Golf funding would have good return
I was mentioned in connection with a quote about a state budget proposal for golf tournaments in Wichita and Newton, but I was not contacted by The Eagle (May 26 WE Blog excerpts).
State government has about $2.8 billion in unencumbered balances, some designated for specific purposes. With the help of the state’s research department, we took three weeks to review those accounts.
Many of the accounts were growing or inactive. We identified and reallocated $25 million back to the state general fund to support the 2014 budget.
A Senate conference committee identified the Greyhound Breeding Fund with $87,000 and four years of no activity. Because it was a tourism account, I suggested $85,000 go toward grants to a Web.com Tour event, the Air Capital Classic, and to a United States Golf Association Amateur Public Links Championship.
A Wichita State University study shows the Air Capital Classic brings in more than $615,000 from out of state. An estimated $2 million comes in from a Public Links Championship. Moving money from an inactive tourism account to one generating a return to the state general fund seems straightforward, but newspapers may not appreciate return on investment. If they did, they might connect partisan reporting with declining readership.
The state supported the 2002 U.S. Women’s Open and 2006 USGA Senior Open. I don’t recall if The Eagle was outraged.
Rep. MARC C. RHOADES
Pay the toll?
To help understand what has gone on this legislative session, we need to look back at how we got to this position. The governor’s grand tax plan from last year left a gaping hole in the budget – something on the order of $800 million. That means that the Legislature either must cut another $800 million out of higher education, public schools, the courts, corrections, and services for the disabled and seniors, or it must raise taxes.
During the 2012 elections, Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce mounted a full-court press to defeat moderates. They made it quite clear what happens to those who oppose Brownback’s ideas. There also were dozens of new House members who were elected on the promise of lower taxes and smaller government. Now those freshmen lawmakers are being told they have to vote for an $800 million tax increase to stay in good graces with the powers that be.
Their threat won’t come just from Democrats who will point out their vote. Their biggest threat comes from their own party, which will run against them for voting for higher taxes.
There is an exit ramp to this loop, but it has a sign that reads: “Pay toll ahead: $800 million.”
Rep. NILE DILLMORE
Wichita citizens were asked if they have “had enough” in regard to the abortion protesters and “TRAP laws” (May 28 Letters to the Editor). What Wichita citizens have had enough of is abortion in the community, of parents and families being devastated from this practice, and of babies having lost their lives at the Kellogg facility for the past three decades.
The hardworking, caring and loving citizens of Wichita rejoice at the prospect of a clinic opening to help men, women and families in their time of need, but not when the same clinic provides abortions.
The people here realize that children are a blessing from the Lord, and not a curse. It is our hope and prayer that everyone, including all the workers at the South Wind Women’s Center, will also come to see that. We will be praying for them.
Apparently few people realize one of the main reasons for the delay in the Keystone XL pipeline. It was because in late 2011 the Nebraska Legislature and the state’s governor unanimously opposed the pipeline route over the Ogallala Aquifer in southwest Nebraska, and President Obama deferred to their wishes.
Those of us who agreed with this decision were called some nasty names by those on the extreme right, who hadn’t bothered to inform themselves as to these facts.
Now that the pipeline has agreed to reroute eastward, away from the aquifer, and Nebraska agrees, that reason for objection is gone. However, now the premier of British Columbia wants the pipeline route to go west to the Pacific coast, and Canadians are mostly in favor of this all-Canada route.
I can understand why.
ALFRED JAMES III
Brother in arms
Memorial Day is the day to pay respect to the dead, especially those who defended their country.
Richard Cowan, a fellow I knew from North High School and Allison Middle School, lost his life in combat in World War II. I thought I would look up his grave in the Wichita Park Cemetery and put an American flag at the site. It took some doing, but with the help of some nice guys who work there, I found the grave.
This friend earned the Medal of Honor and, lo and behold, the stone said so. But the sad thing about this scene was that a small blue Medal of Honor flag and the American flag that I put there were the only memorials on his grave. Cowan must not have any relatives still living in Wichita, but I, for one, feel he is my brother in arms.