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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

trinity 2 years, 12 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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BrianR 2 years, 12 months ago

Can I substitute Oreo ice cream and skip the cookies?

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ksjayhawk74 2 years, 12 months ago

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

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jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

Close to $300 million and still counting.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 12 months ago

But it will certainly attract crowds of tourists to Topeka when it's finished, won't it?

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 12 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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pittstatebb 2 years, 12 months ago

The state is "supposed" to keep 7.5% of its budget in cash reserve. While this fact has been freely overlooked in the past to meet declining revenues, I am sure that we will soon begin to here about it if we start requesting for either a return of the money to the taxpayer or an increase in spending to replace past cuts.

My personal opinion, it will continue to build so that we can justify removing/abating the state income tax on individuals in this legislative session.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 12 months ago

Glad to know you support the Constitutional right to free speech. If you dislike Merrill so much, you have a forefinger to apply to the mousewheel and scroll past his/her posts.

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Liberty275 2 years, 12 months ago

Glad to know you support the Constitutional right to free speech. If you dislike KRichards so much, you have a forefinger to apply to the mousewheel and scroll past his/her posts.

I like you cait48 even if you are usually wrong, so no tag backs!

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 12 months ago

Aren't we all so glad that there is a 3,000 character limit here, so that posters have to go to a whole lot of trouble to make you scroll even farther?

But if you have something more lengthy you want to post, you are allowed to go to all the trouble of sectioning it and posting the sections individually.

I haven't seen any exceptions to that, so far anyway. But then, it has not been done very often.

It is unfortunate that the 3,000 character limit also applies to the private messaging system.

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Mike1949 2 years, 12 months ago

Brownback is bringing in various people from out of state and paying them big bucks, that is where some of the money is going. I am sure someone, somewhere is pocketing some also. Isn't business getting tax breaks also? Isn't that the Republican way?

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rtwngr 2 years, 12 months ago

The tax dollars are being used to cover budget shortfalls in other areas. I say close the SRS office before it becomes a drain on the Lawrence economy. People like you think that the government exists to give you things. That's wrong. Our society is not set up on a socialist system that provides cradle to grave services.

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jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

What?

The amount of money "saved" by not paying rent on the Lawrence SRS office is taken up immediately (at least) by several new administrative positions at SRS.

Given that the legislature itself expected the cuts in SRS to come from administrative positions, this is surprising, to say the least.

Even Republican legislators are questioning this now, which is a very good thing.

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CHKNLTL 2 years, 12 months ago

rtwngr- i bet you take all the tax credits on your federal form for which you apply, be it credit for owning a house, having kids, or whatever. those credits are also socialist ideas. The government exists for us to give it everything we have including our patriotic loyalty. Be sure to have your letter ready when you're old that you are opting out of social security and medicare.

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jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

What in my post is not factual?

At least 2 new administrative positions salaried at $100K each is equal to the $200K that the state "saves" by not funding the Lawrence office.

The other comments are taken directly from comments by Republican legislators.

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bklonnie 2 years, 12 months ago

As usual, you don't do your homework before opening your mouth. Typical for you though. If you think jafs is wrong, then get a clue. There have actually been 3 new top-level positions created:

Anna Pilato - $97,500: Deputy secretary heading a new faith-based initiative

Jeff Kahrs - $100,000: chief of staff

Ken Thompson - salary has not yet been disclosed, but you can bet that it's at least $90k+: new director of fraud investigations

I'll even provide you with the links, since apparently research is not your strong suit:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/aug/02/kansas-srs-hires-new-attorney-investigate-fraud/?kansas_legislature

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bklonnie 2 years, 12 months ago

Haha. It always kills me when Republicans try to act they don't spend just as much as the Democrats do when they're in office. It's absolutely laughable, but just goes to show you just how warped their little minds are. They absolutely ignore the cold, hard facts, 'cause "their guy" does no wrong. Got news for you, The Republicans do just as much spending as the Democrats do when they're in office; they're both guilty of it.

Source? Take a look for yourselves:

Pay close attention to that little time-frame from 1981 - 1993.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 12 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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chootspa 2 years, 12 months ago

Because Sebelius closed SRS offices and consolidated services when she started as governor back in 2003. She also notified people well in advance of what she was doing and removed administrators instead of adding new ones.

