Oil and gas fund – More than 50 Kansas counties, including all in southwest Kansas, recently joined in filing a lawsuit claiming the state withheld some $7.6 million in Kansas Oil and Gas Valuation Depletion Fund payments. The flap stems from Gov. Sam Brownback’s interest in taking dollars from a fund put in place as a safety net for oil- and gas-producing counties. Unfortunately, the trust funds wisely put aside for future property-tax relief may become just another casualty in a part of the state too often shortchanged.
Garden City Telegram
Water plan – Having a 50-year vision for the state’s water supplies is a commendable goal, and Gov. Sam Brownback deserves credit for galvanizing state agencies to produce a draft of that vision not later than Nov. 1, 2014. Kansas desperately needs better stewardship of its water supply. It is finite, as the governor said. That’s even more reason it’s essential to bring the public, as well as the municipalities and other organizations that will be affected by any “comprehensive” plan, into the discussion.
Brownback has shown strong leadership by putting water issues high on his policy agenda. However, a test of his commitment to conservation may be in the works. The governor and his agriculture secretary, Dale Rodman, want to loosen restrictions on corporate farming in Kansas. The public would need more information on how that economic development goal meshes with smarter water use.
Kansas City Star
Corps parks – Before asserting that the state parks department can do a better job running U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks than the feds, Gov. Sam Brownback maybe ought to go camp in one of each. It seems contradictory to be asking to take over Corps parks when the state is cutting resources to its own. This idea, floated by Brownback in a letter to the Corps’ top official in Washington, is not one that would be of benefit to users of parks at Kansas reservoirs – at least not given what Kansas state government is willing to spend on its park system at this time.
Health care solutions – Kansas’ congressional delegation members are sticking to their same old, broken-record call for a repeal of Obamacare. They offer no alternatives. If they cared to make health care affordable for all, they’d offer solutions rather than slams day in and day out.
Sebelius – Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was just playing re-election politics when he called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign. But as the unfolding “debacle” of the Obamacare health insurance rollout has shown, he wasn’t far from wrong. In fact, in the real world – not government – Sebelius would be gone by now.
Roberts – Pat Roberts, the “Senator from Agriculture,” stunned longtime supporters by voting against a farm bill, opposing the likely new Federal Reserve chairwoman for no apparent reason and calling for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, his old friend and the daughter-in-law of Keith Sebelius, the congressman who gave Roberts his start in Washington, D.C. There is risk today in appearing too extreme, and Roberts is taking that risk. Democrat Chad Taylor’s potential candidacy gives Roberts a good excuse to settle down to be his old moderately conservative self, and he should take it.
Winfield Daily Courier