Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brownback administration shutting down Kansas Main Street program

September 20, 2012, 4:01 p.m. Updated September 21, 2012, 9:59 a.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is discontinuing the Kansas Main Street program, which has, for nearly three decades, been used to help revitalize downtowns across the state.

Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary Pat George on Thursday cited “smaller state and federal budgets moving forward” for the decision to shut down the Main Street program, lay off employees and do other restructuring. He said 18 positions are affected throughout the Commerce Department.

“The decision to eliminate positions is never an easy one, especially with associates that have dedicated considerable time, energy and passion to the department and to serving the people of Kansas. I hope that this restructuring eliminates the need for further staff reductions in the future,” George said.

George said he made the decision to restructure in consultation with the administration.

The Kansas Main Street program, which is under the Commerce Department, has been a popular one since its inception in 1985. The program provides management training, consultation and dollars to small towns to revitalize downtown areas. The Commerce Department’s website says the 2012 Kansas Main Street conference scheduled for October in Emporia has been canceled.

In addition to shutting down the Kansas Main Street Program, George said, several other divisions will be downsized or merged.

“The department must restructure in order to meet expected smaller state and federal budgets moving forward,” he said. “In addition, the department also must focus on core functions that will provide the greatest opportunities to develop the best business environment and to increase private-sector job growth for Kansas.”


autie 5 years, 9 months ago

Sam Brownback and his roadmap for Kansas. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Frank A Janzen 5 years, 9 months ago

Will the last one to leave small-town Kansas please turn off the light.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 9 months ago

But we don't tax the super rich and they bring us jobs,jobs,jobs right?

If we eliminate the small towns, the land will devalue where us christians can get it cheap, farm it sos we self sufficient and the fed can go to heck, the poor and dark people will work for us without raisin their uppity voices, and the White Republic of Kansas will rise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"The decision to eliminate positions is never an easy one"

Liar-- you drown them in the bathtub with ideological glee.

bevy 5 years, 9 months ago

I worked at KDOC for a few years, a long time ago. The Mainstreet program was a great idea. Unfortunately it doesn't benefit big corporations or those already wealthy - therefore it must go! Condolences to the good folks who are losing their jobs.

WilburM 5 years, 9 months ago

Great news for small Kansas towns. Sure, some expenses, but a great program for all the places Brownback claims to desire to help. but with low taxes, I'm sure they'll be overrun with new residents.

5 years, 9 months ago

small towns don't need main streets full of locally-owned business, all they need is one big box retail building in the form of a wal-mart. why keep those dollars local when we can ship them out to arkansas?

Patricia Davis 5 years, 9 months ago

I think you failed to read this was a government program not a private sector job. rc77. This is what you get more of when you elect the RR's: if it isn't good for C Street neocons, it's not good for America.

Alyosha 5 years, 9 months ago

Your point that this is what the private sector does is wholly immaterial. The private sector is, by definition, not the public sector. Where do you get the idea that a government — especially the government of Kansas — is to be, and even can be, run as a business?

A business exists to make money and profit. Governments exist to "to insure the full enjoyment of our rights as American citizens," specifically in Kansas, and in the US the government exists "to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

Nowhere in the founding generation was there a belief that government should be "run like a business" as many now seem to desire. And your understanding of economics and the role of a president in general, and President Obama in particular, is woefully lacking real world insight.

Just today Republicans in the Senate blocked "a $1 billion jobs program putting veterans back to work tending to the country's federal lands and bolstering local police and fire departments."

Republicans, not Obama, are blocking jobs creation — and it matters not a whit to the people needing jobs, nor to the economy at large that would benefit from their having jobs, whether the money paying for the jobs comes from government or the private sector.

It's the confusion that government needs to "be run like a business" that is keeping layoffs and joblessness going, not Obama.

Your disinformation, rockchalk, is detrimental to the general welfare.

overthemoon 5 years, 9 months ago

Agree, Alyosha. Shocking ignorance. And its belligerent , willful ignorance that refuses to ever adjust to fact or reality.

