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Archive for Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lawrence legislators say they hope Kansans will turn the tide on current policies

April 13, 2013

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State Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, speaks Saturday during Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues meeting at the Holiday Inn. Seated beside Wilson is state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence. Also speaking at the event were state Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. The Legislature returns May 8 to work on the state budget and tax issues.

State Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, speaks Saturday during Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues meeting at the Holiday Inn. Seated beside Wilson is state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence. Also speaking at the event were state Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. The Legislature returns May 8 to work on the state budget and tax issues.

Lawrence legislators on Saturday expressed pessimism about the state budget and tax situation, but said they were optimistic that Kansans will eventually reject the conservative Republican policies that dominate the Kansas Legislature.

"People in Kansas will figure out that this model, which has never worked anywhere else, isn't going to work here," House Democratic Leader Paul Davis said at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues event.

Davis was referring to tax changes signed into law last year by Brownback that cut state income tax rates, eliminated income taxes for the owners of nearly 200,000 businesses, and removed credits aimed at helping low-income Kansans.

This year, Brownback has called for the permanent extension of the 6.3 percent state sales tax, which was supposed to decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1, elimination of homeowner tax breaks, and further income tax cuts.

Brownback has said cutting income taxes will boost the economy, while Democrats say the cuts benefit the wealthy at the expense of low-income Kansans and key state functions, such as education and social services.

The 2013 Kansas Legislature is on a month-long break before it will return May 8 to work on a state budget and tax plan.

The massive tax cuts from last year are causing legislators to scurry for revenue sources to balance the budget.

At the chamber forum held at the Holiday Inn Lawrence Hotel and Convention Center, legislators said cuts to higher education, raids on the state highway program, and continuation of the temporary sales increase were all in the mix.

At one point, the legislative panel was asked in a written question from an audience member if they could "recommend a nice state to move to."

The legislators said Kansans who disagree with the current policies need to get involved in the political process.

"We can't necessarily continue to rely on form letters and Facebook posts," state Rep. John Wilson, a freshman Democratic legislator, said. "We really need to find ways to push back."

State Rep. Tom Sloan, a moderate Republican, said if the current economic and political climate remains for the next two or three years, Kansas will see big changes in what state government provides.

He said higher education will become more privatized like in Colorado, and the public education and mental health systems will be trimmed back. He said funding for the arts and public broadcasting will also "go away."

State Sen. Marci Francisco, a Democrat, said the current state budget problems are directly linked to cuts in taxes.

"This is a situation we put ourselves in because we decided we didn't need revenue," she said.

Comments

Phil Minkin 1 year, 8 months ago

Sadly, Dems can't beat Brownback with good wishes. When will a viable candidate appear? It's not too early for some one to emerge and start raising money to somehow compete with Koch dollars.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 8 months ago

I agree but who? Brownback needs to be challenged. I like some of what he's done but he's done enough of what I don't like to vote against him if there is a better option. And right now they'd only have to be a slightly better option.

George_Braziller 1 year, 8 months ago

Unfortunately Brownback still has almost two more years in office and two full legislative sessions ahead of him. Plenty of time for him finish destroying whatever he hasn't gotten to yet and bankrupt the State.

Phil Minkin 1 year, 8 months ago

There is the persistent rumor that Sandy Praeger may switch parties and run against BB.

verity 1 year, 8 months ago

I think that is more wishful thinking than anything. However, I have emailed her encouraging her to run. Please do the same if you support her. We're fast running out of time.

jafs 1 year, 8 months ago

I think it might be better for her to run as a R in the primaries.

Bob Forer 1 year, 8 months ago

Historically, It is very difficult for a moderate republican challenger to beat a conservative republican incumbent in the primary. The right wing is very well organized and have demonstrated a consistent ability to turn out their supporters in large numbers. This is especially crucial where the numbers of voters is always markedly less in the primaries as opposed to the general election.

This is precisely why Paul Morrison switched parties in his successful bid for attorney general. He didn't stand a chance of beating Kline in the republican primary, but soundly whupped him in the general election.

jafs 1 year, 8 months ago

Hmm.

You could be right. But, what if D and I registered as R and voted in those primaries as well?