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jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

Do you happen to know if any of those communities offered to pay money to keep the offices open, and what her response was?

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chootspa 2 years, 12 months ago

I don't believe any of them did, but I didn't live in a county affected by a closure. They weren't heavily used offices, and my guess is that they didn't have the tax base to have made the offer in the first place. I know they weren't happy about the idea of closing offices.

Also worth noting: She did not fire an unprecedented number of administrators and replace them with buddies from Florida who have no concept of Kansas.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 12 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, 12 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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giveitback 2 years, 12 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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tbaker 2 years, 12 months ago

Elections have consequences.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 12 months ago

They do indeed, tbaker. They do indeed. I think that every time I see one of your screeds against Obama. I suggest you don't gloat. Karma's a b***h.

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scott3460 2 years, 12 months ago

So does inept and malicious governance.

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Liberty275 2 years, 12 months ago

I wouldn't call obama particularly malicious, just a typical lying politician. I think he's doing what he thinks is right for America. Thankfully, he is pretty inept, like jimmy carter on steroids, so he is mostly ineffectual.

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scott3460 2 years, 12 months ago

Inept and ineffectual? I thought he was a socialist hell-bent on destroying America and successful in imposing his godless agenda on "real" Americans via the healthcare law, stimulus spending, nationalization of industries, homosexual, tree hugging policies.

Which is it? Inept or the worst "the sky is falling" socialist the Tea Bagger Inc. folks tell us he is?

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scott3460 2 years, 12 months ago

Stunning!

Some here sure spend a lot of time complaining about what you've deemed as the President's ineffectual efforts.

Perhaps it provides the readers of these award winning forums some insight in to the abilities and motivations of such individuals - is it an inability to discern that the President is an ineffectual failure at imposing his agenda, or an intent to simply complain about each and every thing this President does?

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rtwngr 2 years, 12 months ago

There is always another election. The SRS is probably not needed by nearly as many as leach off of it. Now the taxpayers of Lawrence get to bare the burden from our own coffers. I say close the money drain.

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CHKNLTL 2 years, 12 months ago

you need a serious economic reality check! If half of the rich taxpayers of lawrence actually spent 50% more money inside the city (vs. shopping in kansas city) the sales tax increases would more than be enough to help the city repair infrastructure to draw consumers from out of town, and it would create more jobs making it harder for "leeches" to qualify because they would be able to work full time and be above the poverty line!!!!

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tbaker 2 years, 12 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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blindrabbit 2 years, 12 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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scott3460 2 years, 12 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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OonlyBonly 2 years, 12 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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Richard Heckler 2 years, 12 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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bklonnie 2 years, 12 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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scott3460 2 years, 12 months ago

Sadly, you will be supplied here many examples.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 12 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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oldbaldguy 2 years, 12 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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LJD94 2 years, 12 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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hedshrinker 2 years, 12 months ago

Brownback is responsible for hiring ideological -compatible cronies Siedlicki from Florida and the female pastor from in state to head the "faith-based initiatives" department (newly minted dept by Brownback)....Sec Sebelius had nothing to do with these positions, which total around $200 K per yr.

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chootspa 2 years, 12 months ago

Like the contract for the lease on the Lawrence office? I hear he's really big on that. No, it was Sidekicky from Florida (hired by Brownback) that started firing experienced staff and replacing them with cronies from Florida and Washington.

"On June 8th, Eyewitness News submitted an open records request for the names and positions of SRS employees who have been fired and information about those hired to replace them. Governor Brownback’s office refused to release that information."

That's your transparent government at work.

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hedshrinker 2 years, 12 months ago

As it says in about paragraph 9: Ft Scott, Pratt, and McPherson.

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texburgh 2 years, 12 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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Bushloather1 2 years, 12 months ago

It is the political slight of hand that cultural conservatives play well. Their moronic low income base loves it. It is "What is the matter with Kansas". Hopefully Rick Perry will get the nomination and offer Sam Takeback the VP slot.

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pace 2 years, 12 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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happyscriv 2 years, 12 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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jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

The state should have kept the office open instead of creating new administrative positions with the money.

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