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Archive for Thursday, September 1, 2011

Four communities — including Lawrence — agree to pay state to retain SRS offices

September 1, 2011

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— Three other cities have joined Lawrence in paying the state welfare agency to keep their local offices open, it was announced Thursday.

Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. said the effort shows that the administration was willing to negotiate.

“Unlike previous administrations, we were more than willing to meet with local governments to work out deals to keep SRS offices open,” Siedlecki said.

“They keep their local office and SRS meets its budget-cutting criteria. Everyone wins,” he said.

Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughan had a different take on the issue.

“I suppose it is a case of better late than never,” Gaughan said. “I’m sure SRS clients and their families and SRS employees would have preferred SRS reach out to local communities before making announcements like this if they are really interested in partnerships.”

SRS announced July 1 it was closing the Lawrence office and eight other offices as a cost-cutting move. Lawrence was by far the largest, with 87 employees and thousands of clients.

Social service advocates and local officials erupted in protest, saying closing the Lawrence office made no sense. Gov. Sam Brownback and Siedlecki said SRS clients could access services on the Internet or travel to nearby cities. But advocates said that wasn’t realistic.

Lawrence and Douglas County officials eventually crafted a deal with SRS to pay $450,000 to keep the office open for two years. Fort Scott, Pratt and McPherson made similar deals where local governments agreed to pay SRS’ costs to keep the offices open.

The other five offices on SRS’ hit list will close Sept. 30. Those are Coffeyville, Garnett, Lyndon, Marysville and Wellington.

Comments

happyscriv 2 years, 7 months ago

We can't pay for this. Our local leaders need to say no.....not pay to keep this office open and cost our local economy more. Too many taxes here already. This will only make excuses for more taxes.

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pace 2 years, 7 months ago

Brownback is stealing money from caring communities, his hostages and victiims, the poor, the ill, elderly, children, decent people. He is too tea for me. He is making his own bloody Kansas. At least the Koch brothers are safe from his manipulations.

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texburgh 2 years, 7 months ago

Very simple. This is the new reality. The state will pay for nothing - holding the poor and disabled hostage knowing that local communities actually care about human beings and will not let them be thrown under the bus. They knew all along and intended for local communities to take over this state function. This is not temporary in their eyes; it is their new world order. Revenue is up and they've just passed social services off on the local community. Now that they don't have to pay for these services, they can justify their elimination of the income tax. Of course, the elimination of the income tax just means the less you make the more you pay. The whole tax system becomes more and more regressive. And without those taxes, they will need to cut more from education. Look for your local schools to be the next to fall. Continuing to reduce state revenue by eliminating the income tax, they will have no option but to pass more and more school funding off on the local community. Your property taxes will go up and up to pay for your SRS services and your schools. You will find yourself paying more in taxes through sales and property than you did when you paid an income tax. But the Kansas Policy Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and Sam Brownback will have pleased their masters - the Koch brothers. And the sweetest deal for those who successfully shafted us, we will blame the city commission and the county commission and not the legislature. After all, the legislature cut taxes...

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ksrush 2 years, 7 months ago

Great reporting Rothy. You failed to mention the names of the other communities supporting the SRS. Any info ?

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autie 2 years, 7 months ago

Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. said the effort shows that the administration was willing to negotiate.

“Unlike previous administrations, we were more than willing to meet with local governments to work out deals to keep SRS offices open,” Siedlecki said.

“They keep their local office and SRS meets its budget-cutting criteria. Everyone wins,” he said.

Willing to negiotiate? Really. Everyone wins? Really. That is kind of a funny way to put that forth there extortion boy. They weren't willing to "negiotiate" until the cities made an offer to pay up. Nobody won. Mr. Sidelicky needs to go pick oranges..as task he is ultimately more qualified to do.

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LJD94 2 years, 7 months ago

Hmmmm. That's funny, I don't remember seeing anything about this BEFORE THEY VOTED ON IT!!! And by the way, Mike1949, I'm pretty sure it was Sebelius that brought those eggheads from out of state in. Brownback has to honor the contract.