Do you think Praeger would have a chance as a D against BB?

globehead 1 year, 8 months ago

That's what should be happening anyway. If one really wants an input in Kansas politics, we all should be registered as R for no other reason than to put the best R candidate on the ballot. Then, in the general election, we can vote for whomever we want. Often, there are 4-5 primary R candidates and one primary D. So, the D candidate is a shoe-in for being on the general ballot. However, the R primary field is so split, that desirable and capable R candidates never make it to the general election. With too many one party voters in the state already, we end up with the R candidate wearing the biggest tin foil propeller hat winning it all. That's how we end up with the Huelscamps, Rubins, Brownbacks, Morons and why the Owens lose and the Parkinsons switch parties.

verity 1 year, 8 months ago

I agree, globehead. I registered Republican to vote in the primary, as did many in my area and we have the only moderate to survive Brownback/Koch's onslaught. I decided it wasn't worth it to keep reregistering and that also costs the county money. Some of my Democratic friends aren't real happy, but they haven't said I couldn't come to their meetings.

If Praeger runs, I have no doubt she will have studies done to figure out the best way to do it, so I'm not going to worry about that at this point.

sciencegeek 1 year, 8 months ago

The voices of reason in the Republican party were destroyed by the lies and half-truths spread thickly before the last primary. No one can compete with Koch dollars because 1) they have more than some small countries, and 2) they feel no compunction to get anywhere near the truth. They've scared off any moderate Republicans and Democrats that might run. As long as people are intent on believing their smear tactics, we're all sunk.

Brownback will have free reign to destroy this state and move to Texas when he's done. Heck, he's even started selling off state property in Topeka 'cuz he knows no one can stop him. Doesn't matter to him--he won't be living here any way. If only the Koch brothers would move with him!

RCJay 1 year, 8 months ago

The problem is the Democrats tax and spend policies don't work either. There needs to be some middle ground, but neither side is willing to compromise. Brownback's policies seem better than Sebelius' policies as far as getting businesses to come to Kansas and get us out of the Obama depression.

George_Braziller 1 year, 8 months ago

The economy collapsed during the Bush administration. Obama inherited the situation when he took office.

Richard Crank 1 year, 8 months ago

No, blaming Pres. Bush for what happened while he was in office is like blaming Turner Gill for losing football games while he was coach and nothing more. Now, I personally thought Coach Gill deserved more time to turn what he inherited around, but that wasn't my decision. The American people, though, decided just that with Pres. Obama.

Cliff Sperry 1 year, 8 months ago

@ RCJay-So, you really think SB's "policies" are better than Sebelius'?! I won't hold my breath waiting for businesses to rush to a broken state. Get us out of whose depression? It was a recession caused under Bush and is getting better. There is no magic pill, & the obstructionist GOP in Washington haven't helped a bit.

Punt 1 year, 8 months ago

There are many excellent point sprinkled throughout the comments. As a state Kansas has produced over the decades exceptional leaders for this country. We will continue to do so. Name calling is a cop-out for not wanting to take the responsibility to do the hard work ahead on behalf of the people in this great state. Regarding the wealthy and the radical right governing by fear and hate, divisiveness pitting people against each other, this bill board says it all "Republicans are too EXTREME for America." As my Grandpa use to say, "Time to through the bum out". So what is it more of the same or cooperative action drawing upon the best and brightest, no matter their political or religious identity. I wonder, where are our fellow Kansan's with the character, courage, and conscience to step forward. To remain quiet is to be a part of the problem, not the solution. We have choices.

wastewatcher 1 year, 8 months ago

The LIBERAL DEMS seem to forget the years of LIBERAL SEBELIUS when budget cuts to schools, universities, and social services were made along with taxes and support for local government. It is time for the Dems to offer real alternatives and quit whining.. Elections have consequences and the LIBERALS have been soundly rejected at the polls in the last two elections, including Lawrence's own LIBERAL pride and joy, Tom Holland.

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

You know, typing LIBERAL in all caps doesn't actually turn a moderate into one.

Randy Leonard 1 year, 8 months ago

Apparently the conservatives digital form of shouting down opposing opinions and bullying is to use uppercase when typing.

UneasyRider 1 year, 8 months ago

Seems some posters don't understand that LIBERAL actually means intelligent, thinking, reasonable individuals with some common sense.

PhilChiles 1 year, 8 months ago

Dude! Have you even been to the rest of Kansas? Do you know anything about it? Crumbling infrastructure, dying communities, etc? It's pretty sad. I think we must be doing SOMETHING right here.

tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

toe needs to come out of his bunker and look at the rest of Kansas.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 8 months ago

Looks like Charlie and David bought themselves a state. Too bad it's teetering on the brink of being another Somalia. Of course they don't care that half the state is slated to turn into a desert in the next decade or so and that outward migration is so bad that it's giving a whole new meaning to the term, "Bleeding Kansas". It just means there's a lot fewer people to whine about the toxic effects of fracking or getting in the way of the Keystone pipeline.
In the meantime, you have a governor tossing out zany ideas like tax breaks for people moving into depopulated areas (despite the fact that there's no industry or infrastructure to support them) and tourism on the Kaw (!) just so he LOOKS like he's doing something to "turn the state around".
I dunno. It looks to me like the state is on life support and the death rattle is getting worse by the day.

In_God_we_trust 1 year, 8 months ago

"It looks to me like the state is on life support and the death rattle is getting worse by the day."

The entire country is on life support, and Kansas is in better shape than most states, because Gov. Brownback has helped to cut back State spending. The President's policies and Congress regulations have crushed the economy. Gov. Brownback has done some good things in Kansas by creating an attractive climate which favors future businesses and jobs.

But when will the city of Lawrence learn that you can't spend and tax your way to prosperity. Soon the City of Lawrence, with their overspending policies, will be on life support too.

tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

Kansas faired better than most states period, because we have always had moderates of both parties making decisions. We didn't have crazy banks and realtors pushing mcmansions to people who couldn't afford them. Our housing bubble was rather small. Now we have radicals using Kansas as an ALEC experiment. Brownback isn't the economic conservative you think he is. Well, he wants the poor to pay more for less, but he isn't giving up any of his perks.

http://www.kctv5.com/story/19944240/kctv5-investigates-kansas-governor-sam-brownback-spending

In_God_we_trust 1 year, 8 months ago

“We need that person who has that entrepreneurial spirit who says, ‘I’ve got a dream, and I know how to get things done,"

These companies need grant funding to get off the ground. (Money that is seed money that doesn't need to be paid back). That is what prevents most businesses from getting started.

tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

Most businesses go to a bank and borrow the money. Welfare businesses aren't welcome.

ProudDad 1 year, 8 months ago

When pushing the proverbial voting button, it is now time to push the RESET Kansas 2014 button. RESET = Republican Extremists Start Exiting Topeka!

ProudDad 1 year, 8 months ago

RESET = Republican Extremists Start Exiting Topeka

Patricia Davis 1 year, 8 months ago

I know that third parties have not had a great run. However, in Kansas where so many people do not THINK but simply vote Republican, it may be time for a new name party that takes the best of the two and makes it a special Kansas blend: fiscally conservative but fair and not driven by the whip masters of socially divisive issues. Keep religion out of politics. Be tolerant of differences. Invest in education and infrastructure. Repeal Brownback's tax policies.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 8 months ago

The real problem is the existance of the State of Kansas west of Toperka. This huge area of the state is populated by a large segment of people who are anti-progressive, pro rural, anti-cooperative , pro-bucolic and generally ignorant and illiterate. As long as this segment of the population remain as they are, slugs like Brownback and Kobach will be he darlings of the people.

tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

And yet, Johnson county voted for Brownback.

sciencegeek 1 year, 8 months ago

Although I have heard from a number of Repubs in Johnson County who wish they hadn't. They think that they were fed a bill of goods by Brownback, who didn't reveal his REAL agenda until he got into power.

Matter of fact, I've heard that from a number of voters. The key is to get the reasonable Kansans off their couches to go vote. If they did, we could get rid of this crowd of extremists.

verity 1 year, 8 months ago

Wow, that is a whole lot of blanket generalizations.

I am from west of Tope[r]ka and am considered quite liberal, as are many of my friends.

I'm not so ignorant and illiterate as to not be able to spell our state capital correctly.

If you are a rural person, of course you would be pro rural. And you don't get too far running a farm if you are ignorant and illiterate---nor do you operate without the cooperation of others in the community.

Alienating a big portion of the population is not going to win you any races. We're in this together.

globehead 1 year, 8 months ago

Yeoman2....No! They are not "generally ignorant and illiterate". They certainly do have a different and sometimes hypocritical attitude about the need for government programs. It's remarkable how many times a Kansas elected official ie: Brownback, Huelscamp, Carlson, etc. want to cut funding or services of government, but they & their families turn up on lists showing them to be beneficiaries of government largess in the form of liberal crop subsidies. I think what they have is very questionable integrity. No doubt they represent many of their supporters.

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