Enlightenment 5 years, 9 months ago

Big businesses profited significantly from the recession. Profits increased, production increased, but the profits weren't shared with employees and employment did not expand.

overthemoon 5 years, 9 months ago

Try reality on for size some time. You'd be surprised how nice it is. Guess you haven't noticed that your taxes are the lowest they've been in 50 years.

Corey Williams 5 years, 9 months ago

"I almost forgot, the primary role of government is to employ people who can't find jobs in the private sector.

"Nationally, all of the military branches, both active and reserve, met or exceeded recruiting goals in January and February. National Guard recruitment is also doing very well." I guess sometimes you are more right than you know.

overthemoon 5 years, 9 months ago

I find the joker avatar almost as revolting as the ignorance and misinformation displayed in the comment.

Ray Petty 5 years, 9 months ago

rockchalk1977 has it exactly back-ass-wards: the reason revenues are down is because those who have all the dough want more of it -- and that will happen with GOP administrations who don't give a tinkers-damn about the 47% who according to Romney live off the government and don't pay any income taxes. Wake up and smell the coffee while you still have coffee to smell!

headdoctor 5 years, 9 months ago

Yup. The upper half consider the bottom half parasites even though it is the bottom half that actually moves the basic economy by doing the lower paid jobs and circulating their money and borrowing to exist and raise families. The group between 50 and 80 percent also have their input to economy but would have much less if the bottom 50 percent didn't exist just by the nature of where their incomes are from. The true parasites are the wealthy that set on their money and try to hoard more in various forms of investment and move it in and out of circulation only for their benefit.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

Less revenue because of Brownback's tax cuts equals more layoffs and the end of a program which tried to help keep small Kansas towns viable.

But I thought the tax cuts would bring us more jobs and all sorts of economic good stuff.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

Seems like another counter-productive move which probably loses the state more money than it saves. One might bet the idea that Brownback wants to destroy Kansas.

I wonder if he's bought land in Paraguay also.

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

too late for lawrence anyway............. down town is nothing but bars.............. the only ones that can survive ................. with what the city deals the store owners with property taxes ..........

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Remind me to stop shopping at Brits. It's now a bar.

Alyosha 5 years, 9 months ago

"Downtown is nothing but bars."

Um, Weaver's ring a bell? Or hair salons or the hardware store or restaurants or clothing stores etc etc?

See what happens when claims aren't thought through before posting? They are easily dismissed as wholly wrong. Why would anyone want to post claims that are so wrong and so easily shown to be?

Makes one think the commenter has never been to Lawrence.

Alyosha 5 years, 9 months ago

"the primary role of government is to employ people who can't find jobs in the private sector."

No one said or intimated any such thing.

Try harder, rockchalk.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

It gets noisy at the trough when the farmer brings a little less food.

It seems patently unfair that a business should be awarded government assistance because it is in the right part of town.

Also, Kansas needs to handle state business and nose out of incorporated cities which have elected officials to best serve the needs of local small business.

Central Lawrence has minor historical significance and the state probably should help preserve that historical importance, if the local government cannot, with infrastructure.

If the state wants to help business they can cut the sales tax.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

Interesting. You wouldn't buy 8% more food if you didn't have to pay taxes at the grocery store?

Must be nice.

deec 5 years, 9 months ago

I live in an enlightened state where there is no sales tax on food. I don't buy more food because there is no sales tax. I just buy what I need.

riverdrifter 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe that Governor Brownback will come to rue the day he totally abandoned small town Kansas. What's uncertain is whether these voters can see through the teabag smoke screen. Time will tell.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

I think that Gov Brownback is giving the middle finger to all of us. Vindictive and vengeful. He knows he is hated and he's going to do as much damage as he can. He's not even bothering to try to cover for himself anymore.

Methinks maybe the Kochs told him he's not going to be president.

