State budget – Kansas is the Titanic, crashing into an iceberg that could sink it into near-bankruptcy. Alas, Capt. Sam Brownback is still rearranging the deck chairs, assuring everyone that the problems will go away. Soon. Promise. But the state’s constant financial troubles won’t disappear on their own. Eliminating the business tax break must be the highest order of business in the remaining days of the 2016 legislative session.
The governor signed a proclamation declaring April as Financial Literacy Month in Kansas. The irony is that he’s not recommending his own staff or elected lawmakers to undergo financial literacy training – and they likely need it the most.
Tax changes – The annual ritual of preparing income tax returns has produced an unpleasant surprise in reduced itemized deductions, a tactic designed to help offset revenue losses caused by deep income tax cuts. The reduced deductions were nothing more than back-door tax increases.
Medicaid – The people of Kansas have spoken and they want Medicaid expansion. Under threat of veto from Gov. Sam Brownback, legislators have been hesitant to even discuss the matter. That is inexcusable. When poll numbers show strong support for legislation that would help 150,000 Kansans, debates need to be scheduled and votes need to be taken.
Local control – Once the people pushing the property tax lid finally listened to the officials who would be most affected by this bill, they could see that changes needed to occur. It’s good that they made some changes. Even better would be for them to recognize that local officials are better qualified than state legislators to make local spending decisions.
Canceled speaker – Rep. Mike Pompeo said the Islamic Society of Wichita would be responsible for “damage among religious faiths” if it hosted a Hamas-linked speaker on Good Friday. Instead of blaming the society, Pompeo should have blamed the extremists. They are the ones who raised the possibility of gun violence.