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Archive for Sunday, June 5, 2011

State’s balanced budget could force local governments to increase taxes or cut services

June 5, 2011

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— Local officials say state legislators pulled a neat trick.

They balanced the budget in the just completed legislative session without a tax increase.

But they didn’t mention that their work could force local governments to increase taxes, cut services or a combination of both.

That’s got Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug upset.

“The elected officials who claim they are being fiscally responsible -- they are balancing their budget by merely shifting their expenditures to another level of government,” Weinaug said. “It’s not only irresponsible; it’s dishonest.”

And it has been going on for years, especially during the last three legislative sessions when state tax revenues took a historic nose dive during the Great Recession.

Previous legislative commitments to public school students, the mentally ill, roads, community correction programs and other areas have all been cut back, forcing local agencies to cut back and search for revenue.

“As the state shifts costs away from the state budget, Kansans can expect to see increases in property taxes or reduction in services,” said Melissa Wangemann, legislative services director and general counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties.

County jails across the state are holding more mentally ill people because of cuts in state facilities and funding of community mental health centers.

For example, in the Douglas County Jail in April and May, approximately 18 percent of those incarcerated were receiving medication for mental health issues, according to Douglas County Undersheriff of Corrections Kenneth Massey. For a person whom a court has deemed needs to go to Larned State Hospital for treatment, the wait can be longer than two months. “Essentially, we are on a waiting list,” Massey said. He said sometimes “the last place they need to be is incarcerated in our facility.”

For Kansas students, the bottom has fallen out of the promise of a three-year funding plan that resulted from a state Supreme Court ruling that the school finance system was unconstitutionally under-funded and inequitable.

“Much of that has now been taken back but the requirements and expectations continue to go up,” said Mark Tallman, a lobbyist with the Kansas Association of School Boards.

School operating budgets will fall $100 million this year. Base state aid per pupil is at its lowest level in a decade.

Local districts will have to increase local taxes if they are not already at the maximum amount allowed, raise fees on parents or make cuts in programs, Tallman said.

The evidence of funding cuts is readily apparent in Lawrence, where the district is closing Wakarusa Valley School and is using its contingency funds.

The district is looking at cuts of $3 million in the coming school year, compared with $4.6 million this year, and $3 million in the previous year.

Officials say when the state backs out of its commitments, that leaves local governments with limited options searching for revenue sources — mostly raising property taxes.

“If you end up in a wealthy community with a large tax base, you get a better education. That’s inherently unconstitutional and it goes against what I like to think it is in being a Kansan,” said Weinaug. And he added, “When you shift the tax burden to property and sales taxes, away from income tax, it’s regressive. The property tax puts the burden on elderly people who have more of their wealth tied up in a house and their income is fixed.”

The budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 was approved with only Republican votes. Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, signed it into law. Legislative leaders say the downstream impact is simply the reality of the times.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he is concerned about pressures to increase property taxes and cuts in school funding. But he said he believed most Kansas were resigned to the fact that the economy has been hurting. “It is part of the landscape,” he said.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said, “Government at all levels, federal state, local, school districts, are having to do with less money, and taxes aren’t always the answer to having less money.

“Finding efficiencies, reducing costs are things that they need to look at. Certainly we are challenging all levels of government to do more with less. We are not assuming that they will raise taxes, We are not forcing them to raise taxes.”

Comments

oldexbeat 3 years, 6 months ago

get the point, now ? Brownback wants dumb voters (or rather, poor uneducated non-voters) -- makes it much much easier to take over a state.

Kansas is a model now of how to reduce education and services to levels that make sure most Kansans don't get services -- thus become more and more unhappy and angry and negative -- and those with money can buy private education -- probably going to hear a lot about vouchers for schools next...you know, 'schools' that won't teach science.

Don Whiteley 3 years, 6 months ago

As much as I don't like the current Republican leadership in Kansas, this is less a problem with them than it is with the Americans who live in our state. Americans have become the world's most spoiled brats. For years, we've been receiving something for nothing and we seem to expect that to go on ad infinitum. Americans believe that we should continue to get government services by going into debt to pay for them. We believe that, somehow, government leaders should continue to provide and increase the services we receive, but never increase our taxes. What the Kansas legislature just told every local governments is that we will no longer fund certain services above a given level; now it's your choice. If you want these services; pay for them.

Other than some European countries, Americans are the only people who believe they have the right to free education, free medical care, free public transportation, and a free doll of government money each time we think we're too good to take menial jobs...oh yes, and the expectation that every road we drive will be as smooth as a baby's backside. This is an especially hard concept for Lawrence voters to accept after we approved a tax increase to pay for our library to build a parking garage and provide a drive-up window.

The fact that the legislature fully funded a road bill and are moving towards a society which pays American businesses (the most spoiled and poorly run in the world) to operate in our state while cutting back other services, is where the Kansas voters should break the legs of the state's current leadership in the next election. However, as has always happened in the past, American voters will nearly always be swayed by any politician that will tell them that they will give them something for nothing...and the voters swallow it every time.

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

I believe if you substitute "Republicans" for "Americans" you'd be about half right.

Never lose track of the fact that a decade ago we balanced the budget and the bean-counters projected that by 2011 we'd have paid off 100% of our debts and be left with surpluses as far as the eye can see. Some Americans, a/k/a, Republicans, chose to combine a spending spree with a multi-trillion dollar revenue give away. The results were predicted and are as predicted.

The model of adequate taxation on wealth and controlled spending leading to a balanced budget isn't a theory -- it's a proven fact - from our recent history. Turn off the Fox Propaganda and live up to the common sense the Founding Fathers had faith in you to have. The Koch Bros. -- and those bought and paid for by them (I'm looking at you Governor Sam) -- do not have your interests at heart, but rather their own.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Generally speaking, Presidents get too much credit and too much of the blame for things that are largely out of their control. The growth of the economy during the Clinton years, while nice, was not sustainable. The dot com bubble and subsequent burst should not be attributed to any particular administration. The events of 9-11, the housing bubble and burst, all these things could have happened during one administration or another.
The statements of distant_voice are generally true. We want things that we don't want to pay for.

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

Not sustainable? What are you smoking?

