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Archive for Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chamber mulls state issues over breakfast

Lawmakers debate ways to help schools

March 7, 2010

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With another $467 million revenue shortfall looming, legislators at Saturday’s Eggs and Issues event said they don’t expect the state’s budget woes to improve anytime soon.

The lawmakers, who had breakfast with Lawrence Chamber of Commerce members at Pachamama’s, 800 N.H., also took the time to address less pressing matters, such as the naming of little bluestem as the official state grass.

The legislators — state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City; state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence; House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence; and state Rep. Tony Brown, D-Baldwin City — talked the day after Senate Republican leaders said they will push for a $300 million tax increase and Gov. Mark Parkinson announced $86 million in cuts to state road projects.

“The numbers are indicating that the unemployment rate is going back up and we are nowhere near a recovery from this recession. And the bad news is going to continue for the next few months,” Davis said.

Among the biggest budget concerns are cuts to school districts. Francisco said she would support an increase in property taxes to help support schools. Davis said proposals that could help save some school districts would also exacerbate inequities in how schools are funded.

Holland, who is running for governor, said it’s not just administrators and teachers worried about slashes to school financing, but parents and students.

“I am seeing very much a heightened sense of awareness from my constituents in general about the need for revenue. I do believe there will be a combination of revenue enhancements and cuts that will get us through,” Holland said.

As for other means of helping the state’s budget, the group talked about the need to reduce tax exemptions, garner tax from Internet sales and consolidate the number of county judges in rural areas, who carry far lighter caseloads than those in urban areas.

Davis said Friday’s news that Republican leaders in the Senate support a tax increase was encouraging. But he said it would be difficult in the House to find a consensus on what combination of tax increases — whether it be cigarette, sales, income or liquor — will get enough votes to pass.

“I think if people continue to hear from their school districts, their social service providers, their public safety officials that they can’t sustain any more budget cuts, which is certainly what I am hearing, I think the legislature will come around to the fact that we need new revenue sources,” Davis said.

Comments

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Marci, I need another property tax increase on top of the almost doubling of that tax in just a few short years. Could you be hiding your own inadequacy by assigning scapegoat status to property owners? Not all property owners are wealthy!

What is the advantage of having a Democratic state delegation if they are going to go along with the majority and support a regressive tax? Do they not even have the gumption to push the notion of increased income taxes on the rich, a less regressive form of taxation? Could it be that even our Democratic legislators are captive to the moneyed interests?

You know, if we elected Republicans, they could at least negotiate with the power structure on our behalf. Our Democratic delegation has no standing with those powers and apparently no courage to challenge them.

cdcass 4 years, 9 months ago

George, I believe that Marci was likely suggesting ideas - how you can blame one person or even nine Democrats, which is the whole number of Democratic state Senators, by wishing for the election of more Republicans is beyond mind numbing. Have you forgotten that this state has overwhelmingly elected Republicans in the past? They will not negotiate with the power structure when they are the one's being financed by the power structure. The courage you speak of has been testing and tried until Democrats simply appear to be speaking to a brick wall - Republicans have control in the state house and senate - so, when you say, "go along with the majority" your words are empty. The majority are the responsible party for much of the mess. Try a change in majority if you want the state budget balanced in favor of what is right for the people. Democratic members can only suggest that which the one's in control are likely to support. If the Republicans had their way, more schools would be closed, and medicaid support for our seniors would be a thing of the past. The Governor mentioned in his speech that going after the wealthy is precisely what should be done - when you are only nine facing 31 votes against that idea - throwing out other suggestions is all that is left to the Democrats. They know the Republicans will never support that - why? Because the Republicans are the one's with the money interests to protect. That should be obvious.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

cdcass (anonymous) says…

I don't want Republicans and did not really call for them. I want my represenatives to do their jobs. My point was that If they are not going to do their jobs ten it makes no difference for us what party we have - both are then useless.

There are options, call their bluff and make them go on record - that can be used against them in the next election when Grandma has lost her benefits or our kids are in classes of 35 students.

LiberalDude 4 years, 9 months ago

If you want to blame someone for our broken government, a good place to start would be to blame the Chamber of Commerce. They spend more money on lobbyists than any other organization or corporation. They support legislation that is good for business profits but bad for the average person.

