg) Morning Sun, on a gas tax buffer zone:

When the Kansas Legislature convenes in January, it will consider a gas tax buffer zone for gas stations on the state's borders.

A zone of this type is long overdue. For years, southeast Kansans have been traveling just a couple miles into Missouri where the gas tax is 7.4 cents a gallon less than on this side of the line. Kansas convenience stores have been losing this business for far too long.

The idea of a buffer zone of this type is cause for concern for some at the state level who are worried the state will lose too much revenue if the tax is lowered. But, the fact is, Kansas is already losing revenue to other states.

The Kansas Legislature must give serious consideration to this zone. It's what is best for the economy of southeast Kansas.

The Emporia Gazette, on immigration:

The United States has millions of low-wage jobs that must be filled to keep from pricing produce, restaurant meals and dozens of necessary services out of the reach of ordinary people. The pay for many of those jobs is too low and the working conditions too harsh to attract U.S. workers.

The only way to fill the jobs is to import low-wage workers from other countries.

It is not a pretty way for an economy to work, but immigrant labor is a cornerstone of U.S. prosperity. As the income gap between the rich and everyone else gets wider and many families find their real income falling, it has become even more important - for economic and political stability - to hold down the price of food and other necessities.

... The United States government lost all effective control over the flow of people across its national borders. The policy also helped support the traffic in illegal drugs. After all, crossing the border was just as easy for a drug smuggler working for a Colombian cartel as for an agricultural worker from Sonora.

... For the safety of its people, the United States must be able to control its borders. For the security of its economy, the nation must be able to allow as many workers as necessary to cross those borders legally.

That is the basic message of the immigration reform bill proposed by President Bush, and he is right.

But politics seldom appeals to reason. In this election year, many in Congress are happy to play the tough-guy role by demanding that borders be closed. ... But few are willing to speak up for the essential second part of the plan - making legal immigration easier for needed workers.

This is not rocket science, just common sense.

The United States needs immigrant workers and it needs secure borders - not one or the other.

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