Our present predicament was a choice. It has zero to do with dot com bubbles or 9-11. Nothing, besides irresponsibility, made the gov't give away trillions of revenue while spending money like there was no tomorrow. It was a choice to not regulate derivative contracts. It was a choice to allow a housing bubble to be sustained. It was a choice to waste trillions on an elective war. I myself warned about the outrageous spending, back when the Tea Party types were still cheering W on, that we were going to get ourselves in a situation where we'd desperately need to stimulate the economy and would only be able to afford half-measures.

As this article points out, if you don't tax wealth in the form of corporate and personal income taxes, then you'll have to tax the middle class in the form of property and sales taxes. Fox won't tell you that fact of life. I just did.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Not sustainable. I stand by that. An economy that grows at 2-3 percent, fine. But once it starts growing too fast, 6%, 7%, 8% that sort of thing. It's not sustainable. It has to cool off. And just because it soared under one administration and cooled off under another doesn't mean that either administration had anything to do with it. Clinton didn't create the dot com bubble nor did his policies burst the bubble. The burst was inevitable. As was the slowdown. Playing the blame game is just that, a game.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

If administrations don't have anything to do with how the economy does, why vote for one or the other?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Administrations make some difference, just not as much as we give them credit for. And by that I mean both credit for and blame for whatever happens.

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure you do stand by your statement. Incorrect people usually do.

Average GDP growth 1993-2001 was 2%. Sure, some individual quarters at the end of the '90s were 7%. Most, by far, were 3%.

So...sustainable. Very, very sustainable. Balancing the budget didn't require anything more than 2-3% growth over the next decade and the projections of a debt free American didn't assume otherwise. So, sorry, sir but you are dead wrong.

The dot com bubble was a stock market phenomena. It had next to nothing to do with main street, generating a recession so brief and so mild that it took over 2 years for economists to even agree that there had been one. Our present predicament is inseparable from choices made after that point. Choices that were clearly wrong at the time and certainly are wrong in retrospect. You can't give away trillions of dollars of tax revenue and double the single largest gov't program, defense, and expect to have a balanced budget no matter what. Cutting low taxes even further never makes up in growth the revenue lost. There's not a credible economist who claims that - not even GOP ones.

What you call a blame game is what most adults call owning your own mistakes and rectifying them. The recipe for balancing the budget is proven and available for us anytime we're ready to implement common sense policies: you invest in your people and your infrastructure, you avoid being a global imperial power, and you collect revenues to pay your way from those who benefit most from the system.

Who are you going to trust to deal with the budget deficit? The political party that hasn't balanced a budget in 60 years or the one that did so the day before yesterday?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

My point was that certain things are destined to happen, such as the dot com bubble bursting. Whether it happens on Jan. 19, 2001 (Bill Clinton's last full day as President) or if it happens on Jan. 21, 2001 (Bush's first full day) is irrelevant. It was destined to happen. Of course, the bubble bursting happened over a period of time and cannot be traced to a single day. But with the benefit of hindsight, we now think it was inevitable. The stock market crashing after 9-11 was a certainty. What we didn't know was 9-11. The next major terrorist attack will produce a similar crash. But we don't know when. The housing bubble also could have been predicted. What we didn't know was when. Blaming one administration or giving another credit for things that happen during their time in office doesn't make sense. It's like blaming Lincoln for the Civil War. The events that led up to the actual events were beyond his control.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

The dot.com bubble and subsequent bursting was the result of out-of-control speculation on Wall Street.

It there were a 0.25% transaction tax on all trades, this would slow the mostly pointless speculative trading, and provide needed funding that could be used to cushion the busts and bear years that are inevitable in an economy based on Wall Street speculation.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

My point of course was whether we're talking dot com bubbles, housing bubbles or terror attacks which will inevitably lead to increased defense spending, we don't know under who's administration these things will happen. All we know is that they will happen. There will be another terror attack, there will be another bubble bursting, etc. Blaming one administration for the consequences or giving credit to an administration that luckily escapes simply due to timing, doesn't make sense. But to your idea about adding a transaction tax, did you watch "60 Minutes" last night. Computers making millions of transactions per second. Your proposal would curb that sort of stuff, which would be a good thing, in my opinion. However, I wonder if that would simply encourage companies to leave Wall Street for the Japanese, Chinese, European or Saudi stock markets, taking their taxable profits with them.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps.

But, ignoring evidence that certain policies are better for the economy and others worse also doesn't make sense.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Just to clarify, my first post said administrations get too much credit or too much blame. I'm not saying that the policies of each administration make no difference, just not as much as we give them credit for.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

In a speculative economy, bubbles will indeed always happen, but they don't have to be allowed to be so extreme as to bring the world economy to its knees-- especially when the ones doing the most egregious speculating profit handsomely from it and it's the poor and middle class who pay the price.

Terrorism probably is inevitable for the foreseeable future, but 9/11 didn't require a military response. The only reason there was a military response, and a concomitant massive increase in military spending, was because the neocons were planning to do so anyway, and were just waiting for a politically propitious moment to do so. Al Qaeda was happy to oblige, mostly because they wanted the US to overreact, and then get bogged down in wars it could not win. After all, it's easier to demonize the "satanic" US when we are acting satanically.

I didn't see the 60 minutes piece. But you are right that multinational (perhaps supernational is a better term) corporations have been working hard to make national governments irrelevant in having any control over what they do.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

What would your "non military" response to 9/11 have been?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

"9-11 didn't require a military response"? Perhaps, but we all know that it would. As will the next terror attack. Maybe we can adopt the policies of neutrality, like the Swiss. But that's not likely. What is likely is a military response.
And the bubbles, they will happen again. The current debt ceiling issue, will have consequences. Exactly what they are depends on how much we cut spending, how much we raise taxes, or maybe if neither side blinks and we go into the abyss. My point is still, will it be on Obama? Whatever happens, good, bad or indifferent, this has been a mess a long time in the making. It will be on him as much as any president or any congress since we began having deficits. I'll give Obama little praise if it works out well and I'll give him very little fault should things turn out badly.

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

Indeed, certain things are destined to happen. For example, economic bubbles pop. That there are economic bubbles, however, is not destiny.

