In his State of the State address Wednesday night, Gov. Sam Brownback perhaps inadvertently reflected the bind in which Kansas finds itself. “Today we are growing and moving forward,” he said. The problem is that his tax reforms, coupled with the suspense over the school-finance decision, are blocking the view ahead.
Lt. Ken Landwehr saw Wichita at its very worst as the Wichita Police Department’s homicide unit commander for two decades. How lucky for Wichita that Landwehr gave his hometown his very best, leading investigations that brought justice for hundreds of victims’ families.
The public and state lawmakers shouldn’t accept Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to oppose a federal expansion of Medicaid in Kansas. The health and well-being of too many Kansans are at stake, in addition to the economic health of the state and its hospitals.
The Wichita City Council should be highly selective about designating community improvement districts, which are proving lucrative for some worthy development projects but still lack transparency.
Kansas Chamber Local chambers of commerce understand the importance of investment in education, infrastructure and a social safety net. They recognize that it is difficult to promote and develop local business interests with bad roads, a poorly educated workforce and impoverished communities. Local chambers and leaders also recognize that local businesses and residents must pick up the slack where the state fails.
Thanks to the pending school-finance ruling, about the only thing certain about the 2014 legislative session is that it will open Monday. Overall, Kansans can hope that the Legislature will keep the offenses to a minimum as it defends the historic income-tax cuts, which promise to put more and more pressure on the state’s budget.
The city of Wichita’s new legislative agenda endorses the questionable exemptions from state open-records law enjoyed by three key tax-funded economic development groups, giving new meaning to the “private” in such public-private partnerships.
Even after the state’s historic $1.1 billion income-tax break, a new Kansas Chamber of Commerce poll of CEOs found strong demand for more tax cuts. If that priority prevails at the Statehouse, then the public schools, universities, social services and other budget areas hoping for restored funding could be out of luck.
Good work, Wichita Police Department, in making arrests in the shocking crime in which a wedding ring was stolen off a dying woman. And thanks especially to whoever passed along the tip that led to the arrests.
It seemed like a good idea at the time – a two-year budget cycle enabling lawmakers to “budget the first year, do oversight the second year,” as Gov. Sam Brownback put it a year ago. But a lot of unfinished fiscal business will greet Brownback and the 2014 Legislature next week.
Safety net In the coming year, Kansans likely will hear that thanks to actions of Gov. Sam Brownback and his Legislature, the state has reduced by half the number of families receiving welfare assistance. But no one should think even for a moment the statistic is proof that Kansas has fewer people in poverty or that more people are working their way up to better incomes and better lives.
Sixty-one-old Donald L. Hipsher succumbed to hypothermia and heart problems under a downtown bridge last weekend. But he also died of the societal disease of homelessness. That shouldn’t happen in 21st-century Wichita, or so we’d like to believe.
As this election year began, the voting rights of more than 19,300 Kansans were on hold and Secretary of State Kris Kobach still hadn’t ruled out implementing an absurd two-tiered election system under which some people could vote only in congressional races.
One of the biggest policy failures of the past year was that Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature refused to allow a federal expansion of Medicaid in Kansas. As a result, more than 150,000 needy Kansans don’t have health insurance, and hospitals and the Kansas economy are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funds.
The year that expired at midnight set new standards for political gridlock, homegrown terrorism and global thuggery. But 2014’s arrival renews hopes, including for uninhibited economic growth at the national, state and local levels. Here are three wishes for the next 12 months:
Here is a look back at 2013 with excerpts from some of The Wichita Eagle’s editorials:
Social-media policy The Kansas Board of Regents new social-media policy gives university CEOs broad authority to dole out discipline for improper use of social media, which also is broadly defined to include anything that adversely affects the universitys ability to efficiently provide services.
After all that Beechcraft has been through, and Wichita along with it, Textron’s purchase of the general aviation employer is outstanding news.
It’s understandable that the Kansas Board of Regents wanted to create a social-media policy for the state’s public universities. But the new policy is both so vague and severe that it could chill the free exchange of ideas, which is crucial to higher education.
It’s too early to endorse the vague idea of Chinese investors helping Wichita pay for things such as a Century II renovation, a new Central Library, and water and sewer upgrades. But it’s also too late for xenophobic insistence on Wichita keeping its distance from China, which is a prime customer in the global economy that Wichita businesses serve.