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Archive for Sunday, January 22, 2012

Capitol Briefing: Davis on O’Neal’s Obama email; Fee for electric vehicles; What’s next

January 22, 2012

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Bill would keep long-term care out of KanCare plan

Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to privatize Medicaid would put long-term care of those with developmental disabilities into the new plan.

But advocates for those with developmental disabilities say this is a bad idea because while the general Medicaid group requires medical attention a few times a year, those with severe developmental disabilities require more frequent, nonmedical help for day-to-day living.

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, has introduced House Bill 2457 that would “carve out” of Brownback’s proposed KanCare program the management of long-term care, nonmedical services.

“The Brownback Administration appears to be on the fast track to the privatization of Medicaid,” Ward said. “Regardless of what happens with the governor’s plan, it is important that any reform efforts are deliberate and implemented safely. We must ensure that critical services for our most vulnerable citizens are not jeopardized.”

Quotes of the week

“You just got paid $75,000 for one consulting job. I don’t think you understand.”

— Kansas NOW coordinator Kari Ann Rinker, talking to Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax plan consultant Arthur Laffer after Laffer had said he understood the plight of single parents.

“We talk about economic development, but the bottom line is we are saving lives.”

— Dr. Val Stella, distinguished professor of pharmaceutical chemistry, briefing the Senate Commerce Committee on work of Kansas University School of Pharmacy.

Davis doesn’t think O’Neal should resign

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said he doesn’t believe House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, should resign from office over forwarding controversial emails.

Davis, who has had his run-ins with O’Neal over the past several years, said O’Neal has acknowledged his mistake.

O’Neal has been under fire for forwarding an email that referred to President Barack Obama and a Bible verse that some say was threatening to the president and an email that called first lady Michelle Obama “Mrs. YoMama.” O’Neal initially defended the emails, saying they were just jokes but has since apologized.

“This is a lesson for all legislators to be very mindful what they are forwarding on email,” Davis said.

But an online group called Faithful America is continuing to try to unseat O’Neal. It collected more than 30,000 petition signatures calling for him to resign and is now lobbying Gov. Sam Brownback to pressure O’Neal to step down. And there are some legislators who say O’Neal should receive a sanction for his actions.

Fee proposed for electric, hybrid vehicles

“An electricity highway fee” would be assessed when a plug-in electric or hybrid vehicle is recharged, under a bill by state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence.

Under House Bill 2455, the amount of the fee would be determined by Kansas Department of Transportation and “shall be comparable to the motor fuel tax.” The Kansas gasoline tax is currently 24 cents per gallon.

The electricity highway fee would go to the fund that maintains streets and highways.

“I believe that such vehicles should pay the equivalent of the motor fuels tax so that they do not “ride free” when gasoline/diesel vehicles pay to maintain the system,” Sloan said.

A hearing on the measure will be 9 a.m. Tuesday before House Energy and Utilities Committee.

What’s next:

  • 9 a.m. today — Secretary of State Kris Kobach update on voter ID law before House Elections, Room 546-South.
  • Noon today — Senate redistricting committee, Room 159-South
  • 3:30 p.m. today — Kansas Board of Regents President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Tompkins presentation before House Vision 2020, Room 144-South.
  • 9 a.m. Tuesday — Actuarial review of KPERS Study Commission recommendation, Room 142-South.
  • Noon Tuesday — Rally by Kannabis Project in front of Docking Building before 1:30 p.m. informational hearing on medical marijuana before House Health and Human Services, Room 784 Docking.
  • 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — Hearings on HB 2421, Kansas firearms freedom act, and HB 2422, Personal and family protection act, before House Federal and State Affairs, Room 346-South.
  • 9 a.m. Wednesday — Kansas University Hospital Authority and cancer research update before House Appropriations, room 346-South.
  • 9 a.m. Wednesday — Gov. Sam Brownback’s Policy Director Landon Fulmer update on governor’s proposed education plan before House Education, Room 784 Docking.
  • Noon Wednesday and Thursday — Overview of Kansas Bioscience Authority audit before House and Senate commerce committees, 346-South.

Comments

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

Regarding the proposed fee for hybrid vehicles: The vehicles still pay the same tax for the gasoline they burn. While there might be an argument for taxing hybrids when they become as common as the gasoline vehicle, shouldn't there be some kind of incentive for investing the extra bucks in a hybrid, and not depleting the limited supply of oil, or emitting as much hydrocarbons into the air we breathe.

Eride 2 years, 11 months ago

Some might argue that the idea that these vehicles are better for the environment is hyperbole. There have been a lot of environmental studies done that show the net effect on the environment from these vehicles is worse in comparison to efficient combustion vehicles. A major component of this is the sizable use of rare and highly toxic elements in the battery packs for these vehicles. The environmental costs of mining and refining these elements, manufacturing the packs, disposing of the packs (which have to be disposed of more often then is ideal because they lack efficiency and reliability) has been shown to make the true environmental costs of these vehicles to be greatly increased over the costs of a modern combustion vehicle.

