Letters to the editor on city survey, renewable-energy standard, Catholic politicians

02/14/2013 5:28 PM

02/14/2013 5:28 PM

Survey is a lot of gobbledygook

I was selected to participate in the community survey being conducted by Wichita and Sedgwick County, but will not be returning it. Every time I pick it up and look at how the questions are worded, I get angry.

I realize it is easy to criticize others’ hard work, but you would have to be dead to not answer that you agree with most of the questions. I don’t see how the questions are really establishing priorities, and some subjects are addressed over and over. The results of the questionnaire are going to be only propaganda that allows every organization or cause to say, “But the big survey said the citizens agreed with what we want to do, and we should be funded.”

A more simple approach to establishing priorities would be to list the top 25 concerns the city and county have identified and have participants prioritize from one to 25 how they feel the concerns should be addressed. This would give the city and county a real, quantifiable list to work from and would be easy to understand, instead of the bunch of gobbledygook contained in this survey.



Wind facts

The Kansas Policy Institute is lobbying the Legislature to end the renewable portfolio standard by employing a study estimating that utilities will pay 18.4 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020 for wind energy.

Facts dispute KPI’s study, as Westar Energy states that wind costs fell 30 percent since 2009, down to less than 3.5 cents – one-fifth of KPI’s estimate and about half Westar’s cost of other forms of new generation. KPI estimates rates increasing 45 percent, yet the RPS statute that KPI wants repealed caps the number at 1 percent. Westar estimates the actual cost of the RPS to residential customers as $13.80 per year (with some utilities reporting zero), while KPI’s model says $660.

It’s unfortunate that KPI uses a questionable study to lobby the Legislature, as it does exceptional work in other areas of the state economy. Given Kansas’ ambitious plan to build the economy by lowering taxes, it seems untimely to risk losing economic growth responding to an effort more based in political ideology than fact.

Please ask your lawmakers in Topeka, before they vote on the RPS, to have KPI explain why factual Kansas wind-energy cost data was not used in its study instead of hypothetical estimates from a Boston think tank.



No social justice

As a Catholic, I feel compelled to draw attention to Gov. Sam Brownback and area lawmakers who are Catholic yet want to eliminate state income taxes. Former Gov. Alf Landon said that income tax was the fairest of taxes and sales tax was the most regressive.

After Brownback’s State of the State address, the opposition party member who responded, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, properly questioned the fairness of this tax plan, calling it “Robin Hood in reverse” because it takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

The politicians who are Catholic support the right to life. This being their position, I would ask: Whose right to a decent life do they really support? Where is the social justice in the governor’s tax plan? After all, social justice is the essence of our Judeo-Christian faith.



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