PhilChiles 5 years, 9 months ago

Here's what I want to know: How can small businesses survive in small town that are slowly, but surely, crumbling to pieces? I spend a lot of time in small town Kansas and very, very few small towns will even exist in any practical sense in a few decades. With advances in farming technology there just isn't much reason for many people to live in rural areas, and the young ones sure aren't sticking around. I guess I'm just curious as to what this department's solution is, if anyone has any idea please share. If they can help with this problem then it's a shame that they'll be gone.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

I now live in small town Kansas. Yes, it's often a struggle and many have disappeared, but many are still viable. Farming still takes a number of people and I'm not sure that number will go down much in the future. Mechanization can only go so far. People still need gas, and they still gather at the local cafe. They have mortuaries and flower shops and libraries. Despite what is often said, I still see farms being passed down through the generations. People come back to retire. Some fairly small towns have colleges, some of which are unique in their offerings and attract students from throughout the country and even from overseas. Some small towns are even expanding with new developments. People move out from the larger cities and commute.

Some have large and even several retirement communities.

Does anyone know what the budget was for this? Is it another "arts" fiasco where more will be lost forever?

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Small towns could survive if they had great infrastructure - trains, great roads, broadband, access to services. People like a small town - like around 50k people or so. It's a nice size. But once you get smaller than that, it's just going to keep shrinking unless it's right next to a big town where you can get access to services.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

I was talking about small towns, not small cities---the ones with several hundred or several thousand people. In the central part of Kansas there are still many of them, for instance Strong City/Cottonwood Falls, Peabody and Walton, which are all just off Highway 50. Walton has a grade school which attracks kids from surrounding towns. Cassidy, the only turnpike exit between Emporia and El Dorado, attracks motocyclists for Sunday breakfast even from out of state. Some people commute 50 miles or more to work in Wichita.

I know there are other small towns in the state which have great antique stores and weird collections that people actually travel to see, rodeos and Fourth of July fireworks displays. These are the kinds of towns the state should be helping---places that people do travel to and where there is a strong sense of community. We would all be less without these kinds of towns in our state.

The only conclusion I can come to is that Gov Brownback is purposely destroying all that is good about our state. We HAVE to find a viable alternate for the next election.

headdoctor 5 years, 9 months ago

Central Kansas might still have a chance to survive. Western Kansas is pretty much flushed. The so called advances in farming technology have done nothing but turn Western Kansas into a hazardous waste area. The ground water in the northern part is full of nitrates and other chemicals. There is a several county area where children under 6 shouldn't drink the water. In the South part they have a similar problem but they have added E. coli to the mix from all the huge feed lots. The situation will only get worse without Government intervention and that will not be happening anytime soon with modern Republicans running the show.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh don't worry. That same water will now be flammable with all the fracking they'll push through over there.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

He opened his mouth both times, didn't he?

fiddleback 5 years, 9 months ago

The Brownback administration is proud to present its latest infomercial, entitled "Never You Mind," about the bright future of small town Kansas...

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

Did Florida kill the main street program too. Brownback was caught off guard by the blowback when the cut funding for recreational trails. I wonder how much blowback there will be on this.

Mike1949 5 years, 9 months ago

Everyone say this coming. That is what republicans do, they tell you they are creating jobs right before they fire you!

Doug Fisher 5 years, 9 months ago

Further proof that Sam Brownieback doesn't care about small town KS. Hopefully, voters wise up and quit electing officials that go against their interests!

msezdsit 5 years, 9 months ago

"The decision to eliminate positions is never an easy one, especially with Associates that have dedicated considerable time, energy and passion to the Department and to serving the people of Kansas."

Brownback =decimation of kansas. The assault on Kansas continues and by all means let the small towns go on ahead and turn into 3rd world towns. The brownback way.

Destroying kansas should start at the grass roots of kansas small towns. They can have a bake sale and buy their own damn bucket of paint. Besides, if you can make Kansas seem worse than Mexico, then the mexicns will simply not want to come here. The "me, me, me" party shows its generosity again.

