Sales tax – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback reopened the door to the possibility of keeping the state sales tax where it is and blocking a scheduled reduction in July. “I’m not opposed to it,” he said. “It’s just, let’s see where we are in the budget.” But letting the sales-tax increase go permanent is rife with hypocrisy. Votes for the temporary sales-tax increase in 2010 were used against legislators in campaigns by conservative Republicans. Brownback himself once opposed it. If the sales-tax increase stays, it will only exacerbate the effect of the income-tax program on Kansans – together being a significant shift in tax burden from business and the wealthy to the poor.
Kochs – The Eagle’s extensive interview with Charles Koch and his political guru, Rich Fink, was revealing. Reporters Bill Wilson and Roy Wenzl gave Koch and his brother David a broad platform for their libertarian views. Plainly the Koch brothers, following in the footsteps of their arch-anti-Soviet father, Fred, are fighting the political and economic wars of the 1950s over again. They oppose overregulation, overtaxation and anything else that suggests this country is headed for some kind of socialism. The odd thing about the Kochs is that they themselves, scions of one of the largest privately held companies in America, are poster boys for the simple reality that America is not a socialist country but a place where capitalism thrives.
Winfield Daily Courier
Boat amendment – A constitutional amendment on the Kansas ballot attempts to fix a glitch that requires boat owners to pay much more in personal property taxes than those in Missouri and other neighboring states. A “yes” vote is in order. A more reasonable tax rate would boost Kansas’ boat-building and tourism industries and bring in about $1 million more in revenues annually. Watercraft, which includes everything from speedboats to canoes, are currently classified as “other property,” which means they are valued at market value and taxed at 30 percent. That puts Kansas at a competitive disadvantage with other states, including Missouri, where boat taxes are much lower.
Kansas City Star
Main Street – The hubbub that flowed forth in the wake of the state’s Sept. 20 announcement that it planned to discontinue its Kansas Main Street program appears to have subsided in recent weeks. That’s best for all concerned, especially for the cities currently involved with the program, which now are focused on ways to save some components of Kansas Main Street. Money, training and technical assistance can flow from many sources, but it is of limited benefit without the initiative and energy provided by a community’s citizens. That was the case before anyone heard of Kansas Main Street, and it remains so now.
Irrigation – Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4 is seeking to establish a local enhanced management area that would limit irrigators there to 11 acre-inches of water a year. Such a limit would be approximately 20 percent less than currently is being pumped. Across the 99 sections of land in the proposed area, water use through the course of five years would be limited to approximately 114,000 acre-feet of water. It would appear the only obstacle that could prevent implementation on Jan. 1 would be the state, which must sign off on the plan. We would hope the Kansas Division of Water Resources recognizes the soundness and necessity of the proposal.
Hays Daily News