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oldbaldguy 2 years, 7 months ago

It is extortion(did I spell that right?). Talked to an SRS person I have known for years yesterday. He agrees, extortion. More is coming unless the legislature shuts this down.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

The only thing that the cities and counties paying part of the cost to keep the local SRS offices open means is this:

The tax dollars to pay for it are coming from local property taxes and the city's portion of the sales tax, instead of from state income taxes and the state's portion of the sales tax.

The taxpayers are paying either way. In the grand scheme of things, no one is saving any money. In fact, it might be more expensive this way due to higher administrative costs.

It reminds me of some people I know that told everyone they paid cash for their new car, when in fact the only thing they did was shift the debt to a second mortgage on their home.

But there were a couple advantages to that. The interest rate was lower, and when their home was foreclosed on and the second mortgage holder got nothing, they left with the car all paid for.

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My_Life 2 years, 7 months ago

In retrospect, this appears very similiar to blackmail.

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bklonnie 2 years, 7 months ago

What a tool Siedlecki is. He's trying to spin this and act like he's doing a good job because "he's willing to negotiate". What kind of idiot believes that nonsense?

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

"The tax dollars are being used to cover budget shortfalls in other areas."

How do you know this? Where is the hard evidence?

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OonlyBonly 2 years, 7 months ago

And people thought Brownback wasn't too good. He got ya'al to pay to keep this office open. Now that Topeka knows it's an easy "saving" to pull off I'd expect to see even more. Thumbs up to them, thumbs down to those who're paying them off.

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scott3460 2 years, 7 months ago

"“They keep their local office and SRS meets its budget-cutting criteria. Everyone wins,” he said."

Someone please explain how anyone other than the State folks who can claim the illusory "savings" wins? To my way of thinking they are the only ones who "win." And their "win," rather than decent or effective governance seems to be the only consideration.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

State involved in order to maintain some sort of equity across the State. I can imagine if this was not true, the disparity across Kansas would be significant. Lawrence and Douglas County might be pretty equitable, but I can imagine some areas within the State having some real issues in that arena. But, agree maybe returning more (or collecting less) to the locals should be instituted.

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tbaker 2 years, 7 months ago

Good. Local funding is the right answer. The more local government is; the better it is. What baffles me is why local government would pay the state to keep the SRS office open? If the local governments are paying for it, why not cut the state completely out of the equation? More of the dollars being spent would go to the services and not to the state bureaucracy.

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giveitback 2 years, 7 months ago

I love this place. We have a Govenor who TELLS US what is going to take place no matter what WE think or say or prove! SRS is vitally needed by so many. Its been proven and many many many people have expressed their disapproval of the closing. Get place to live and we do have many freedoms here. But when did the Govenor become the last say? When did people lose control? I lost track. Let them eat Cookies and Ice Cream. How soon we forget!!!!

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 7 months ago

This money would be better spent with a recall petition for the facist governer and all his hyper-religious cronies.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 7 months ago

This money would be better spent with a recall petition for the facist governer and all his hyper-religious cronies.

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none2 2 years, 7 months ago

Coffeyville, Garnett, Lyndon, Marysville and Wellington time to pay up! Show that you can pay ransom money like your wealthier sister cities.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

I wonder where the Florida Sunshine Boy, Robert Seidlecki got his facts to say that the current administration was more willing than the past (admins.) to negotiate. Based on what I've read, it was the cities, not the State that initiated any solutions to this problem.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

Now local taxpayers are shelling out more money to Topeka. What's up with that?

Where are the tax dollars the Brownback admin did not distribute?

Is this sudden withholding of tax dollars a legal process?

Where are the tax dollars? How are they being spent? They are not coming back to the communities? Why not?

Can we say I want my money back?

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ksjayhawk74 2 years, 7 months ago

I forget, how much is being spent on restoring the Capitol building?

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trinity 2 years, 7 months ago

And just yesterday there was an article about the State being like 17 mil ahead?? Hmmm. Somebody pass me a cookie&some ice cream, please.

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jman785 2 years, 7 months ago

Is that $450,000 coming off of the library project???

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