Considering that the vehicles might not actually be any better for the environment then a combustion vehicle, why should the state government be subsidizing them? The federal government already has highly subsidized their development... money doesn't grow on trees, there are other items that our state needs to pay for that might be more important then subsidizing someone's toy.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Do you have a source for those studies?

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

That article is about all-electric vehicles with limited trip length/charge, not hybrids.

Hybrids can travel as far as one likes, as long as you periodically fill them up with gas.

Any relevant studies?

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I do agree, though, that we need to do more comprehensive "life cycle" evaluations of these issues, in order to accurately determine what's best for the environment.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Also, the main argument seemed to be that electric car drivers wouldn't drive enough to get to the savings, because of the limited trip/charge.

That may not be at all true if charging stations are created, so that one can charge on the road - it's probably true if you have to go back home and charge your car.

wb4apr 2 years, 11 months ago

Gas cars pay a road use tax, but do not pay an environmental use tax for the air and environment they are consuming. EV's pay an environmental and air quality benefit, but are not paying a road tax. Thus there is parity now.

Raising the road use tax on EV's should be met with an equal rise in the environmental use tax of gas vehicles. This is the only fair balance. See the paper: http://aprs.org/Energy/Charging/EV-road-tax-b.doc

Conservatives want to end the free-ride of EV's. Environmentalists want to end the free-ride of gas guzzlers and fossil fuel bruning damage to the environment. Both are correct. Both should be taxed. But not until gas cars pay for the environmental damage they are doing should EV's be singled out.

Bob

cgarlow 2 years, 11 months ago

Right on, Bob. Gas cars are also responsible for our Addiction to Oil, which means more of our troops in harm's way in the Middle East. Meanwhile, my electric vehicle can charge up on wind or solar energy. No or next to no pollution from my vehicle. That is another reason that EVs should be given preference, if not parity.

bearded_gnome 2 years, 11 months ago

reread the article. they're not talking about hybrids psychofont.

note the "plugging in" ref. they're talking about all electric vehicles.

and btw, what you've been posting lately totally discredits you. ugly evil posting.

mloburgio 2 years, 11 months ago

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson You believe that no matter who’s in the White House, the office, if not the man himself is deserving of your respect. The only exceptions to this rule, are if his middle name sounds Muslim, and if he’s not at least as white as that black guy who works down in the mailroom at the capital.

Fascism is a right-wing trait.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

“You just got paid $75,000 for one consulting job. I don’t think you understand.”

— Kansas NOW coordinator Kari Ann Rinker, talking to Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax plan consultant Arthur Laffer after Laffer had said he understood the plight of single parents.

So sick and tired of this mentality, as if someone that makes a living is incapable of understanding how someone else might struggle or the difficulties they face. It ain't Quantum Physics or Chaos Theory, Kari. But perpetuate class warfare some more, that'll help.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, some may be able to empathize with those in very different circumstances, but most people understand and appreciate things they've experienced themselves much more deeply.

It's not class warfare to point that out, and to point out that those making $75,000 for one job have little in common with those who don't make 1/2 of that in 1 year.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Please, jafs. Your first paragraph is common sense. And it's not just empathy, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand what it would be like with little or no money.
Yes, it is a perpetuation of "class warfare" to throw that useless nugget out there. Feeling it necessary to "point out they have nothing in common" is part and parcel to the same mentality. They're human beings and they know what it's like to provide for a family and can certainly grasp how difficult that can be, on both sides. Lot of commonality right there.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I have no real understanding of what it's like to be on welfare, food stamps, etc. - I've never been on them, and I've never known anyone who has been.

In the same vein, I really have no good understanding of what it's like to be very rich.

I didn't say "nothing" in common, I said "little".

The experience of raising a family when one is wealthy has little in common with the experience of doing so when poor, I'd think.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

No, the only thing they don't have in common is money. And anybody smart enough to become rich is certainly smart enough to consider the factors for someone on welfare. They ain't stupid. And it ain't rocket science.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Wow.

Well, I see little common ground here.

If you believe that somebody who is wealthy has the same experience of raising children as someone on welfare, I think you're completely off base.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

And if you think someone who's "wealthy" doesn't have the mental capacity to see the flip side of the coin, you're part of the problem.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Even your language is odd.

"Factors" and "flip side" of a coin, "mental capacity", etc.

It's very intellectual, as if this is some sort of math equation.

Which may very well be, for the wealthy person thinking about a poor person raising a family, but it's not at all for the poor person.

I never said a wealthy person is stupid, although I don't agree that they're necessarily that smart either. But real understanding/compassion aren't intellectual attributes.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Understanding isn't an intellectual attribute? It's the cornerstone of intellect. It's this mentality that you share w/ the NOW director that's helping divide "classes" of people; Thing is, in the end we're all people. And we're all incredibly similar, regardless the bank account. Chastising the one's that have the ability to help (the intelligent and wealthy) for, in essence, being out-of-touch because they don't have the misfortune of being poor, is backwards-ass thinking, and does absolutely nothing to advance progress whatsoever.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm going to stop responding after this comment.

Of course, we're all people.

I never chastised anybody for any such thing.

You took offense at the idea that wealthy people don't really understand what it's like to be poor - I think it's generally true, unless they came from those circumstances originally.

