‘Yes’ on boat question – While it isn’t a tax that is paid by a wide population, allowing the state to lower the tax rate on watercraft will serve as a benefit to the state by increasing overall tax revenue and spurring investment in Kansas’ recreation industry. Current state law assesses watercraft at 30 percent, which means the owner of a $20,000 boat in Reno County, with an average mill levy of 156.75, pays roughly $940 in annual property taxes. That same boat in Oklahoma, however, costs only $150 a year in taxes.
School task force – Gov. Sam Brownback announced a brand-new initiative in his quest to get more education funding into classrooms with a website for people to report incidents that show room for increased school efficiency. At least, that’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is as Brownback’s latest effort to drum up excuses to cut school funding. Brownback says the right things about wanting to improve schools, but his actions tell a different story.
Gov. Sam Brownback is at it again. His school efficiency task force is taking anonymous tips. Good heavens. This is fearmongering. It will pit taxpayers and parents against educators – the last thing we need more of in Kansas.
Winfield Daily Courier
Kansas Speaks – As the latest Kansas Speaks survey showed, Kansans overall advocate economic policies that are 180 degrees different from the governor and conservative-dominated Legislature – yet they are willing to stay the course. In fact, with the primary election, Kansans ousted most of the moderate Republicans who were willing to stand up to the governor. So we know whose policies will carry the day, and worries the resulting economy will negatively affect us likely will come true.
Hays Daily News
Gambling fund – State law requires 2 percent of the state’s gambling revenues to be put into a problem gambling fund. Instead, most of the dollars have gone to general government services. It’s inexcusable to lean on gamblers for significant state funding, then snatch away any meager funding set aside to address problems.
Garden City Telegram
Outside groups – When the Kansas Family Policy Council presented its petition to the Salina City Commission in opposition to the anti-discrimination amendment to the city ordinance, the petition contained this line: “It is troubling to see small special interest groups moving into our city with harmful agendas.” For the record, the Kansas Equality Coalition, the group behind the Salina amendment, is based in Wichita but has a number of state chapters, including one in Salina. The Kansas Family Policy Council also lists a Wichita address on its website, and a number of people who signed its petition are from outside Salina. We don’t have a problem with outsiders trying to influence us. What we do have a problem with is an outside group bemoaning the evils of outside groups.
College debt – A recent study showed two-thirds of the college students who graduated in 2011 did so with an average debt of $26,600. That’s a hefty debt load for someone to be carrying when he or she is working at an entry-level job, if one can be found. That same study showed unemployment among young college graduates was 8.8 percent in 2011. Education is important, but it comes at a price. Giving some thought beforehand to how that price will be paid is becoming increasingly important, too.