Giving away trillions in tax revenue is not destiny either. Neither is a refusal to regulate markets under an unfounded ideology that they "self-regulate."

Alter those choices and your present predicament of a massive public debt and flailing economy go away, even with all other things the same.

How to balance the budget over the long run isn't a difficult matter, as long as you avoid ideology. Unfortunately, the GOP has become all ideology, all the time. Look at Sarah Palin, for example, where reality must be bent to match dumb-ass misstatements about Paul Revere rather than admitting error and accepting that reality is the ultimate arbiter of fact.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't think there was a refusal to regulate. There were some, in hindsight, maybe not enough. The Soviet Union also regulated, in hindsight, maybe too much. The key is finding the right balance. Finding the right balance in taxes, spending, regulation, that's the important thing. Unfortunately, both parties at various times let the pendulum swing too far left or right. And usually a swing too far to one side happens specifically because there was a swing too far the other way.
Giving away trillions, that was something both parties advocated. Ideologically, I was opposed to the Wall Street bailouts. However, I like so many others was afraid of the abyss we were staring at. I still don't like the bailouts, but what would have happened had we not done it? The answer may be worse than what we got. The same is true with the debt ceiling. I'm no fan of raising it unless we raise taxes and cut spending. However, should Congress and Obama not agree upon a compromise, and we allow a default, well, that just seems like another abyss that I just don't want to contemplate.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

There was clearly a refusal to regulate, both in terms of lack of adequate legislation, and in terms of attitudes at regulatory agencies, like the SEC.

According to something I read, and my feeling at the time, there were only really a few "too big to fail" entities, and most of the ones that were bailed out would not have had a disastrous effect if they had been allowed to fail.

I kept asking, what exactly will happen if we don't bail them out, and nobody had any sort of substantive answer. That made me suspect it might not be true.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

I agree that no one had a good answer. But many on both sides of the political spectrum were suggesting that it would be very bad. It made me nervous enough that I backed off my principled opposition to the bailout.

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

  1. Balance - that's about a vacuous a demand as any. I see the GOP demanding no balance while the Dems are willing to trade away virtually anything that will attract GOP votes. The choice is not between virtually no regulation or "the Soviet Union"! How many trillions of dollars of wealth would exist right now if only we'd regulated to the degree done just a generation earlier? How many millions sit unemployed right now just so some Master of the Universe could make risky bets under the premise that the profits would be privatized while the losses would be socialized? A kingdom lost for want of a nail - or at least common sense regulation.

  2. Refusal to regulate - derivatives, what sunk the banks and AIG, are not regulated. They weren't before and barely at all now. Derivatives are financial versions of betting in Vegas, except Vegas is carefully regulated. Heck, there isn't even a record of what derivative contracts even exist! What's more, there's no regulation to control too big to fail banks, either by forcing them to be smaller or requiring significantly more extensive regulation of the big ones. Why not? Because 95% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats accept bribes to help them see how this would be 'a wery wery bad thing.'

  3. "Giving away trillions, that was something both parties advocated." No.... No. No. No. It was not. Sure, there were a handful of pseudo-Democratic votes (for the record, 7 Dems in the House, 2 in the Senate.). But that this was "something both parties advocated" is either a gross illusion on your part or an objective lie. (Let us know which, please, after you've had a chance to refresh yourself with the facts. This is your chance to choose between correcting a misconception and Palin-izing yourself.)

  4. "I'm no fan of raising it unless we raise taxes and cut spending. However, should Congress and Obama not agree upon a compromise..."

If you can deliver GOP votes for tax increases, I am 99.99% certain that Dems will match them with spending cuts. The odds that the GOP will agree to even raise taxes back to the Clinton years' level (let alone up to Reagan's)? About 5%. I wasn't a fan of raising the debt ceiling during any of the times it was raised--without any squawk outside of Ron Paul, or various Democrats!--in the last decade. But the decisions about spending and taxing have already been made - we chose, as I put forward initially, to spend at record high levels and tax at record low levels. The rest is just math. That the spending was about 66% GOP but the low taxes were 98% GOP says quite a lot. I suppose it's not a total falsehood to call that a "shared" responsibility. But it indisputably isn't an equally shared one.

question4u 3 years, 6 months ago

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said, “Certainly we are challenging all levels of government to do more with less.” Except, of course, the legislature.

If It's possible to do more with less, where is the "more" that our Kansas legislature gave us this session? Did O'Neal just mean more of his hot air and hypocrisy? We've had quite enough of that already, thanks.

sciencegeek 3 years, 6 months ago

I beg to differ. The legislature HAS given up something: free bottled water. Granted, they still get a pension based on 372 days a year, and lobbyists-paid buffets to which others are forbidden, and $1800 desks and free underground parking and....

skinny 3 years, 6 months ago

Craig, It is time to cut taxes! Make local government work with what they have. Have you forgotten, we are in a recession!

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

Get those nonverbal and severely ill patients at KNI to work, stat! I hear the coal plant is now hiring retired firefighters, foster children, and school kids on summer break. They've gotten something for nothing for long enough!

William Weissbeck 3 years, 6 months ago

Except there is that small problem shown by economic studies that the extra dollar to the affluent's disposable income does not get spent and contribute to the overall economy as efficiently as the extra dollar to the less affluent. Were it otherwise, the increase in wealth over the last 10 years should have not only kept us out of recession, but it should be Happy Days are Here Again. The affluent are more affluent than they were in 2000, so where are the jobs?

Mike1949 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes, lets put the burden on the elderly on fixed incomes instead of an increase in income tax. That way all the money that the Republicans are getting under the table won't be taxed. Nor the businesses that operate in the state of Kansas can continue to offer only part time jobs that pay little to nothing, but hey, they are creating jobs. If you add businesses that fire their older more experienced workers so they can hire young kids fresh out of college who spend all day playing games on the computers instead of working (example of what they did with my wife), they can have lower insurance rates to almost none at all.