It's equally true that poor people don't really understand what it's like to be rich, unless they were previously rich and then lost all their money.

That's my opinion.

I'm not sure why it bothers you so much, but it seems to bother you a lot.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

That's swell, jafs. I know a 7 year old that likes to do the same thing; get the last word in and run away.

Rich children might not know what it's like to be poor, but my point is that any adult with a brain, knows the value of money and has even a moderate rational and logical imagination can certainly understand what it means to be poor.

And the only thing bothering me now is your desire to put up dividing lines between classes, based on the class they're already in. That and your desire to be obstinate and contrary and then running away.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Ok - I'll break my comment to stop responding.

But, I have to say that your attitude and language is provocative and a bit insulting, and it doesn't really make me want to keep discussing things with you.

Actually, if I hadn't responded again, you'd be the one to "get the last word".

I think you're mistaken - let me give you an example. I knew a young guy that got a Mazda Miata for his 18th birthday - when I said "That's great!", he responded, somewhat dismissively, "Well, it's used."

Although I can see and understand intellectually that he has a very different attitude than I do, I can't really imagine what it would feel like to feel so entitled, and to not appreciate and be grateful for a gift like that.

If I had ever gotten that huge of a gift (which I never have), I would feel tremendously appreciative and grateful. It would never occur to me to dismiss it with a "it's used" comment.

I think it also works the other way - people who've been raised expecting a lot don't really understand what it's like not to feel that way.

And, since I've never been poor, I can't really understand what that's like either - not to have food, or worry about having it, etc. My understanding of that is limited to the same sort of intellectual level as my understanding of the rich.

I haven't put up any lines, or anything like that - it seems to me that you're arguing with a lot of things I've never said, or meant.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Insisting that someone with money can't comprehend what it's like to be poor is dividing classes.
Also, it seems you've got a mindset that the wealthy have always been that way, never had to scrape by ever, and can't possibly relate. That's ludicrous. My father was an army officer and I still know what it's like to have my clothes home-made and what powdered milk looks and taste like. I worked my way through school eating Ramen and handfuls of chinese noodles half the time. Now I'm what most would consider wealthy. And I'd bet the majority of wealthy people in this nation came along the same way. Gates and Jobs started in a garage. George Soros ran from the Nazi's, worked as a railroad porter and waiter, and sold knick knacks by the docks.
Comments like the NOW director made, along with the mentality that though someone is educated and successful, they can't possibly understand what a less fortunate person is enduring are preposterous and detrimental to progress as a society. In fact, it's intellectually void.

The entitlement attitude among our youth is disturbing and disconcerting, but that immaturity isn't to be found in professional men like Laffer who's spent his life studying economics. Do you really think an expert on the economy can't relate to poverty?

As to your feeling insulted, I've told you about this before. You have a penchant for being contrary just for it's sake alone, and this isn't the first time you've attempted to "ring and run." Ticks me off. Sorry 'bout that.

wb4apr 2 years, 11 months ago

Gas cars pay a road use tax, but do not pay an environmental use tax for the air and environment they are consuming. EV's pay an environmental and air quality benefit, but are not paying a road tax. Thus there is parity now.

Raising the road use tax on EV's should be met with an equal rise in the environmental use tax of gas vehicles. This is the only fair balance. See the paper: http://aprs.org/Energy/Charging/EV-road-tax-b.doc

Conservatives want to end the free-ride of EV's. Environmentalists want to end the free-ride of gas guzzlers and fossil fuel bruning damage to the environment. Both are correct. Both should rise.

Bob

classclown 2 years, 11 months ago

“An electricity highway fee” would be assessed when a plug-in electric or hybrid vehicle is recharged, under a bill by state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence.

==============================================

How exactly will the government know when someone is charging their electric vehicle? Smart meters?

Makes one wonder what other electrical uses the government through Westar plans to keep tabs on with the future possibility of placing a tax or surcharge on? Perhaps a fossil fuels charge if you watch tv over a prescribed length of time. Or leave a light on all night.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

There should be a fee for the disposal of the charred remains of Chevy Volts.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

We may all be driving hybrid and electric cars some day, buy they probably will not be Volts. "DETROIT -- Some Chevrolet dealers are turning down Volts that General Motors wants to ship to them, a potential stumbling block as GM looks to accelerate sales of the plug-in hybrid. For example, consider the New York City market. Last month, GM allocated 104 Volts to 14 dealerships in the area, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dealers took just 31 of them, the lowest take rate for any Chevy model in that market last month. That group of dealers ordered more than 90 percent of the other vehicles they were eligible to take, the source said. In Clovis, Calif., meanwhile, Brett Hedrick, dealer principal at Hedrick's Chevrolet, sold 10 Volts last year. But in December and January he turned down all six Volts allocated to him under GM's "turn-and-earn" system, which distributes vehicles based on past sales volumes and inventory levels. GM's "thinking we need six more Volts is just crazy," Hedrick says. "We've never sold more than two in a month." Hedrick says he usually takes just about every vehicle that GM allocates to him. ;;" Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20120123/RETAIL07/301239977#ixzz1kJr6d7su

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