Marci Francisco 4 years, 9 months ago

I want to thank everyone who attended "Eggs and Issues" as well as our local chamber of commerce and the sponsors; it's a good opportunity for discussion. I am sorry that George wasn't there to hear the suggestion I made for establishing additional brackets for our state income tax. I think that my comment in the paper was in response to a question as to whether we would support an increase in the cap for the local option budget; I said that it if we were going to increase property taxes it would be better to do it by restoring part of the statewide mill levy that was cut from 35 mills to 20 mills. It is important to keep school funding as equal across the state as we can. FYI, I think the reporter's comment on tax examinations referred to our discussion of tax exemptions.

thistownisbeginningtosuck 4 years, 9 months ago

So do they pay for their own meal or is it on us since, you know, they are working hard.

vermont 4 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence Chamber's a joke. They need to clean house!

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

marci (anonymous) says…

Thank you Marci. I was responding to the LJW article. I would love to attend those breakfast meetings but I am not a member of the Chamber and I did not know about the meeting. Good for you. It might have helped if you had responded to my e-mail suggesting bracket increases. Your lack of response coupled with the LJW article triggered my comment. I am not sure about how to get information on what you are doing. Your newsletter did not address such a tax increase. I am also sorry the LJW did not report more completely on your comments. I look forward to amendments to the tax bills making it to the floor so that we can get a recorded vote on increasing income taxes on the high end.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

marci (anonymous) says…

I also think that increasing the LOB may be counterproductive, as it will take the pressure off the legislature to properly fund schools. I am also bothered by the funding formula that supports small schools in the west while undercutting our efforts to keep them open here. I also do not like sales taxes as they hit too hard at the less affluent. I guess I did not leave you a lot of room other than to prevail on the legislature to increase income taxes or reverse the many tax exemptions granted to businesses in the last few years. Is there something we can do to help you in your efforts?

headdoctor 4 years, 9 months ago

cdcass (anonymous) says… George, I believe that Marci was likely suggesting ideas - how you can blame one person or even nine Democrats, which is the whole number of Democratic state Senators, by wishing for the election of more Republicans is beyond mind numbing.


I wouldn't worry about George's posts much. He is pretty clueless as to how things work.

headdoctor 4 years, 9 months ago

paulette2 (anonymous) says… Take the example of Koch Industries. This the largest privately held conglomerate on the planet, employing approximately 70,000 people worldwide with annual revenues exceeding $100 billion. Their financials are kept strictly confidential and they do not disclose information about their management structure and activities.


What part of privately held don't you get. It isn't any of your business to know what Koch Industries does anymore than it is your business to know what goes on in a mom and pop store that is privately owned.

BigPrune 4 years, 9 months ago

A group of Democrat lawmakers and the Lawrence "we go against everything the state Chamber of Commerce supports" Chamber of Commerce? It's like an oxymoron. I couldn't think of a more anti-business group. I wonder when our local chamber will endorse tax increases?

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

headdoctor (anonymous) says…

You are hopeless. You read what you want and not what is written. I have every right to demand that my elected officials protect my interests - in this case my schools. The fact that there are not enough legislators to rebuff the likes of AFP is not my fault. Our Democratic contingent needs to ruffle some feathers about school funding.

I guess you are just one of those people who finds fault with much but does nothing more than gripe about it while demeaning those who at least participate in the fray. Since you are so knowledgeable, have you every heard of the "plum book"?

headdoctor 4 years, 9 months ago

Moderate (George Lippencott) says… headdoctor (anonymous) says… You are hopeless. You read what you want and not what is written. I have every right to demand that my elected officials protect my interests - in this case my schools. The fact that there are not enough legislators to rebuff the likes of AFP is not my fault. Our Democratic contingent needs to ruffle some feathers about school funding. I guess you are just one of those people who finds fault with much but does nothing more than gripe about it while demeaning those who at least participate in the fray. Since you are so knowledgeable, have you every heard of the "plum book"?


As usual George you miss the point. And as usual you try to point a finger at others when it is you who more often than not display the bad behavior. You have as much right to post here as anyone else. Just don't be surprised if less and less people want to discuss with you. Ever wonder why people get on your case here? Ever wonder why your blogs for the most part don't have many posts on them anymore? Oh, and spamming other threads with links to your blogs is still rude. If people want to see or post on your stuff they are perfectly capable of finding it themselves. BIG HINT George. It is your debate tactics and lack of understanding is what is irritating people. I broke my own rule the other day and posted on your drivel which by the way was another case of you just don't get it. I have no intention of doing any more than that because I will not debate back and forth with you on any subject.

Yes I know what the plum book is. I can only assume you were making some lame attempt at an insult by asking. Unless you are trying to make a statement about your own greatness and well trained back ground by relating to the book.

Oh, and by the way. I read just fine. I have your whole post history to read and remind me why I have no desire to interact with you on a serious debate.

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