You all wanted Republican control, well you got it and Kansas is going to join the rest of the states that hate the elderly and want them to die so they can have their homes go up for sale.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 6 months ago

Whatever happened to children taking care of their parents? If my parents were struggling to make ends meet I certainly would help and not depend on the government to take care of them. But then, I don't believe that government should be a nanny.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

Enough of the nanny crap. The simple fact is that we have decided on an economic system that rewards those at the top fabulously, and finances it by crushing those at the bottom while putting a very hard squeeze on everyone in the middle.

Social Security and Medicare have made it possible for the elderly from the bottom and the middle to live independent lives in ways that were previously unimaginable, and the reality is that it's paid for by the working majority of this country, not the great class of leeches at the top.

But you'd take that all away under the delusion that their kids, who can most times barely support themselves, can somehow find the time and resources to be their caretakers, all while the ruling class is busy shipping even more jobs out of the country. All to satisfy your desire for ideological purity.

sourpuss 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, the retirees should just move out of the state. They already paid into the public schools when they were working. Sell the house and get out of Dodge - literally! Honestly, families with children should also leave the state for one with better schools. There's no law saying you have to stay in Kansas.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

When was the last income tax increase or decrease in kansas? We had a Democratic administration since e got here 9 years ago.Only this year did we switch

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

This is something that isn't talked about enough, or clearly.

Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

Funny, I don't recall all this harrumphing when Sibileus specifically moved businesss tax revenues from county to state.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 6 months ago

Buying a house is just the down payment. You should consider the property tax to be a payment and there is no fixed term on the note, it just goes on forever.

CreatureComforts 3 years, 6 months ago

Is that because of state tax increases or Lawrence tax increases? We all know Lawrence voters have no problem voting any tax increase that comes along...

Dan Eyler 3 years, 6 months ago

My wife worked in the SRS office here in Lawrence for about 15 years. She always talked about the fraud and lack of documentation for benefits. The administrators from the Lawrence office and the leaders of SRS in Topeka and Kansas City told the staff to spend every dime at any cost before the budget year ends so they would get more money from the state the next year. She talked about how the administrators in Topeka and Kansas City were clueless to things going on in the offices (out of touch). The administrators had no interest in solving problems or saving money or streamlining processes. In the end my wife told me that without change at the top there can be no change. Well Governor Brownback changed all of that when he fired about 25 of the top administrators within SRS and replaced them with fresh faced, business minded individuals prepared to do what we asked from our legislature; do more with less and do it well. We will see how those changes workout. But according to someone who worked for SRS for 15 years, the quality and customer service provided by this government agency can't get worse. I am a director in a very busy hospital in Kansas City. I was asked by my boss to do the same thing. Do more with less and do it better. I actually found the idea challenging and refreshing. But more importantly I found it doable as long as we have good leadership that includes supervisors and managers. We need to demand leadership. That doesn't start with county administrators bagging on the state and making the case that the only way to fix problems are to increase spending on the tax payers. The private business and government model has changed and if Lawrence wants to be a good viable city it better quickly figure out how to do more with less and do it better. The lazy cry baby administrators in Douglas County need to get creative or find a new job. County administrator jobs are always easier when your spending lots of other peoples money. Now we want you to earn you money or throw in the towel.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

Ah, yet again we hear how government needs to do with less because taxes are too high. And why are taxes said to be too high? Because businesses and individuals need more money to do what they do.

If you are against government services, just say that. Don't try to make the claim that cutting funding for services won't result in a reduction in both the quality and quantity of those services. And don't pretend that reducing services for the most vulnerable members of society won't have negative consequences on the quality, and even the length, of their lives.

In other words, if you want your tax reductions, at least be honest enough to acknowledge that they will come at a real cost, and that cost will almost always be borne by people who may not survive your need for "fiscal restraint."

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't think he was calling for a reduction in services, rather he was calling for a reduction in waste, fraud and inefficiency. Kansasfaithful came to the conclusion that there is a lot of waste, fraud and inefficiency by having spent 15 years with a spouse that worked at SRS. Now, bozo, you may be correct, that funding cuts will result in a reduction of services and that the bureaucracy will allow the waste, fraud and inefficiency to continue. But the letter writer seems to me to be calling for a reduction in the waste, etc. and was not calling for a reduction in services.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

There's nothing wrong with reducing waste, fraud and inefficiency. That should be a primary goal of any head of any agency.

But SRS is not overfunded. Using the existence of "waste, fraud and inefficiency" as a pretext for slashing funding will neither reduce it nor improve the services provided.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, if cuts won't reduce the waste, fraud and inefficiency that we all know exists, what will? And if the former administrators didn't do it, will the new ones do it? And if not, why not? Perhaps the problem lies with the fact that every bureaucracy, both in the public sector and in the private sector, tend to have waste, fraud and inefficiency as a side effect. And that the larger the bureaucracy gets and the longer the bureaucracy is around, the more deeply entrenched the waste, fraud and inefficiency becomes. And that, in return, causes frustration that makes some people want to just blow up the system and start over.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

We'd have to create some incentives that would reward efficiency, and punish waste and fraud, I'd think.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

"Well, if cuts won't reduce the waste, fraud and inefficiency that we all know exists, what will?"

The cuts aren't intended to reduce any of that. They are intended only to cut government expenditures, and make an ideological statement in the process.

You're right that bureaucracies of any kind tend to be a bit cumbersome. But that's because they are trying to meet the similar needs of lots of people as efficiently as possible. The need for efficiency in meeting these needs is why we have bureaucracies in the first place, and there really isn't any way we can meet many of our needs without them.

Making these bureaucracies as efficient as possible requires constant vigilance. Pretending that we don't need them, or that we don't have to pay for them, is counterproductive. But that's what Republicans want to do, and it won't make anything any better.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

According to Kansasfaithful's letter, and by extension the observations of a 15 year SRS veteran, customer service can get no worse. Those are his words. If he's right, then the cuts won't make things worse. Whether or not they get better, we can guess.
Even if one disagrees with the statement that services can't get worse, we might be able to agree that services provided are bad. SRS has been around a long time. And as I stated above, bureaucracies tend to become more inefficient with time, they tend to become more susceptible to fraud and they tend to be more wasteful. Doing the same thing as we've done for decades seems crazy to me. I agree with you and many other posters that I don't believe Brownback at all. His intentions are probably closer to what you said than they are being done in good faith. I think neither approach will succeed in keeping costs down, provide quality service at the same time reducing waste, fraud and inefficiency.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

And please don't tell us that Brownback is looking to improve services. These new appointments aren't designed to bring accountability or transparency or improved services. They are designed solely to ideologically remake the agency in Brownback's own image, and we can expect to see lots of layoffs of anyone who is perceived as not meeting whatever litmus tests are put in place.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Boz is 150% correct. These new appointments are political patronage at it's finest...and for people getting ready to lose what they had in Florida. Let's begin with the new "Secretary" of SRS....what's his name....."Chief of Staff" for the Florida Dept. of Health? If EVER there was a made up, do nothing, hall job....there it was. Not hardly....he was grubby lawyer for a SuperShuttle, a shared-ride company first and foremost; he failed in his bid for a hack rep job in the Florida legislature....that is...HE LOST.....and he has been banging around like a pin ball in a nickle machine. Now he's in Kansas. Wonderful.

Next, this dope brings in his buddies. Good Gawd. They all shall be answering to Brownback and his "Kansas Experiment"......paying more and more money to the people that already got plenty and want MORE and MORE.

I for one am HAPPY to see these dopes in SRS replaced just because I thought and think they were dimbulbs in over their heads. But we done left the barn door open because the barnyard is now filled with even more bull butter than clucking hens.

Boz is correct, too, about people acking rite: DO IT THE NEW WAY OR GET FIRED with the "new way" being some mumbo jumbo from ward heel Florida hick politicans who are now getting a free ride here in Kansas. Then again, the dopes in this state elected Brownback gov....just as the same dopes elected him a U.S. Senator. Bring on "C" street! Long live Opus Dei!!! I've seen the light!

Name: Robert Siedlecki Jr. Age: 37 Personal: Lives in Wellington, married with two daughters. Professional: General counsel for SuperShuttle, a shared-ride company; previously an adviser at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. Political background: None. Positions on issues: Wants to create a permanent, month-long state sales tax holiday for hurricane supplies; supports making Save Our Homes property tax exemptions transferrable when an owner buys a new home; wants to press Congress for a federal solution to the state's homeowners insurance crisis.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/politics/content/local_news/election/races/house85.html

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

I concur that SRS is a VERY inefficient operation.

However, you're simply flat out wrong relative to fraud UNLESS you're referring to vendor fraud.....as in Medicaid fraud perpetrated by the "business community" or other types of vendor fraud (like double billing). The plain, bare truth relative to food stamp fraud and TANF (welfare to the uninformed and ignorant) is that it is rather negligible. Read it and weep: http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/healthcare/a/foodstampgao.htm (and that's a pretty old report that doesn't specifically address Kansas).

The people who are saddled with processing the cash and money side of SRS, Human Services Specialists are worked to the bone; unable to take vacations of any sort due to the high demands of the SRS Central Office and are under all manner of regulations relative to the processing of cases. The new hire is expected to perform at the same level as someone who has been in the job over 20+ years: If the new hire does NOT, they are quickly weeded out. These staff are expected to perform social work services including but not limited to hand holding, head patting, umpteen phone calls (WHEN WILL YOU PROCESS MY APPLICATION????!!!! I TURNED IT IN TWO DAYS AGO!!!), blah, blah, blah. The lazy one's in SRS are the "it's for the children" social workers who don't do much anymore.....most of the work has been privitized....... and the manager types. They must have time for "creative" thinking. It's a fine, fine state of affairs.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Did your wife send any memo's documenting she found fraud and nobody would act on it, or did she just sit there and keep drawing her own check? Did your wife who can be an "arm chair general" now, ever do anything to try to get the problems she saw fixed? Or, did she simply draw her check and benefits? The cry babies are the one's who are in a position to have an impact but choose not to in order to protect themselves.

I rather suspect those 15 years were more a waste of time for the state of Kansas than it was for your wife.

The Federal and State requirements with respect to documentation are onerous, deep, and very involved. It reads that your wife preferred to not "go by the book"....said book being KEESM which you can choose to read here: http://content.srs.ks.gov/EES/KEESM/Keesm.htm It is very exciting reading. NOT. But it's the Bible that all workers are required to use. Did your wife? Or, did she simply do her own thing and with an attitude at that?

The facts speak for themselves and client driven "fraud" is marginal to negligible. Now, there are situations where SRS "Leaders" DO cheat by re-dating applications so they can artifically show they're meeting Federal target application dates, but SRS will deny that. Read about it here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jul... that crud is MANAGEMENT driven.

BigPrune 3 years, 6 months ago

Flat screen televisions adorning our public school hallways - because nobody wants to use a magic marker and some poster board if there is an announcement, laser cut aluminum lettering (the most expensive) for signage that says the name of the school inside the school (like nobody would know), two separate football fields, $2 Million in tennis courts, an $18 Million Library in the middle of a recession - yes Mr. Weinaug, Lawrence loves to raise taxes and has never voted down a tax. So, let us have it!

kernal 3 years, 6 months ago

Having dealt with the City of Lawrence from a business standpoint, I have to agree with kansasfaithful this time. His stance goes ditto for the Lawrence School District.

It's like that old saying, "Work better, not more".

deec 3 years, 6 months ago

If your wife thought the agency she worked for was so corrupt and inefficient, why did she work there 15 years? If she talked about specific cases and people's situations, that would be unethical and possibly a violation of state or federal confidentiality laws. Lack of documentation is false. Recipients, at least ones 15 years ago, were required to report income monthly, and be recertified every 6 months.

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

Other than the fact that gov't is you and you select it - unlike a corporation.

"They always act like they are gods." You sound more like the Unibomber than a rational citizen.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

" I have to give money to people in government. I can choose to give money to people in corporations."

Yea, every month I really feel good about my "choices" when I send checks off to Westar, ATT, Black Hills, insurance companies ........

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

We just finished the spectacle of the FCC voting to allow Comcast to take over NBC only to be followed by one of the FCC governors moving to a lucrative job lobbying for the new Comcast-NBC. The corruption that is allowed to operate in our government is staggering.

