Letters to the editor on unions, Brownback’s experiment, liquor sales, turnpike, abortion

02/08/2013 12:00 AM

02/07/2013 5:09 PM

Extend union logic to include voting

In arguing that public-sector unions should not have the right to spend members’ money for political activities, Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, stated that taxpayers have a right to say how their taxes are spent, including if they are used for political activities. There is a certain amount of logic to that.

Here we have money that is earned from the government and indirectly from the taxpayers being used to influence who will be “the government.” It is a conflict of interest.

This same logic should be broadened to include voting by anyone who feeds at the government trough. Any person who receives any more than just inconsequential income from the government should not be allowed to vote. Their votes also are a conflict of interest. Groups that would be barred include public schoolteachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, state employees, executives of corporations that receive government contracts and companies that benefit from government programs, and state officials, including Gov. Sam Brownback and Wagle.

We witnessed firsthand the influence of high-ranking government officials in this past election. Their active involvement had a profound effect on the outcome of the election and the makeup of our government.

Let the taxpayers, not the tax recipients, determine the government.

DARYL BURBACH

Wichita

Leap of faith

The Feb. 5 Wall Street Journal had a front-page article regarding Gov. Sam Brownback’s ill-conceived agenda, telling the story of doubt and discontent that citizens of our state feel. Brownback’s “experiment,” as the article stated, also has been called Brownback’s return to the national stage.

Rather than work on our state’s problems in a well-reasoned, thoughtful way, Brownback is plunging ahead with great speed. In the process, his plan gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest Kansans and shifts taxes onto the backs of lower- and middle-income Kansans. He wants to make the judiciary beholden to him, so he can fund schools as he sees fit.

The Journal reported that Brownback and his aides acknowledge they have taken a leap based partly on faith, and quoted his revenue secretary as saying, “Our out-year forecasts are pretty much guesses.” When the state government is playing with people’s lives, you’d hope for something more substantial than faith and guesses.

Will Brownback’s agenda work? As the Journal pointed out, there are major questions. Most reliable sources believe he’ll cause a huge shortfall in the state’s budget, after which it’s speculated that he will run for president again. If this is the way to drive a “Republican revival,” I’d be amazed.

BARRY GASTON

Wichita

All about greed

Having pondered the question of allowing grocery stores, convenience stores and the like to sell “hard alcohol,” I ask myself: Why do we need more alcoholic beverage outlets?

Adding more outlets maybe adds a little convenience to the average person’s shopping by eliminating the extra stop at the adult beverage shop, but it will not be of enough added benefit to jeopardize all current liquor stores and their owners. Also, with more outlets for alcohol comes the greater possibility of someone selling to a minor by happenstance, mistake or simply because of a lack of checking identification.

Greed is the real reason for changing the law. Convenience stores and other grocery outlets just want a few extra bucks selling a little better variety of drinks, and the only reason any legislative group would consider it is because of the extra tax revenue the licenses and sales might generate.

The country is awash in government that does the wrong things for the wrong reasons and still can’t properly fund the needed things it has promised the public. There is absolutely no reason to add more money to government coffers for it to misspend while running family-operated businesses out of business.

TIMOTHY J. EWERTZ

Colwich

Merger smoke

Let me get this straight. Gov. Sam Brownback wants to put the Kansas Turnpike Authority under the control of the Kansas Department of Transportation. He says that merging the two entities would save the state $30 million over two years. KDOT officials say they do not know the specific savings at this time. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said, “I think this merger is absolutely unnecessary. The turnpike is one of the premier roads, and it has operated very efficiently for a very, very long time.” Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, said, “We need to be very, very careful with whatever we do. We don’t want to mess up a good thing.”

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. In this case, there’s big, black, billowing smoke emanating from a merger proposal that has not been studied, vetted or priced. If I were a member of the Legislature, I would want to better understand the rationale and supposed savings of a KDOT-KTA merger.

As it stands now, we’re all in the dark.

PATRICK D. JONES

Executive director

International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association

Washington, D.C.

Stop carnage

President Obama said at a rally Monday that we need to stop the carnage of gun violence, that we need to control guns.

Well, if you want to talk about carnage, what about abortion? About 1,000 abortions are performed per day. This is carnage. Do we hear from the president on this matter?

LeROY H. KEITER

Colwich

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