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spaceman_spiff (Tyler Palmer)

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Merrick to remain Kansas House speaker in 2015-16

Looks like Kansas voters are about to get what they apparently asked for: yet another legislature and leaders that are intent on continuing to make the state as unattractive as possible for businesses and individuals by looking for ways to continue to cut funds from (aka "find efficiencies") and harm the education, infrastructure, and public services that businesses and individuals are actually interested in when looking for a place to relocate to.

Why weren't these so-called "efficiencies" ever a priority in years past? It's not like the GOP hasn't been in control of the state budget for decades and had plenty of time to construct efficient budgets to prepare the state for a huge loss in revenue from tax cuts. Perhaps a responsible look at what services the state needs to provide and how much it costs to provide those services to see what's feasible before reducing revenue might have been a good idea. Contrary to the governor's lies, it's not like the budget issues weren't seen coming.

Empty rhetoric about finding efficiencies after the fact and talking about even more cuts to revenue on top of what's been done will continue to cause damage to the state that will likely take decades to recover from if Kansas ever elects a responsible legislature. Look for this lot to trot out the old "broaden the tax base" rhetoric as an excuse to raise sales taxes at the same time they push more of the funding burden down to the local levels where it can't be sustained. I've got a shocker for them: people with limited incomes don't have hidden pools of extra dollars available to pay additional sales taxes and fees. Raising sales taxes and fees means many folks have to buy less, not more. Forcing local governments to raise property taxes to make up for state government failures means people will have less money available for purchases, not more. Supply side economics and Laffer's unfounded ideas haven't worked for the 30 years they've been foisted on the US, they aren't going to suddenly start working now.

We've seen most other states in the region do much better than Kansas at attracting businesses and families without the need to gut their state budgets with fiasco tax cuts that benefit a limited few. Businesses want access to an educated work force and reliable infrastructure, not elimination of state income taxes without the alternative sources of revenue required to maintain public services.

December 2, 2014 at 12:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

New City Hall report shows city's finances tightening in some areas

Seems like each new week brings a new tax abatement or other give-away to private developers that shifts the financial risks and burden to the public instead of the private developer without creating any new, long-term jobs or property tax benefit in the community. If the area is as ripe for a particular private business venture as we are constantly being told by developers (eg. the proposed retail/luxury student apartment development across from the stadium), the private project should be financially feasible on its own and the developer ought to be able to secure private loans without public funding or tax breaks.

December 2, 2014 at 11:49 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Chanute's broadband effort faces another hurdle

AT&T has zero plans to offer modern internet service and speeds at a reasonable price in rural Kansas (or really anywhere in Kansas for that matter). If they did, they would have deployed the infrastructure years ago and would already be offering competitively priced plans. They wouldn't be worried about actually having to compete with municipally-provided service or doing everything they can to keep alternative service providers from being able to access and compete in these markets. Currently, most areas suffer under a service provider monopoly with the accompanying price-gouging rates. There's no reason that if AT&T wants to compete in these markets that they couldn't offer similar speeds at similar prices. They've benefited from the universal service fees and other taxpayer dollars that were supposed to give them the money to build in rural and other areas, but they've never come through on their end of the bargain. Time to stop listening to their whining and let cities and counties build out the network infrastructure that citizens aren't getting from private corporations.

December 2, 2014 at 11:32 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

WOW to increase many cable bills by more than $15 a month; Eudora bests Lawrence in young families ranking

Getting pretty tired of paying huge rates for all these sports channels I never watch. Looks like it might be time to switch provider and/or cut out cable completely.

December 2, 2014 at 11:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bids for South Lawrence Trafficway come in low; work may begin by mid-October

Before you try to throwing something back in someone's face that is trying to help educate you using facts and evidence instead of hearsay, you might actually try to read the information thoroughly yourself first. I know Brownback and Bush have tried to teach people that if you feel something in your gut, it must be right, but that's just not how reality works.

You appear to have missed a couple of important bits of information from the wetlands faq, so I'll help you out. Having hydric soil on it's own is not sufficient to create a wetlands, you also have to have the appropriate plants, and, important for this discussion, appropriate hydrology. The area in question has not been a natural wetland for some time and without the man-made levees and water control structures present to keep it wet, would not be a wetlands today (it's not being "drained" by anyone and would not "go back to being a wetlands"). Here's the relevant section from that faq that you appear to have only selectively read:

"The only thing that is man made is the levee and water-control structures that were installed in the early 1990s. Today there are virtually no naturally occurring wetlands in Kansas. All have either been drained or are artificially maintained through levees and water control structures. The exceptions would be shallow playa basins found in western Kansas."

