Legislative ethics, KCI, Obamacare

01/25/2014 5:00 PM

01/24/2014 7:33 PM

Legislative ethics

It is painfully obvious that although individual legislators in Jefferson City might have high ethics, as a group they seem to have little.

There are reports of lawmakers receiving free meals, sports tickets and other gifts from lobbyists and refusing to put a limit on campaign funds.

What should be called ethical really isn’t. Granted, the money Missouri legislators receive for being in the General Assembly is not a huge amount. But the off-the-books funding is.

Now is the time to vote limits on campaign funding and restrict drastically the amount of money from groups outside the Legislature. The Republican majority most likely will do neither.

To paraphrase Will Rogers: We have the best legislature money can buy.

Jack Gregory

Plattsburg KCI boondoggle

The airport suits most users but not the politicians. One has to wonder why.

Why are they dying to spend more money they don’t have for something that few support? I would bet serious money that there are some, whether directly or otherwise, who are benefiting from this boondoggle.

And it will all be at the taxpayers’ and fliers’ expense.

The Kansas City Police Department is under state control. Why? Because voters keep electing the inept and the corrupt.

A lot of cities are dying from poor management and too much debt.

Don’t let them soak you again.

Karen Sirridge

Platte City Insurance shifting

Before the Affordable Care Act, a person living just above poverty couldn’t afford health insurance, and if an illness or injury happened that individual used the emergency room. Because the person couldn’t pay the bills, the hospitals and doctors absorbed the costs by raising prices on those who could pay.

In the end, the bulk of these costs were paid by the taxpayers.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a person living just above poverty obtains heavily subsidized health insurance. He receives medical treatment and incurs several thousand dollars of debt in deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. At his income level, he can’t pay these expenses so the hospitals and doctors absorb the costs.

What happens next? We can’t boot these people out of the health-care system, so what do we do?

The only solution is to continue taxpayer assistance.

Basically, one taxpayer-supported health system has been replaced by another taxpayer-supported health system. What’s different?

William Gray

Overland Park Honor for heroes

So many military heroes, so many combat deaths.

Why in the world do we continue to name public areas, highways, bridges, parks, etc., after politicians and bureaucrats and not for the people who actually gave their lives for us?

Bob Blackman

Raymore Hurting veterans

Congress must be very proud of itself for cutting military retirees’ benefits. This action is deplorable.

There are billions of dollars in waste and fraud that could be cut. Maybe members of Congress should cut their own salaries and benefits because they are doing such a good job.

Wayne Miller

Overland Park Kansas City services

What a city. The Kansas City Council can’t decide whether voters should be allowed to decide on an airport tax or whether the council is better prepared to decide.

What a great place to live. This month after a snowstorm, I drove north on State Line Road from 119th Street to Waldo. As I looked left into Kansas, every street was cleared, but to the right in Kansas City, only thoroughfares had snow removal. I live on a dead-end street in Lenexa, and my street was plowed that Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

But Lenexa doesn’t have to support sports stadiums, airports or streetcars. How backward of us.

William Carter

Lenexa Obamacare supporter

Emotions are running high and rancor abounds as the Affordable Care Act is being implemented in earnest.

Despite the obvious administrative missteps and political sabotage efforts, people in almost every profession and organization in the health care system whom I talk to and deal with take it as a given that this imperfect and incomplete effort to reform our health care system and increase coverage and quality of care is the law of the land.

It is happening and it will do what it is intended to do and will be successful. Don’t let the politics and media noise make you think otherwise.

Corrections will continue to occur and other broader health care reforms will be needed. But the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, according to those running our health care system.

Clay Anderson, M.D.

Liberty Wind energy facts

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce recently began targeting Kansas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard in the Kansas Legislature, blaming it for raising rates just as Kansas City Power Light announced it’s buying 400 megawatts of wind energy to lower rates by $600 million over 20 years.

These contradictory statements on wind-energy costs result from the chamber’s reliance on conjectural data generated by an out-of-state Koch-affiliated think tank asserting that the renewable standard drove rates up 38 percent. Utility and Kansas Corporation Commission empirical data refute the chamber’s claim as they cite Environmental Protection Agency coal regulations as the main component of the increase costing $3.3 billion, not the approximate 1 percent rise from the renewable standard.

Expecting criticism, chamber CEO Mike O’Neal emphasized the chamber is not anti-wind energy. Yet the chamber’s cost data fabricated to denigrate wind energy says otherwise.

Such disingenuousness calls into question the chamber’s credibility. With Gov. Sam Brownback’s support, the renewable standard has worked as intended by providing jobs and reducing energy costs.

The chamber chooses not to face this reality as it attacks the wind industry by employing ideology instead of facts.

Mark Richardson

Hutchinson, Kan. Enlighten voters

Decisions, or lack thereof, that affect all of us, nationally and internationally, are made by members of the U.S. Congress.

Starting this month, please follow the news about the 100 senators and 435 House members. That includes their views on the minimum wage, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, as well as when their terms expire. For instance, 20 Democratic and 13 Republican senators’ terms expire in 2015.

Let’s, on a consistent basis, enlighten voters about elected officials in Congress.

Johnnie Lee Jr.

Kansas City Minimum wage

As an 18-year-old who has worked for minimum wage, I think the wage doesn’t need to be raised, especially not to a staggering $9 an hour. Not long ago in Kansas it was set at $7.25.

Some think the reason for so much poverty in our country is people’s low pay. Pay, however, isn’t the biggest problem.

Unemployment is causing poverty, and raising the minimum wage is not the solution. Only a small percentage of people in the labor force are actually paid the minimum wage, so increasing it would benefit only a few workers but might cause many more to be laid off to allow companies to afford to pay the higher wages.

A better idea would be to look into the earned income tax credit to help those in poverty.

Daniel Robison

Overland Park Bias keeps showing

I am old enough to remember when you could read The Kansas City Star and get an unbiased opinion on the issues of the day. Today’s Star has become little more than the print version of MSNBC.

I would suggest you remove William Rockhill Nelson’s picture and mission statement, “A Paper For The People,” because it does a great disservice to his memory, and it is not a paper for the people anymore. What a shame.

Bob Berry

Oak Grove


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