Comment history

Group says a number of Kansas Republicans support legislation authorizing the arrest of federal officials who implement Obamacare

Actually, if the Supreme Court declares in a ruling on the law in question that it is not in violation of the Constitution, then it is, in fact, constitutional. Until such time as the court agrees to hear another case on the same law and reverses its own decision (which generally is decades and decades after the original ruling), you can the call the ACA wrong, immoral, stupid, or any other pejorative you prefer. What you are utterly wrong to call it until such time as the court reverses itself, is unconstitutional.

November 16, 2012 at 10:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence full-day kindergarten expanding as school cuts loom

Have you contacted the school board and Dr. Doll with this figure and asked for an explanation? Because according to the financials presented by staff to the public last night, the contingency fund has roughly $6,000,000, and the district is required by law to have a zero balance in the operating fund at the end of the fiscal year. I'd be curious to see how they respond when you ask them to square it with the figure you are citing...

April 12, 2011 at 3:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

House approves budget, includes across-the-board cut to state agencies

Sorry, NOTA, but you ignore the enormous complexity involved in the real math of economics and always advances an argument that can be boiled down to: Any tax increase = always bad. Taxes are a small (and getting smaller) factor for most businesses. (And please, remove the LLCs and sole-proprietors selling stuff on Craiglist and Etsy or running lawn care businesses seasonally and you will see a gigantic lurch upward in the "average" size of a corporation - and that's who we're talking about here.) Just like corporations make adjustments for so many of the other expenses that fluctuate from fuel and raw materials to labor, increases can be absorbed in order to stay competitive. That's why the costs of most individual goods in America don't change daily, weekly or even monthly at the retail level. Like all cost inputs, the effect of taxes works on a curve - it is NOT linear - and the sweet spot changes over time, depending on a host of factors. Somehow, the late 50's and early 60's manages to be a halcyon time in the minds of the Becks and Hannitys out there, despite having corporate and personal income tax rates that would be described as "crushing" now.

Likewise, a drop in corporate taxes isn't immediately passed on to consumers as lower prices either, especially if the competition doesn't have the same tax break. If Bob's Bargain Bin says they won't build a store in town without a property tax break and they get one, they now have a structural advantage against competitors. Why would they ever give that up? If the price of Chinese clothing drops by a large enough margin, every store in town has an incentive to pass that on, because those that don't will have their prices undercut. But only BBB has the tax break, and they can use it to fatten their bottom line or as leverage to drive competitors out in the short term before raising prices once the field is cleared.

That's the gist of the problem here in Kansas. For a very small cost (the lobbying cost to individual corporations in Kansas is astonishingly cheap - high five to mid six figures is usually all it takes) businesses in this state reap hundreds of millions of dollars from manipulating the tax code and the regulatory process. And almost none of it has benefited our economy. Nearly a decade of tax cuts during the Graves and Sebelius administrations was supposed to launch our economy to job-growing heights never before seen. Instead, we've just been left lighter in the wallet.

April 1, 2011 at 3:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Schools task force puts off decision on recommending elementary closures

Remember, capital funds cannot be used to fund operations - that is the state law. Plus, it violates the state constitution if monies raised via referendum (public vote) are not used for the purpose stated on the ballot. So as much as I had seeing the that pot of money go to waste on double football stadiums and the like, that's not going to change without changes to state law.

February 15, 2011 at 10:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Schools task force puts off decision on recommending elementary closures

You guys bashing Minder about Delaware Commons know that almost all of the parents in that thing send their kids to the Waldorff school in the old Grant School building out by the airport, right? I don't think any of the gradeschool age kids there even go to New York.

February 15, 2011 at 10:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: District to detail potential effects of possible school closures; Virtual School student reads from own winning book; board to consider extending bus contract

I should add that looking at the task force subcommittee's draft reports and other materials, the scoring could have been manipulated to make nearly every school in the district be "worst."

February 11, 2011 at 6:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: District to detail potential effects of possible school closures; Virtual School student reads from own winning book; board to consider extending bus contract

The schools are going to be closed - and it won't be just one or two. The five year plan that the task force is working on will leave the area east of Iowa from the river on the north and 23rd on the south with two schools after closings and consolidation (though there might be one additional school remaining just to the east of Iowa). This is because the board sees the schools as the only money available to be cut from the budget. The teacher contract constrains them on one side, and the the state funding law constrains them from raising any more money locally or dipping into capital funds on the other side, (even when the state doesn't meet it's own base state aid obligations.) What's left? Schools. Closing them allows a back-door way to cut teachers and save on other personnel costs. The "hard" cost of operating the building is relatively low. So instead of being charged with finding innovation or radical ways to maneuver around this mess, the task force was given directives that can be boiled down to "use the current educational fad's standards to rate schools in a way that there are winners and losers."

So you have a situation where safe, well-maintained, high-performing schools with stable enrollments are closed as a way to manage personnel costs. But the root of the problem is the state funding mess. The laws need to be amended to allow for contingencies.

February 11, 2011 at 6:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas education funding outlook gloomy

Fed taxes went down for most Americans last year (via the payroll tax reduction). If the monthly budget for food is $500, then the sales tax increase nicks you for another $5. (although I'd prefer to see no sales tax on food, as it does fall disproportionately on the poor).

You said that other taxes and fees went up. What other taxes and fees did the legislature raise last year? Or the county and city commissions?

November 17, 2010 at 5:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach to jump on election fraud 'mandate'

ACORN has never been convicted of voter fraud, because they haven't perpetrated any. Their mission was voter registration and GOTV. When ACORN self-reported questionable voter registrations, as they were required to do by law, Rupugs and FOX did their usual dance, making sure to tell their slavishly ill-informed followers that this was vote fraud, and that lazy welfare cheats, anyone vaguely Hispanic-looking and other threatening people of color were stealing elections from the good white "normal" folks it order to whip up turnout. Now, top Repugs and FOX folks would always have a good laugh about this behind closed doors, about the hicks who couldn't tell the difference, and how stupid they are to fall for all their other ridiculous stuff (like how tax cuts for the uber-wealthy will somehow make life better for the rest of the country).

Unfortunately for the rest of us, you say that crap long and loud enough, you get a generation of idiots who really believe it. And suddenly Kobach is your Secretary of State and Palin is a Presidential contender.

November 5, 2010 at 9:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"I Love You...But Not Enough To Ruin My Life" - Mike Calzone . What lines do you wish you'd created?

I was drowning my sorrows, but my sorrows,
They learned how to swim
-U2, "Until the End of the World"

There are those who say you shouldn't tempt fate,
And for them I could not disagree
But I never learned nothing from playing it safe,
I say fate should not tempt me
-Mary Chapin Carpenter, "I'll Take My Chances"

Sometimes you're the winshield, sometimes you're the bug.
-Mary Chapin Carpenter, "The Bug"

"I'm going to marry her, but I wish I'd never met her"
-Mike Bierman, college roomate

June 9, 2010 at 11:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )