The Buzz

BuzzChatter Tuesday: Eastern Kansans should worry about dropping water levels in western Kansas

Updated: 2014-01-06T21:23:33Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

Today’s political chit-chat:

• “Because the state runs downhill from western Kansas to eastern Kansas, is the simplest answer.” — Josh Svaty, vice-president at the Salina-based Land Institute and a former state lawmaker and Kansas ag secretary, explaining why eastern Kansas residents should be concerned about declining water levels in western Kansas.

This is one of those sleeper issues that those of us in eastern Kansas won’t worry about until, well, water issues suddenly loom. Svaty also said this, “And as everybody in water says, 'I'd rather be upstream with a shovel than downstream with a piece of paper.'"

• “The better educated we are, the better the economy has done.” — Washburn University president Jerry Farley arguing for spending increases for higher education in Kansas.

Colleges and universities in Kansas are reeling after recent budget cuts that include $23 million in the current fiscal year and $25 million scheduled to be withdrawn in the fiscal year starting July 1. The leaders of the major campuses are speaking out about what they want to see happen. With the conservative Legislature returning to Topeka for the 2014 session, those leaders are about to find out whether they’ve been wasting their time.

• “It is a family crisis. I think she will be back.” — a ally of Liz Cheney talking about the former vice president’s daughter suddenly dropping out of the Wyoming Senate race.

The decision — and the accompanying explanation that it was precipitated by a “family crisis” — smacks of political spin given how far down in the polls Cheney was in her primary race against long-time GOP Sen. Mike Enzi. Politico reported Monday that a troubling incident involving one of her children at college, as well as her youngest daughter’s battle with juvenile diabetes, prompted Cheney to reassess the race. Here at the home offices of The Buzz, we remain very skeptical of that rationale.

• “All the things the governor said he had questions on, I have made sure to remove from the bill.” — Missouri state Rep. T.J. Berry, a Kearney Republican, explaining why he thinks a stripped-down tax-cut bill can pass the General Assembly this year.

Berry and others are preparing a measure that cuts income taxes for small businesses around the state. That’s a big change from the bill that Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed last year that focused on relief for corporations and families. The idea of tax cuts will be one of the hot issues of the 2014 session that opens Wednesday. Nixon has spoken out that he wants more spending on public schools and higher education and argues that Missouri already is a low-tax state.

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