If you take the time to read the rest of the faq, you'll also discover that this project will only affect 10% of the existing wetlands, will not negatively affect the hydrology or biodiversity of the remaining wetlands, and will, in fact, be a benefit to the remaining 90%.

Here's another fact sheet regarding the project: http://kdotapp.ksdot.org/TWorks/ProjD...

In regard to traffic on 23rd street, I know that some folks in Wasilla consider that being able to see something from your house qualifies as evidence of authority, but that's not reality either.

Just because trucks "should be taking I-70" doesn't mean that is occurring. Truck and commuter traffic going back and forth from southern johnson county simply isn't going to go all the way up to I-70 and around to get to destinations in south, southwest, and west Lawrence. That traffic comes through the middle of town on 23rd street. Most of the traffic during peak congestion hours is not destined for businesses on 23rd street, it is through traffic. It is also not the case that a ton of traffic is KU employees coming from KC. It's the exact opposite. It's folks that live in Lawrence and work in KC. If you observe or participate in the traffic in the mornings and evenings, you will clearly see that a majority of the traffic in the morning on K-10 is leaving Lawrence and a majority of the traffic after work on K-10 is coming into Lawrence.

Here some more reading material about the SLT project: http://bit.ly/16GNqWo

September 27, 2013 at 6:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas premiums lower than expected under new health insurance marketplaces, report says

It is true, actually. Just because your particular plan doesn't meet the requirements, doesn't make my statement false. It is, in fact, true that you do not have to buy health insurance through the exchanges. You can purchase health insurance on your own through a private provider.

I know Brownback and Bush have tried to teach people that if your gut tells you something, it must be right, but that's just not how reality works. I know it's painful for anti-fact folks to actually investigate and present evidence, so I'll go ahead and spend the minutes and a half it takes to discover the truth.

Here's a quote from the relevant section of the Kansas Insurance site FAQ: http://insureks.org/faq.php

"Consumers may buy a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace to satisfy the individual mandate, but they don’t have to. Other forms of health coverage that satisfy the requirement to have “minimum essential coverage” include most employer-sponsored plans, union plans, and enrollment in a government program such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE or CHIP. Consumers can continue to use agents to buy insurance available in the market outside the exchange."

September 27, 2013 at 5:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas premiums lower than expected under new health insurance marketplaces, report says

Hmm. So, according to the link, if we just continue to ignore health care reform and continue to focus on health insurance reform where we give more and more money to private insurance corporations, some how, our citizens will be healthier. Just like we don't need the federal government making health care decisions for people, we also don't need private health insurance corporations making health care decisions for people.

September 26, 2013 at 4:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas premiums lower than expected under new health insurance marketplaces, report says

The only solution to what you are saying is a single-payer system and the removal of insurance companies from health care.

Insurance corporations have been increasing premiums at double-digit percentages, since long before Obama and the ACA. Insurance corporations are driven by profit and will continue to extract as much money from customers as they can get away with. That's how corporations work. They will always try to maximize profits and charge as much for their products as customers will pay.

The only means of stopping the out-of-control increases in health costs in the US that is likely to work is to remove the insurance industry from the picture. They are an unnecessary part of the process. They do not provide care to patients and they cause huge headaches for the people that do provide care to patients as well as the patients themselves.

As long as health insurance remains a part of our health care environment in the US, we aren't going to see much change in the continued rise in costs demanded by the insurance companies.

An alternative would be to require health insurance corporations be non-profit entities, have to use a single standardized claims form (to remove the unnecessary administrative costs currently burdening health care providers due to mountains of insurance paperwork), and require a much higher percentage of revenue be used directly for care rather than overhead and management salaries.

September 26, 2013 at 11:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas premiums lower than expected under new health insurance marketplaces, report says

You can still buy the $41 per month plan. You don't have to purchase health insurance through the exchange, you just have to purchase health insurance. If you find a private plan outside the exchange that meets your needs, then buy that one.

September 26, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Education commissioner to respond to Kansas GOP resolution on Common Core standards

Frankly, the opposition to Common Core is stupid. We keep hearing that these folks are tired of the federal government trying to control education which is simply ignorant, since this is a multi-state coalition effort, not a federal government project. Our elected state officials continue to do their constituents a huge disservice by failing to correct misinformation and educate people that come to them in opposition that have clearly been mislead about issues. Our elected state officials have a responsibility to educate themselves and the public on the facts, rather than regurgitating what ALEC and other corporate legislative interference organizations that are pushing ideological propaganda instead of fact-based information give them.

September 19, 2013 at 3:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )