NBAF – In tough economic times, there will be delays in new projects. We would suggest that the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility that had been planned for Manhattan is an essential piece of our security and health infrastructure, and therefore the project should move ahead. But while the current facility in Plum Island, N.Y., is aging, it can work for a couple extra years. More troubling is the notion that the planned facility in Manhattan might be scrapped altogether, leading to a new site-selection process. This would be a waste of time and taxpayer money. The previous process was fair and complete. There is no need for a revisit.
Kansas City Star
Medicaid – The pleas are many to slow down Gov. Sam Brownback’s planned overhaul of the state’s Medicaid program. Legislators from both sides of the aisle have suggested the timetable simply is too quick to effectively transfer management of the $2.9 billion program to private insurance companies. Advocates for the developmentally disabled remain unconvinced the so-called KanCare reforms will be the best for their clients. While we wouldn’t expect many of the 350,000 Kansans currently receiving health care through Medicaid to have lobbyists at the ready in Topeka, we suspect their words would fall on deaf ears as well.
Hays Daily News
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Reform plans – The administration may have identified some problems that need to be addressed. However, as the state considers major overhauls in its tax system, its school-finance system, its Medicaid system, its employee-retirement system and other areas, it seems that officials too often fall back on phrases like “we need to do better” or “we have a plan for that” rather than being able to address the specific concerns of people who will be directly affected by these changes.
Redistricting – The House side of the Kansas Legislature appeared to be a model of how redistricting should work when the chamber efficiently approved new lines for state representatives in a 109-14 vote. Redistricting can be politically nasty, making it preferable to take it out of the hands of legislators and entrust it with a bipartisan commission. But House members, under the leadership of Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, showed they could be amicable and bipartisan.
Hidden tax – An official with AT&T Kansas thinks residents would look at an additional charge on their bills to support a disaster-aid fund as a tax increase, and “could even construe it as a hidden tax increase.” He is right. Kansans are pretty good at identifying tax increases, even those that masquerade as fees on services they’re already purchasing. If a fee sounds like a tax and smells like a tax, it’s probably a tax. It this case, it would be an unnecessary tax.
Aggieville – Many, if not most, bars in Aggieville have ignored long-standing occupancy regulations. Egregious abuses during Fake Patty’s Day last year were the catalyst for strengthening the ordinance, but the problem is not a new one. Nor has overcrowding been limited to Fake Patty’s Day. It’s occurred on weekends and some weeknights as well. For too long the city and the police department trusted Aggieville tavern owners to comply with the occupancy ordinance. Yet last Fake Patty’s Day, more than a dozen taverns demonstrated that they couldn’t be trusted.