Kansas tax shift
A leg of the three-legged stool of balanced tax policy was cut off, and something had to give. The following ensued:
▪ The Kansas Supreme Court mandated the Legislature to equitably fund public schools.
▪ The Legislature would permit an increase in the local option for mill levies from 31 to 33 mills.
▪ Local voters, thinking they were doing the correct civic thing, voted to authorize their school districts to raise the mill levy.
▪ The cynical governor, with his obedient flock in the Senate, introduced Senate Bill 71 to change the school-funding formula to deprive Johnson County school districts of $11 million.
In the meantime, assessed values of property crept up.
So, now, pressure on local school districts, county and municipal governments and other authorities in Johnson County to make up the funding for essential life services, infrastructure and amenities historically provided by the state from income-tax revenues will drive up our property taxes.
Let the policymakers in the state Legislature know that they need to be accountable to all Kansans and that they need to begin to repair the errors of their ways. Vote against SB 71 and similar measures.
for Fair Property Tax
Pricey KCK piano
I’ll serve on the Kansas City, Kan., school board any day (2-3, A4, “Piano strikes bad note”). Meantime, Sumner Academy musicians, savor and enjoy this beautiful and enduring gift.
I daresay it will last longer than the projected 30 to 40 years if treated properly.
Stephanie A. Henry
Piano vs. athletics
I read with interest about all the hubbub that has been created by the proposed purchase of a grand piano for Sumner Academy (2-3, A4, “Piano strikes bad note”).
I would suggest putting that $48,000 up against all the money spent without much controversy for athletic uniforms, facilities and transportation on an annual basis.
And here’s the kicker, to use an athletic term. In 20 years, that piano will still be worth at least $48,000 and probably more if appropriately taken care of.
Because of its quality and reputation, it will retain its value and even appreciate and eventually could be worth more than its original purchase price. Tell me, please, where will those athletic uniforms be in 20 years?
Let’s have a little parity when appropriating money for educational activities.
I hope that at least a few people in positions of authority have glanced at all the recent research regarding how powerfully artistic and musical activity affects the brain and promotes health and intelligence.
Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, “Not every vaccine is created equal, and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others (2-3, A1, “Politicians’ stances on vaccinations draw swift rebuke”).”
Would Gov. Christie please cite the source of his information for this statement?
I am not sure where he found these two rather vague items of scientific information.
Also, Gov. Christie, I cannot find anything in your credentials that would make you qualified to give authoritative statements concerning infectious-disease epidemiology or pharmaceutical industry manufacturing quality-control guidelines and standards.
Gov. Christie, if you graduated from medical school, completed a residency in internal medicine, and then followed with a fellowship in infectious disease, or if you have a doctor of pharmacy degree, you really should include this information in your resume.
John R.W. Taylor, M.D.
Bleeding in Kansas
I just returned this week from Topeka with many questions.
I was there to support the Kansas Public Employees Retirement forum held to sound alarm at the fact that Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to swipe $40 million from KPERS to help with the fiscal crisis he and the Legislature have created.
How fiscally responsible is it to borrow $40 million that will take many years to pay back at a cost that could then be in the billions? I thought this governor’s mantra was “live within your means.”
What will be the legacy of this administration and of the legislators who are serving us in Topeka right now?
Will they be remembered as heroes or as the group that drove the Kansas economy into ruin?
Although there is little to be done to turn around a national recession, have we not created this fiscal crisis in Kansas ourselves by implementing tax cuts at an unsustainable rate?
The stress of these hard times was apparent in state Treasurer Ron Estes’ voice as he spoke to this group of retired Kansas employees.
But can he and other Republican public servants stand up to Brownback and stop the bleeding in Kansas?
Jobs as gun lure
According to a Feb. 1 article, “Kansas on the hunt for makers of firearms,” the Brownback administration is trying to lure gun makers to Kansas to attract manufacturing and jobs.
I get pretty tired of politicians justifying their actions by mentioning jobs. Politicians are also trying to justify the Keystone XL Pipeline by using jobs.
Kansas could also legalize methamphetamine and cocaine and set up large manufacturing facilities that would create many jobs.
But it wouldn’t be right.
And loosening gun restrictions and approving the Keystone XL Pipeline aren’t right, either.
With the recent events in Paris, much is being discussed about freedom of speech.
Freedom of the press is a mighty tool.
Unfortunately, in my lifetime I have seen journalism move from a source of information to a source of ratings.
Sensationalism, exaggeration and half-truths seem to dominate much of today’s journalism.
Outright lies and distortions presented as facts are the basis of our political campaigns.
At a time when all journalists are entitled to feel a sense of violation, it is time to reflect on the ethical journalists who give their lives to bring truth to the world.
Freedom of speech is one of the most precious gifts a society has to give, but we also must believe that our friends and neighbors have as much right to express their opinions as we do. Violence against those who do not agree is not acceptable.
Journalists should have the freedom to express their opinions through speech, the printed word or even a cartoon. But this is a freedom that requires great responsibility and as such should be treated with respect.
News needs to be about keeping people informed with real facts not fiction.
The Kansas Department of Revenue currently does not allow a young adult turning 21 to renew his driver’s license until his actual birthday.
To assist those who are unable to go in for their renewals, House Bill 2042 was passed to allow them to drive for up to 45 days after the expiration date.
However, as everyone knows, a driver’s license is more than just a ticket to ride.
And like many 21-year-olds, I was excited to buy my first beer, which I was then denied because of an expired license.
Attending school out of state forced me to wait several weeks before I was able to renew my license.
And for those several weeks I was forced to carry around my passport to obtain a drink at a restaurant, buy a bottle of wine at the grocery store or enter a bar — an inconvenience that constantly worried me because of the personal information found on a passport.
If the state is going to allow a 45-day extension for the required 21st-birthday renewal, it should also make the expiration date 45 days after the birthday, thus, solving the problem of so many college kids.
According to the music world, should I “Let It Go” or “Let It Be”?