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Letters to the editor on expanding Medicaid, sales tax, YMCA, Blick, Blubaugh, Eakins, Coen, Special Olympics

  • Published Sunday, March 31, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Letters to the Editor

Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.

Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202

E-mail: letters@wichitaeagle.com

Fax: 316-269-6799

For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.

Listen to public: Expand Medicaid

The lawmakers who attended the legislative forum last weekend heard the support for the expansion of Medicaid from area residents (March 24 Local & State). Citizen Nancy Ross told lawmakers how one-twelfth of our Kansas population is without health insurance. This ranks us 33rd in the nation.

Maren Turner, director of AARP Kansas, has noted that expanding Medicaid in Kansas not only would help provide coverage for hardworking Kansans, it also would give people without insurance access to preventive care to save their lives. She also has noted how older adults are vulnerable if they don’t have health coverage. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, expanding Medicaid in Kansas would provide health coverage for an estimated 20,219 uninsured Kansas residents ages 50-64 who were living at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level in 2010.

If Gov. Sam Brownback believes that removing income tax on businesses will bring more of them to Kansas, shouldn’t he also believe that expanding Medicaid to provide health care to more uninsured individuals will improve their health and lower overall health costs for the state? Medicaid expansion also would reduce the expensive emergency-room care and ease the overcrowding use of emergency rooms by those with no insurance.

GERALD and DIANNA SCHMITT

Wichita

Total tax burden

Gov. Sam Brownback wants to increase Kansas sales tax by keeping sales tax at 6.3 percent instead of dropping to 5.7 percent in July as scheduled. Let’s compare current Kansas state sales tax to surrounding states: Kansas, 6.3 percent; Nebraska, 5.5 percent; Missouri, 4.225 percent; Oklahoma, 4.5 percent; Colorado, 2.9 percent. Kansas has no exemption for sales tax on food, while most states have no or reduced sales tax on food.

If I were creating jobs, I would research my total tax burden and that of my employees. Eliminating Kansas income tax likely will increase other taxes at state and local levels if spending is not reduced. It is interesting that as a Republican, Brownback has said little about reducing spending.

MICHAEL FAULKNER

Wichita

Different mission

Regarding Senate Bill 72, which would exempt private fitness businesses from property taxes (March 26 Eagle): The Greater Wichita YMCA doesn’t have a position on this legislation, but we are interested in ensuring that Kansas public officials and citizens understand the YMCA’s outreach mission and how it differs from a for-profit fitness business.

YMCAs dedicate 100 percent of their resources to the betterment of our communities. YMCAs serve 1 in 3 Kansas kids, and Y’s are the state’s top provider of child care, summer day camps, swimming lessons, youth sports and after-school programs. We offer our services to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. We help relieve government’s burden while achieving public goals for improving our state’s overall well-being and quality of life.

Last year, the Greater Wichita YMCA served 270,000 people, including 70,000 who were direct recipients of $10.2 million we provided in free or assisted programs. Two out of three children in our region benefit from YMCA programs, and many participate in free urban outreach, including after-school recreation, learn-to-swim programs and teen job mentorship. We’re also working to mobilize our members to contribute 1 million hours per year in community service.

Our mission of youth development, social responsibility and community building is broader and much different from that of a health club.

DENNIS SCHOENEBECK

Chief executive officer

Greater Wichita YMCA

Wichita

Blick qualified

There is no person more qualified in District 4 to be our Wichita City Council representative than Joshua Blick. This man has spent years of volunteer time working for the benefit of District 4. Much of his generosity and talents are unknown because he does not toot his own horn.

After he is elected, not only District 4 will learn of his strengths. So will the whole city. Honesty and truth will be at the forefront.

He is a dedicated Christian man, and the propaganda and harassment that have been leveled at him by his opponents are abhorrent and outrageous. May these people be the beneficiaries of what they sow.

MYRLE J. McCULLOUGH

Wichita

Blubaugh diligent

I’m asking residents of District 4 to vote for Jeff Blubaugh for their Wichita City Council member. I have known Blubaugh for a number of years, and he has always exhibited the qualities of kindness, sense of humor and motivation to complete a project. He worked hard to obtain his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and the specialized education to become a licensed real-estate broker. He has used the knowledge gained and his personal qualities to build a successful business in Wichita and Sedgwick County.

He is active in community, civic and church activities and serves on the Goddard school board, which requires him to know the financial, regulatory and contractual complexities of a local governing body. A member of several civic organizations, he works to develop community and is a leader in his homeowners’ association. He volunteers for his church, the Wichita Children’s Home, the Lord’s Diner and Habitat for Humanity.

Blubaugh has worked diligently to connect with District 4 residents and is excited to work with them. His personal qualities and leadership will serve him well in representing the district and working with other council members. Please elect Jeff Blubaugh for City Council, District 4.

DANA BROWN

Wichita

Eakins up to task

I am writing in support of Joy Eakins for the Wichita school board. I had the opportunity over a long career with the Wichita school district to watch school board members as they worked to provide leadership for our schools. What they do is so important. Not only do their decisions affect our children, they ultimately affect the quality of life in Wichita.

What makes a good board member? It is not that they have a particular expertise or education or even job experience. Nor should they have their own personal ax to grind. Much more important are the internal qualities of intelligence, compassion and some toughness.

It is not an easy job. Eakins is up to the task. She cares deeply about our kids and will do the work necessary to do the job right. She will provide the positive oversight that the community needs.

PAUL LONGHOFER

Wichita

Vote for Coen

Clinton Coen, candidate for Wichita City Council in District 3, has testified on numerous occasions in front of the council in opposition to the millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that the current District 3 council member routinely votes to hand out to wealthy developers. Coen believes that residents of the district deserve their share of taxpayer resources in order to solve the critical needs of the district that are now virtually ignored. I urge District 3 voters to vote for Clinton Coen for City Council.

JOHN TODD

Wichita

‘Kansas Madness’

March Madness was at its best at the Kansas Special Olympics in Hays on March 21-22. The March 23 events were canceled by impending weather, but that couldn’t dampen the joy, the elation, the delirious yells whenever that ball went through the hoop.

The Wichita area sent at least 200 athletes by tour bus, vans and cars. The Wichita Independents, Air Capital Flyers, Wichita Jayhawks and Butler Blazers raise money and field teams so that everyone who practices can go.

March 21 consisted of travel, a welcome lunch, and cheerleader and skills competition. Hosts of volunteers and sponsors made all this possible.

I’m just so happy I could go to celebrate my 90th birthday. Thanks for 15 years of pure delight in “Kansas Madness.”

ALICE LA ROSA

Andover

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