Child poverty – In 2010, 18 percent of Kansas children lived in poverty, nearly half its children qualified for free or reduced school lunches, and 38 percent of the births across the state were to unwed mothers. Those numbers and the ones reported in the statewide analysis show Gov. Sam Brownback’s 12-member task force on child poverty has been handed a difficult challenge. But it is a challenge that begs to be met.
Based upon the first meeting of the governor’s Task Force on Reducing Childhood Poverty, more attention likely will be paid to Sam Brownback’s social agenda instead of the economic forces at play. Perhaps Mary Brownback, the unofficial adviser to the task force, can offer some of the sobering reality to her well-meaning husband. Items such as why there are fewer Kansas children benefiting from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or the child care assistance program. Or maybe the first lady can ask why the governor and Legislature agreed to an unprecedented reduction in income-tax rates while at the same time eliminating various tax credits, such as the food sales-tax rebate and breaks for child care and renters. Will this task force be able to articulate such concerns? Perhaps the first lady can, as we’ve seen what happens when legislators and staff buck the governor. Their tenure in office is shortened significantly.
Hays Daily News
Fiscal cliff – Now, more than ever, our U.S. lawmakers can do something important for Kansans by working in a bipartisan way to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. They have to know how hard a return to recession would be for Kansans, and for the Kansas state government led by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. We suggest all six members of our congressional delegation take a deep breath, accept the reality that President Obama won re-election, and cooperate with him to remove this threat to the continued recovery of our nation’s economy.
Winfield Daily Courier
Buhler seal – Many residents of Buhler undoubtedly will disagree, but the city council made the right decision to change the city seal and sign – which contain a large cross – after a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause” specifically prohibits the government from establishing a default religion. The legal opinions provided to Buhler city officials clearly spell out that a cross dominating the city’s seal shows the city’s preference toward Christianity as the town’s established religion. While Christians might be disappointed today that a cross will be removed from Buhler’s city seal, they also should feel relief in the knowledge that another religion never will be able to use local government to dictate how they practice their faith.
Selecting judges – The pool of Kansas Court of Appeals nominees forwarded recently to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is likely to add fuel to an already expected debate in the coming legislative session about how state appeals court judges are selected. But the bottom line on this debate is that the current system is working fine. Voters must vote, as they did Nov. 6, on whether to retain judges, which allows an avenue for incompetent judges to be removed. Any of the options being considered for changing how judges are appointed would only add more politics to the process.