We've got a GOP governor in Ohio who worked for investment banks bailed out by the taxpayer. We've got a GOP governor in Florida who was at the center of the biggest Medicare fraud case i history, who now is requiring all state workers to have drug tests, with the business steered to his wife's company. And on and on. Don't get me started on the generals who retire and go to work as lobbyists for defense contractors - sort of explains how military spending has doubled in a decade, no?

pace 3 years, 6 months ago

They didn't just balance the budget, they lowered taxes to the wealthiest.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

I missed that - what taxes on individuals did they lower??

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

It seems like we are usually faced with two choices, the Republican ponzi scheme or the Democratic ponzi scheme.

That pendulum of political ideology just swings from right to left and never seems to stop in the middle.

When everyone was running around looking for stimulus projects to fund and making them up as fast as they could, I had a sick feeling. Then I heard Joe Biden was going to make sure that the money was not misused. One old guy who had a tendency to say some stupid things and smile a lot was going to keep track of all of this spending. Right.

One by one we watched the economic "experts" leaving the Obama administration and going from their Ivory Towers in Washington back to their Ivory Towers in academia.

Now we are watching the swing back to the extreme right and now THEIR constituents get to loot the treasury.

The average American is getting the shaft from the other end now.

It is frustrating and irritating to watch the American people become politicized into either the liberal camp or the conservative camp when you know we are getting it from both ends.

tir 3 years, 6 months ago

Mike "King of the Backroom Deal" O'Neal says "We are not forcing them to raise taxes."

Yeah, right, Mikey. And if anyone really believes that, Mike has a nice bridge he'd like to sell you, too.

sciencegeek 3 years, 6 months ago

While there is merit in trying to increase efficiency in government, and shaking things up isn't necessarily a bad thing, there is one aspect of the current administrations's approach to fiscal responsibility that I don't understand.

How does it help Kansas to bring in people from other states to do the work formerly done by Kansans? I'm not just talking about the people running SRS or Commerce, I'm talking about the low-level, day-to-day people that actually do the work. Instead of filling empty positions with Kansans, at wages lower than what private industry pays, consultants are being hired from out-of-state to do the work, at wages far higher than what state employees are paid. It cuts the payroll, but not the cost to the state.

I have just never seen an explanation of the justification for it. Does anyone else know?

sciencegeek 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm still waiting for an explanation for this? Is there an answer?

I really hope there is a logical explanation. If there isn't, then we're left with a political philosophy using all of us as guinea pigs for an idea. And paying for our own petri dishes.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

As far as I can tell, there's no good answer to your question.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

OMG, The county is heard from. Thought this was the cities’ year to raise taxes as the county did it big time last year.

Exactly how do state restraints on school spending impact county government? Exactly how much is the longer waiting list for mental health placement costing the county corrections budget? I though the state paid us for state prisoners housed in our jails. The rest have always been our responsibility or were we shoveling it off on the state? What roads are being impacted – we raised state taxes last year for roads.

Each year my property taxes or sales taxes or both go up. My income goes down. I post about the multiples of inflation increases in those taxes compounded over ten years to no avail. I note that less then half the population takes the brunt of property tax increases to no avail.

This year I observe that not once have I seen reported any actual reductions in services paid by taxes by either the county or city. There are no reports of committees reviewing our activities and recommending more efficient ways to accomplish them. There is never a discussion of priorities and why taxes must go up rather than less important services being eliminated. Of course, I know this observation will also be ignored.

We have a perfect storm. Our county is in the hands of Democrats. Democrats raise taxes. The people paying the preponderance of the taxes are in the minority and can not stop the increases. The increases are not in basic services but in payments to special interests who vote to perpetuate their own largess.

My bottom line is live with it and shut up or move. I will caution , however, that ever increasing taxes do cause people to vote with their feet particularly now that the state has closed the pockets of those outside Douglas County from our insatiable appetite for tax revenue. Most of the recent reports on our civic health suggest we are not doing as well as when we paid a lot less in taxes. Could there be a link? Of course not – people love to pay seemingly endlessly increasing taxes- it is their civic responsibility – just ask those blogging in this space – particularly those not paying much in taxes.

verity 3 years, 6 months ago

You're lucky that you have the option to move, Mr. Lippincott. For some of us, due to circumstances, that would be a decision between bad and worse.

How many new jobs---living wage jobs---have been created for Kansans? I think that is the most important question.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

The way that state funding for education affects counties is that in order to fund the system adequately, the school system has to get more money from local areas. In our area, counties are responsible for property tax, about 1/2 of which goes towards the local schools.

Considering the fact that the state has been underfunding the system according to the SC for years, I imagine that funding it adequately means that the counties will have to raise property taxes.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey JAFS the county and city taxes do not go to schools. Last I looked our schooldtaxes, levied by the district, are at the maximum allowed under law. Do you know something I don't about school funding???

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Aren't property taxes levied by the county?

Last time I checked, about 1/2 of our property taxes go to school districts.

Do you have a website or something to check?

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

JAFS

They are collected by the county but each element (schools, city, county, some odds and ends) levy their own tax (mil rate). School taxes are capped so as to avoid rich dictricts getting way ahead of poor ones.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

That's just one of the ways that state funding (the lack thereof) trickles down to lower levels.

Which means that lowering state taxes does not mean lowering actual taxes, much of the time.

So people will probably not see lower taxes much, but they will notice the loss of federal funding that accompanied state funding.

Thus, we will probably not have much more (if any) disposable income, but our systems will suffer.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

By the by. We did not lower state taxes one bit for the vast majority of us. In fact we increased the state sales tax by 20% to pay for schools last year. How about another 20%

gkerr 3 years, 6 months ago

Sniveling Whiners,

So you want more taxes than last year, so that government services won't be cut? You don't want government bureaucracies to be cut just the household budgets of the tax payers.

We've been on this Keynesian kick for 70 years. We're 30 trillions in debt when measuring actual debt plus contractural commitments under current law. We have 10% inflation by 1994 standards, but our government deceives and calls it 2% by their redacted standards designed to confuse and cover up the ghastly truth.

BASTA! Gkerr

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

verity (anonymous) says… You're lucky that you have the option to move, Mr. Lippincott. For some of us, due to circumstances, that would be a decision between bad and worse.

