I just read the April 23 article “Tax incentives advance” about Burns McDonnell receiving tax increment financing assistance to accommodate a $130 million expansion in that very blighted and depressed neighborhood just off that crumbling street called Ward Parkway, next to the private high school serving the poor and destitute of Kansas City — Rockhurst.
The $41.9 million TIF was requested by VanTrust Real Estate for 23 years, with $22 million going to actual construction.
I thought Mayor Sly James had a task force that stopped giving tax breaks to rich corporations unless they built in areas that actually needed jobs and more. To give taxpayer money to a corporation that not only doesn’t need it but is in a location that is anything but destitute is a slap in the face to all the organizations and nonprofits that struggle every day.
If a for-profit company cannot pay for its own expansion but must rely on taxpayers, then it should not be expanding. Or could this be an end run because the state line is barely one block over?
If so, are we looking at corporate blackmail instead of corporate welfare?
Inquiring voters want to know now, because our City Council members are falling all over themselves praising this deal.
Vicki Watson Walker
Kansas City Justus, gay rights
We can each have our opinion on gay rights and still question the scope and timing of legislation.
I have great respect for state Sen. Jolie Justus. I am a conservative Republican, and she is a liberal Democrat. However, I have attended many of her weekly coffees and accept her as my senator and will back her in future races if she seeks public office again.
I have questioned whether there was such a thing as a sane Democrat and am happy to say the answer is yes. Sen. Justus is one.
I support the acceptance of gays and lesbians, but my religious views somewhat temper this acceptance. There is no question we needed the Civil Rights Act, but 50 years later there is still debate on this issue.
Although passage was right, would it have been better to postpone it for a few years and let society accept the change? Should we wait a while longer until society accepts gay rights?
This is a country that values freedom. We reject legislation that is forced upon us either by the courts or Congress or the General Assembly.
I thank Sen. Justus for her leadership on this issue and will support whatever the Legislature decides, but I will not be sad if we wait on more public debate.
Kansas City Bring back principal
Dr. Ed Richardson should be reinstated as principal at Southwest Early College Campus. The interim principal is welcome to stay. His presence represents the district administration.
It was at the “downtown office” where the decision was made last fall to decrease the number of security guards and police officers at the school. The power to hire and fire principals, teachers, counselors, staff, security guards and police officers resides with the district administration.
Mary B. Brink
Southwest High School
Kansas City KC taxpayers hurt
The architecture firm Populous announced a move to the Plaza in fall of 2015 (4-24, A10, “Firm is heading to the Plaza”). The company is leaving behind its 300 Wyandotte St. location built specifically for the company in 2006, assisted by a 25-year, 100 percent property tax abatement.
One has to think that the property taxes Populous didn’t have to pay went into its pocket, and Kansas City taxpayers after eight years are left empty-handed. Even when Kansas City doesn’t lose businesses to the neighboring state of Kansas, the city loses.
It seems the people representing the taxpayers of Kansas City ought to be able to strike better deals than this.
Leawood Cheers for Bob Dole
God bless Bob Dole (4-22, A1, “Dole: ‘I love this state’”).
Overland Park Honoring workers
Year after year, working people come together demanding better working conditions and stronger safety protections on the job.
However, in workplaces nationwide, workers continue to be exposed to hazards such as silica, which causes disabling and irreversible lung disease, and explosion hazards such as combustible dust.
These are easy to control. Greedy corporations have long gotten away with unsafe conditions in the name of higher profits, treating workers as if they’re disposable. Every year, nearly 4,500 workers are killed on the job and 50,000 die from occupational diseases.
This is wrong and needs to stop.
We’ve got to do more to ensure that Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations are followed. That means calling out corporations and politicians that don’t play by the rules and demanding that necessary OSHA standards, including the new proposed silica standard, get finalized and become law.
On this Workers Memorial Day, we will stand with working families wanting safe and healthy workplaces. No one should have to risk his life and livelihood because of a company’s inability to do what’s right by ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.
The time to do more is now.
Executive Vice President
Topeka TV highlights
Why is it that in The Star’s “TV highlights” section I rarely see the subjects covered in fascinating weekly public TV shows such as “Nova,” “Frontline,” “Independent Lens” or “American Experience”? Yet one can always find the mindless dribble and the nightly talk shows?
Is The Star unaware of KCPT-TV, Channel 19, or does it prefer promoting the lowest common denominator?
Olathe Global warming profit
It has always been rather puzzling why most Republicans refuse to support policies that might reduce global warming.
A recent book by McKenzie Funk, “Windfall,” describes the booming business of global warming.
The melting of mineral-rich regions of the Arctic and Greenland provide entrepreneurs the possibility of windfall profits.
New shipping lanes in the Northwest Passage could provide a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, which could save thousands of dollars in transit fees and fuel costs.
Droughts brought on by the warming would increase food costs. This would mean more profits for those involved in food distribution.
The creation of new farm land in the northern regions would provide possibilities of vast profits for those who own this land.
Because the most severe problems would be in the tropics and poor countries, the results of global warming for the wealthy could be positive.
Republicans have always been supporters of the wealthy, so their position on global warming may not be so puzzling.
Maryville, Mo. Honest repair shop
I recently had to take my car to a local dealership for a recall repair. I also needed my state inspection, so I asked the dealership to do it. After about four hours, I went back to the dealership to get my car.
The people at the dealership told me that my car flunked the inspection because it needed to have a lower ball joint replaced and an alignment after the repair. The total cost, with taxes, would have been about $400.
Having had a similar experience at this same dealership, I opted out of having the car repaired there. I called one of the most trustworthy car repair shops in the area, Fulghum Auto Care in Grandview.
The owner told me the repair would cost about $240. When he checked my car the next morning, however, he called me to say that there was nothing wrong with it and that I didn’t need what the dealership told me I needed.
The cost? Another $12 to have him do another inspection, which of course my car passed.
I am so glad there are honest car repairmen around. Thanks, Mr. Fulghum. I’ll never take my car anywhere else.