I can only hope that this sends a message to the people in those towns of "how important they are to brownback" when they use their voter ID's.

headdoctor 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe this pretty well explains what Brownback is up to. I guess the Koch Brothers now have their own state sponsored marketing system.

The discontinuation is part of the Kansas Department of Commerce’s restructuring. Included in the restructuring is the merger of the Trade Division with the Business and Community Development Division. Kansas Main Street was part of the Business and Community Development Division.

“By combining the Trade Division with the Business and Community Development Division, the Department can better integrate our programs that help companies promote their products and services in international markets with our business recruitment and community development efforts,”

“Our commitment to supporting Kansas companies as they grow their export opportunities remains a key focus in our efforts to expand the state’s economy and create jobs.”

headdoctor 5 years, 9 months ago

On the bright side several towns have developed their own main street programs set up as separate entities from the State and have access to the National Main Street program. The biggest loss will be the interest free matching loans from the Kansas Department of Commerce that was funded from the Lottery.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 9 months ago

What is the matter Gov. Brownback? Not getting enough headlines on National News? Not getting laughed at enough by the Late Night TV crowd? Not tired of being dismissed with snorts of derision by your former colleagues in Congress? Well, I guess you showed them,huh? Small minds, Large egos! Welcome to Kansas Government Brownback style!

StanHernly 5 years, 9 months ago

Actions speak louder than words and this governor's actions defy his own words of support for small towns in Rural Kansas. The Kansas Main Street program is a proven success. It supports local governments, it supports local businesses, and it supports small-town community members. It creates jobs for local carpenters, masons, trades people, businesses, and restaurants. The tangible positive results of this program are evident in communities like Ottawa just south of Lawrence. When state tax revenue is on the rise it is an ominous statement to project drops in revenue and to highlight the need for program cuts in the future. What will Kansans do for the next two years, hunkered down or rise up?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

With people like Sam Brownback on the planet and the NOT GOP in general explains why buying a new home or a relatively new home has become dumb as hell !

This ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance.

This ENTITLEMENT Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern.

Jobs,wages and property values are so much at risk it makes sense to sell and buy down = go restore an older home. Keep the mortgage wayyyyy down to something one might be able to afford with a lower paying job.

Basing the economy on housing starts is simply beyond reality. Republicans can put one out of house,a job,medical insurance and blow retirement plans in a matter of seconds.

Sam Brownback has done it again. Did he learn this skill while employed in the beltway?

Dick Sengpiehl 5 years, 9 months ago

This only the beginning. When Brownback's tax cuts occur, we will be $2.5 billion in debt in short order. Koch Brothers happy. More cuts coming. Local units will have to increase taxes. It's "arithmetic", stupid. Can't believe the Koch Brothers are sponsoring a speech by Laffer with the approval of the KU Business School. He's the author of the Supply Side economic theory which has never been proven.

headdoctor 5 years, 9 months ago

I am pretty sure that most people understand that spending has to be cut. The problem is politicians at all levels will not cut what really should be cut.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

The gravy train is empty, because they dumped it out on top of Koch headquarters.

Lauren Baruth-Stromberg 5 years, 9 months ago

Soo.... creating jobs is unnecessary? 'Cus I'm pretty sure that revitalizing a community (uh hem, contracting a construction company) would do that.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 9 months ago

To Lieutenant:Ever Been into the KU Business School Building? Almost every thing in the building has a plaque by it saying it was donated by KOCH Industries. KU Business School is under the influence of KOCH Industries.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 9 months ago

Welcome to "fly-over Kansas"!!!! Those little patches of clearing you see from the air used to be Kansas towns. Brownback Burg and Kobach Viille. The inept "governer" voted in to office by addled republican voters decided to ditch them, due to their tug on the economy. Word has it that the gove is going to encourage the Sierra Club to plant grass on the bones of what used to be Kansas communities.

Lauren Baruth-Stromberg 5 years, 9 months ago

Yet another reason to be embarrased of Kansas. WTG Brownback! The small communities of Kansas salute you. Who wants to start a company doing ghost town tours?

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