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Sedgwick County commissioners approve 2013 legislative agenda

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at 12:08 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at 6 p.m.

On the agenda

Sedgwick County’s legislative agenda also seeks:

• More state support for the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch, which has been in danger of closing.

• Money from the state for the entire cost of housing felons in the county jail.

• Continued support for the Affordable Airfares program at Mid-Continent Airport.

• The ability for landowners and local government to maintain streams without a permit.

• To block any unfunded mandates from state government.

For Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn, apparently the fourth time is a charm.

On Wednesday, Peterjohn finally was able to convince his colleagues to include voter approval of tax increases in the county’s legislative agenda.

The legislative agenda, or platform, outlines the county’s priorities to state leaders. Commissioners pass a legislative agenda every year. In past years, Peterjohn has voted against the agendas in part because they didn’t include his priorities.

That changed this week.

Commissioners unanimously passed a legislative agenda that includes this plea to legislators: “All local sales tax increases must be approved by voters under Kansas law. All property tax increases that raise the mill levy should also be required to receive voter approval.”

Peterjohn had been pushing for that since he was elected in 2008.

“It’s a good step in the right direction,” he said of the platform approved Wednesday. “This is the first time in a number of years I’ve voted for our legislative agenda because I was able to get that added.”

Commissioner Jim Skelton voted on a motion, along with Peterjohn and Commissioner Richard Ranzau, to include the item on the agenda.

Skelton said it was the right time to push for voter approval of tax increases.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com.

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