Really. Well we don't have that option either. Too many unsold houses on the market.

Perhaps if we reduced taxes - OMG - we might be more attractive to business and more business will come to provide jobs. Of course, that is what our governor is doing. If he is right those jobs will come to Kansas but not Douglas County.

We will continue to raise taxes to provide government jobs and a social safety net bringing in unemployed from elsewhere. Business need not apply.

You see the government as directly providing jobs - socialism. I see the government making the business environment attractive to business so that business provides jobs. That is called capitalism in case you have forgotten.

verity 3 years, 6 months ago

"You see the government as directly providing jobs . . ."

Where did I say that?

I haven't seen any proof so far that reducing taxes provides jobs. I still want to know if any jobs have been created with Brownback's policies. It seems to me he is making Kansas a less desirable place to live or be in business.

And telling me to live with it or move---as far as I know we still live in a democracy and I will continue to fight for what I think is right---it's the only choice I have.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

It is not my intent to malign you. I know you said none of those things in this thread. In my declining moments of lucidity, I though I remembered you saying something like that elsewhere. If I am wrong I apologize.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Many of "us" think and know that those with an income over $75,000.00 per annum fall into the "wealthy" category. Our day will come, tax wise, too. Wait and see, Moderate.

We too are on fixed incomes and are responsible for property tax payments that just keep going up. Still, the people of Lawrence elected a bozo who doesn't pay his own real estate taxes, but lives high on the hog. I guess the answer is just not to pay the darn property tax. shrug

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

For clarification: I'm not referring to Brownback with respect to the not paying real estate property taxes. I'm referring to the Lawrence City Commissioner whose term on the Commission just expired.....

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Hi,

If th bank does not collect it as part of your mortage payment

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

It does not. The house is bought and paid for. However, we're being property taxed out of it.....it's not an unusual story....

notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

Just how big is your house that you can't afford property tax on an over 75k a year income?

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Where do I state ANYWHERE that my income is over $75k!?!??? Were it only so!!! I'd be living high on the hog and complaining about nothing.

Try UNDER $24k FIXED. FIXED. FIXED. As is in no increases of any sort.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

You could advocate for a something like Proposition 13, the law that was passed in California that was meant to freeze property taxes so those on fixed incomes would not be taxed out of their homes.
Of course, Prop 13 had the side effect of turning a once thriving state with a state of the art educational system into a third world outpost with an educational system I wouldn't (and didn't) send my offspring to.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug might want to examine and then explain the obscene amount of money he is paid by Douglas County and the taxpayer to "administer" Douglas County.

After Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug examines his own pay, he then might want to examine the reasons why there are others paid by Douglas County darn near what he is paid and explain those monies. Explain to the General Public why these people are getting paid so much money.....and I'm not referring to the clerk in the office or the guy driving the truck....I'm referring to the fancy office types.

Next, Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug might want to examine how much money is paid by his administration to heat and cool the buildings where people work. Perhaps putting a lock on the thermostats so staff can't manipulate them (I believe 66° is warm enough for our Winters; and I believe 82° is cool enough for our Summers; our personal desires are 62° Winter and 84° Summer. That's what we live with. When in time people forgot about sweaters escapes me....). He then might want to also find out just how many staff have personal heating devices (those "radiant" heaters SUCK up electricity) and get rid of them.

Quit raising my property taxes Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug. Try administering and see how that works out for US.

Dan Eyler 3 years, 6 months ago

I appreciate the responses to my letter. Its nice to see there is some growing common sense in Lawrence. If there is no buy in from the supervisors and managers in efforts to reduce waste, fraud and inefficiencies it won't happen. This is much easier in a private business. If you don't follow through on the expectations outlined you are on your way out the door. Those who work for the government have no ownership other than spending more money because you really don't have a budget. As in SRS if you spend all of your budget you obviously need more money. The congressman and senators who have no ownership in government waste, fraud, inefficiencies assume SRS is out of money and they give them more the next year. They simply raise taxes on you and me with virtually no checks and balances. Kansans who support the never ending expansion in waste, fraud and inefficiencies within SRS have no ownership because of your support of the waste, fraud and inefficiencies and most who use those services at SRS have no ownership in how the department is ran. If you're using those services you're either paying little or no taxes to the state of Kansas so so you have no skin in the game. With that said I am completely satisfied with this legislature and governor taking responsibility in changing course with new leadership. It is way past due.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Since you're going on and on about SRS, it's important to get 360° of data. SRS took a WRONG TURN when foster care was privitized. Why should B. Wayne Sims and his Kaw Valley NOT do everything they can do to "stonewall" so they can keep getting PAID? That goes for all the other poverty pimp PRIVATE outfits like DCCCA who hide behind a 501(c)(3). How much money you think ole B. Wayne Sims and Bruce Beale of DCCCA pay themselves? Look at their budgets and be prepared to have a heart attack.

And, as for "leadership", Brownback brought in a bunch of cronies from the Republican Party....that's it. Not a ONE of the people he brought in for SRS have any real history in Public Welfare or solid administration history. Not a one.....they're all just hacks with connections. Heck, the Secretary for SRS was REALLY just a lawyer for SpeediShuttle. Big deal. Now, don't get me wrong, SRS has been filled to the brim with head bobbing mediocrity for years and years. These headbobbers have done everything they could do to weed out innovation and a "re-thinking" of how to play the game. So, I say good riddance....however the creeps that are now in place aren't any better and may just be worse....finding ways to send the money back to their buddies in other programs. Truth be told, I'm setting up shop with an internet Divinty Degree; gonna incorporate my own 501; and start me a faith based program to get me some of that FREE MONEY! Yee haw!!

MyName 3 years, 6 months ago

If by "this place" you mean "in my head, next to the pinko commie menace and the Martian Invasion Force" I'd agree with you. If you mean "the government of Kansas" or "The LJWorld message board" I'd ask you top open your eyes and get a clue. Or maybe just make sure your aluminum deflector beanie is properly secure.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Alceste (anonymous) replies…

At 75K that means a school teacher married to a cop is wealthy. Interesting definition. If you are divorced you are poor but if you are married to a productive professional you are wealthy???

