Letters to the editor on tax shortfall, paid leave, GOP unity, Schuckman, texting and driving

07/03/2014 12:00 AM

07/02/2014 5:39 PM

Capital gains only part of shortfall

Kansas tax revenues continue their decline below projections – another $28 million in June (July 1 Eagle). Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan is still trying to use the impact of federal tax law on capital gains to justify the $338 million Kansas revenue shortfall at the end of the 2014 fiscal year. There is a slight shred of truth there, but it is not the whole truth.

Having been a member of the Kansas Consensus Revenue Estimating Group for more than 10 years prior to 2010, I find ludicrous the governor’s blame for the shortfall of income tax revenue primarily on variations in capital gains. Income tax revenue for fiscal year 2014 was 12 percent below projection. Moreover, personal income tax collections are down 24 percent from the total at the end of the past fiscal year.

In the latest information from the IRS (Statistics of Income, tax year 2011), the share of capital gains in total taxable income was only 5.6 percent, though undoubtedly larger in 2012. My best guess, without the benefit of complete data, is that the capital gains decline will account for 25 to 30 percent of the revenue shortfall. That is, capital gains are simply too small a share of taxable income to explain any but a small part of the decline in revenues.



No paid leave

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says we need paid leave in this country (June 29 Opinion). He says a study of California companies that offer paid leave found 90 percent saw no negative effects in productivity or morale.

But I see abuse of the current Family and Medical Leave Act, which is unpaid leave, all the time in the aircraft plant where I work. We have many individuals who take time off for vague illnesses that appear to be no impediment to the leisure time activities they regale us with when they return.

Made-up maladies documented by a few shady doctors no doubt enable other folks to milk the national disability system dry as well. Multiply that with other companies across this country, and it most certainly affects the productivity and morale of co-workers left doing all the work.

I had two children before FMLA became law and fought cancer after it was implemented, so I understand why time off is needed. But because I was not paid beyond the partial paycheck coverage my insurance carrier provided, I was motivated to get back to work.

There are already too many FMLA queens out there. Can you imagine if they got paid to stay home? They’ll show up just enough to hold their jobs and benefits and then disappear again, leaving their co-workers holding the working bag, as always.



Pull together

The media explain nearly daily the difference and the separation between the Republican Party and the tea party and how wrong they both are. That scares me to the point of complete indifference.

Has the GOP already forgotten that it wasn’t Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party that defeated Bob Dole for president? Dole would have been easily elected if Ross Perot had not split the vote.

The Republicans have to either find common grounds and common interests to unite as a successful force, or disband as a neutered political party and retire to their separate corners and listen to the Democratic machine beat its chest and appoint politically inept cronies and enact any rule or regulation that will subvert the Constitution or any part of our Bill of Rights.

Please, let’s get this right. Hitch up the team and pull together, citizens.



Positive future

Information from the Environmental Defense Fund corroborates a letter by Jeff Glendening of the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity (“Stop subsidies,” June 27 Letters to the Editor). But those are reasons why Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, must be replaced, not re-elected. He represents the past instead of the future in energy development and shows backward thinking with regard to Kansas’ future.

The biggest problem is that his Republican opponent, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt, represents much of the same thinking. A recent Opinion Line comment noted the tankers going to McConnell Air Force Base would be Airbus if not for Tiahrt’s efforts. He supported Boeing, which stabbed us in the back for thanks.

Since neither man can bring back to Kansas the progressive stance and positive future that characterized this state when I moved here in the 1960s, I am supporting Perry Schuckman, a man with experience in leadership in many different endeavors, a native Kansan and a positive thinker. He has a better chance to truly serve people rather than corporations. In spite of the U.S. Supreme Court’s equivocations, humans really do come first.



Not racetrack

To the people who seem to think it’s acceptable to text and drive through a residential neighborhood at a high rate of speed: If you hit a child or pedestrian with your bullet on wheels, what should your punishment be? In addition, how are you planning to live with yourself?

Slow down, drive defensively, and remember that you’re driving through a neighborhood, not on a racetrack.



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