Whatever the weather Tuesday in Kansas, the state will newly enjoy some sunshine – the kind that lets citizens better see and scrutinize their government. The law allowing public access to documents used to justify arrests and searches is one plus among some other actions by the 2014 Legislature taking effect.
State budget After the Legislature approved deep income tax cuts that took effect in 2013, revenues have plunged. In recent days, Gov. Sam Brownback and others have tried to obfuscate this fiscal disaster.
Nine years ago, Kansans overwhelmingly voted to amend the state constitution to leave no doubt that same-sex marriage and civil unions were unlawful. But it’s getting difficult to see that bulwark holding, especially after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel’s ruling last week that Utah’s ban is unconstitutional under federal law.
The good news is that Kansas employment levels are recovering from the Great Recession. The not-so-good news is that the recovery has been slower than in neighboring states and not enough to replace revenue lost from state tax cuts.
With the Aug. 5 primary approaching, the voting rights of more than 18,000 Kansans are snagged on the law requiring proof of citizenship to register as of 2013. Yet Secretary of State Kris Kobach acts as if all is well. As for the governor, attorney general and legislative leaders – cue the crickets.
Whatever a scene of the crime of child sex trafficking looks like, surely it isn’t Wichita and Kansas. Yet such crimes happen here and in hometowns everywhere, which is why local, state and federal law enforcement must continue to protect children from exploitation.
Even if the $310 million disparity between revenue projections and tax collections turns out to have been a two-month phenomenon rather than the start of a cliff dive, Kansans should demand that candidates, including likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis, say how they’d handle the state’s worrisome finances.
State finances Gov. Sam Brownback is misleading Kansans while ignoring some troubling realities. He trumpets a rebound in the states finances even in the face of stunning declines in revenues. He repeats his mantra that deep tax cuts will grow the Kansas economy as part of a Midwest renaissance even while other governors decline to follow that strategy.
Cities in south-central Kansas and elsewhere are cranking up the sales tax in an effort to pay for services the best way they know how by not dipping deeper into the property tax well.
If the reaction to the state universities’ latest tuition increases is relief rather than outcry, that’s sadly telling.
Twenty-five cheers for the Air Capital Classic, which will extend the event’s impressive run to the quarter-century mark Thursday through Sunday at Crestview Country Club (North).
Foster care doesn’t garner media or legislative attention the way it did during the challenging transition to privatization 17 years ago. But it shouldn’t go unnoticed that the number of kids in foster care in Kansas recently reached an alarming all-time high.
Kansas is inviting people who don’t know how to teach to take over some of the state’s classrooms. What could go wrong?
State budget Even before the past two months revenue shortfalls, problems were evident. With a month to go in fiscal year 2014, it appears that individual income tax receipts will be about $700 million less than a year ago, a nearly 24 percent drop. Even if April and May were just aberrations, even if the big lug really is over, Kansas is going to run out of money sooner than later. What then?
Two years after promising his tax cuts would be an arenaline shot to the economys heart, Gov. Sam Brownback last week told the Wall Street Journal: Its like going through surgery. It takes a while to heal and get growing afterwards. Sounds painful, and not very reassuring.
Gov. Sam Brownback has been casting a needed spotlight on mental health care in Kansas and redirecting some funding to help better coordinate this care. Good for him.
Hard as it is to believe, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is making good on his threat to implement a two-tiered voting system in which some registered voters are treated as less legitimate than others and only some of the votes on their ballot will count.
When Wichita City Council members repealed two ordinances Tuesday affecting public safety, they did so with the invisible guns of state lawmakers and the governor to their heads.
Thanks to Wichita Festivals and its president and CEO, Mary Beth Jarvis, for showing locals and visitors another great time during the 2014 Wichita River Festival while continuing the tradition’s welcome rebound in crowds, sponsorships and, presumably, financial health.
Wichita needs to take the long view about its water supply, which means looking past the recent raindrops and blessedly high current level at Cheney Reservoir.