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

In the instance you provide, George, the income would be over $80k per annum and more like $100k+ if those involved have been on their respective jobs for a bit of time.....say over 20 years.....baby boomers....whatever you want to call them.....late 40's to late 50's......

Help me to understand why me and mine in our MODEST (under 900 sq. ft.) paid for home and with a fixed income at just under $24k per annum should be paying the same amount of taxes as someone pulling in that kind of money? We worked; we paid income taxes, always on time; always paid the property taxes on time; etc., etc., etc. and guys like you just want us to pay more? I don't get it. I understand you believe YOU are being overtaxed....but from where I sit.....you're being under taxed. shrug

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

You don't pay the same amount of taxes, if you're paying based on your income, or your home.

Unless, of course, you own as large a home as George, which seems unlikely at 900 sf.

You pay percentages, which will be lower if your income is lower, and lower if your home is valued at less money, etc.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

My property tax obligation should not center ONLY around the valuation of my property, but my income and my ability to pay the egregious amount them pointy headed simpletons claim my property is worth. I pay the exact same % of property tax on my modest home as the guy living in the $500k mansion. That ain't right.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Correct. But we don't own a cell phone; we don't own no fancy iPad; we don't own no Android; we don't own a car; we don't own 90% of the crud that is not taxed. Keep my property taxes down. Ok, I'm RICH: I own a dinky little house that is in constant need of repair due to it's age. I can keep up with the repairs if I don't have the PROPERTY TAX obligation.

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug could pay our property tax bill with two weeks of his pay and still have money left over to fly to New York and go to a Broadway show. Must be nice to be living so properly. I guess, as "Moderate" believes and has stated, we just made mistakes over the past 40 years working in public service to help the poor and working poor. We would have been far better off being a uniform wearing member of the military playing games.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

We also don't own a lot of that stuff.

Cars are taxed as property, by the way.

I just don't understand why property taxes should include consideration of income.

Generally, folks with lower incomes buy smaller and cheaper houses, so that shows up there as well.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Wrong. The County couldn't care less what our INCOME is....they ONLY are concerned with the arbitrary "valuation" they generate.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

I meant income taxes - those are based on your income, so if you make less money, you pay lower taxes.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Wrong. I do NOT pay LOWER real estate property taxes. Pity the fool who just does not understand this shell game......

notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

Ok, that makes more sense now. I thought you were saying your income was over 75k.

Honestly, the taxes need to shift back to progressive income taxes.

William Weissbeck 3 years, 6 months ago

That's the inherent flaw with property taxes when it is relied on in lieu of income taxes. There is going to be the person on a fixed income in the tiny paid for home. But what of the retired husband and wife sitting in the fully paid for $500,000 home? Without property taxes, there is not way to tax them. Instead, the burden would fall on the income earned by the working family trying to pay the mortgage on their modest home.

William Weissbeck 3 years, 6 months ago

Try this on for size. What do you think the chances are for the Shawnee Mission school district to accept a merger with Wyandotte Co., even if the Wyandotte schools agreed to abandon all of their existing contracts and administrators. For that matter, do you think Blue Valley would agree to merge with Shawnee Mission, or Rural, Heights and Seaman to merge with Topeka 501? Not going to happen. The affluent move for precisely the reason to be with like affluent. They don't want their property taxes diluted supporting lower tax bases.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Gentlemen:

Kansas has a Homestead Exemption. If your income is below some specificed threshold on a sliding scale you get a refund of some of the property tax you paid. Check the Web.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

We use the Homestead Exemption....or have TRIED to use it, "Moderate": We don't have the income stream you do, and NO, we're not "envious" of your income.....we just want taxes off our back. We too served the American people....albeit in a different fashion than a Colonel in the military who has always had servants. We worked "in the trenches" of public welfare. We recognize, far too late, our collective mistake in NOT looking out for our own backsides. I understand I have no one to blame but myself.

However, at this point in the road, I shall RESIST< RESIST< RESIST< and PROTEST wherever and whenever I can the attack upon on my homestead. I'm pretty dang tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Where did you get the servant thing??? Once in my entire career I had a young airmen who was assigned to carry my bags when he picked me up at an airport for a conference. Once!!!

I cleaned my own latrines.

Our income is social security and two pensions earned in accordance with public law in public service.

Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

Yeah? Our income is Social Security and one pension earned in accordance with public law in public service.....rescuing little kids from errant parents.....

Big deal, eh?

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Gentlemen:

One of the problems with property tax is that it only cares about the value of your property. Someone who bought a property for 50K and who has lived in it for thirty years could find themselves taxed more than they make because the county has assigned an increase in valuation the owner has yet to and may never receive.

If they meet certain criteria they may get a reverse mortgage and in exchange for a very hefty fee and the gradual transfer of ownership to a bank they can receive some of their equity to pay their taxes.

One of the messy parts of property tax is that between valuation increases and mil rate increases your tax may escalate much faster than inflation. If you have been prudent and planned responsibly for increase you may well find that they are much faster than anyone could have foreseen and you find your self trading standard of living to stay in your home.

Nobody should be forced by the state to sell their property because the state has significantly increased their taxes. Frankly, when people retire they should have their tax (not rate) frozen so that the state does not drive them out. Some progressive jurisdictions do exactly that. That is exactly what drove proposition 13 in CA. There have been related but unfortunately corrupted proposals here in Kansas to attempt to freeze property taxes.

Godot 3 years, 6 months ago

Cut the budgets of the adminstrators before cutting services. I propose that no county/city/state/federal employee or contractor should be paid no more than 150 percent of the median income of those governed.

Godot 3 years, 6 months ago

Why don't local governments reduce the salaries and budgets of administrators and their staff? They have mismanaged our tax funds. They, and their departments, should be admonished by receiving a very large,(say, 25%) reduction in funding.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug is absolutely correct!

What's missing:

My tax dollar refund check from Topeka.

Where is the money that Brownback removed from several budgets?

What is Brownback doing with that money?

Sorry Sam I want my money back pronto! You cannot keep that money to yourself.

Where is the money that Brownback removed from several budgets?

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

merrill

Do you really believe what you posted??? Apparently you do not understand our state finances. Ideology blinding you??

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