Enough is enough on Capitol building
It is an outrage that in these hard times, the Kansas taxpayers will have to spend more than $20 million to fix the leaking state Capitol roof. It is time to say enough and either convert that money pit into a casino or sell it for scrap.
Kansas should replace the Capitol with a circus tent. A circus tent would provide the following advantages:
• The symbolism of the House, Senate and governor working in a venue with three rings is priceless.
• It wouldn’t take legislators four months to pass a budget if they were sitting on folding chairs under a flapping piece of canvas in the middle of February.
• The Capitol would be mobile, and the Legislature could meet each week in a different region of the state. Not only would this put the Legislature more directly in touch with the people, it would allow cash-strapped schools to reduce the cost of field trips to the Capitol.
• The Capitol could be folded up and put into storage when the Legislature in not in session. This would save millions on maintenance, utilities and staff. During the summer, it could generate money by renting it out for weddings, tent revivals and craft fairs.
• Most important, if the roof starts to leak, it won’t cost $20 million to fix. Instead, a couple of canvas patches and a some Super Glue will get the Legislature right back to slashing school funding, defining marriage and granting oil pipelines special tax exemptions.
Raise the money
Why not fund the Capitol roof project with private donations rather than tax dollars? Surely there are Kansas citizens willing to contribute to such a cause, even in a time when social programs and schools have been asked to make deep cuts in order to operate.
One need not assume that just because the arts were not supported as predicted, this project would be ignored. Those in charge should make an appeal for public support through local newspapers and radio and television stations. They might also enlist the aid of chambers of commerce across the state. Anyone wishing to be part of the project could then voluntarily contribute money, instead of having tax dollars allocated to a project that many taxpayers may feel is a low priority and can wait for a better economic climate.
Value of Congress
As we come into another election year, I thought it would be good to remind our members of Congress of the value they have brought to bear the past half century. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recently reported that during the past 46 years, the stock market only averaged a 0.9 percent annualized rate of return when Congress was in session. It averaged 16.6 percent when Congress was on hiatus.
Hello, Congress. It is apparent that we are better off when you are gone than when you are Washington, D.C. Get your act together, or we will be cleaning house.
It’s good to be a Shocker fan. Our 15 NCAA Division I sports participate, compete and win at the highest level. Having said that, there’s still one element that’s missing every fall: football. Therefore, I’d like to offer an alternative that would bring back the sport and not drain valuable resources from our existing programs.
The Pioneer Football League consists of 10 teams similar to Wichita State University that compete in sports at the Division I level but have chosen to field non-scholarship football programs. The league includes schools from different conferences that have come together for football. Drake University from the Missouri Valley Conference won this past season’s Pioneer League championship.
A non-scholarship team would allow students and alumni to return to campus on fall Saturday afternoons, would restore the traditional homecoming and college atmosphere to campus, allow for a marching band program and increase the student-athlete enrollment. Membership in the league would give WSU a reliable schedule and may generate opportunities for our current programs to schedule new nonconference opponents.
The non-scholarship program could be the starting point for fundraising and facility expansion that would allow for a Division I scholarship program. If the private money is there to elevate to the next level, then great. If not, let’s bring back this option and still win a football league championship.
Cotton ball threat?
Ron Sylvester’s column listed “10 New Year’s resolutions for a better environment” (Dec. 31 Local & State). One suggestion was to compost. “It takes three minutes a day, or less, and it helps reduce waste in landfills that can cause problems,” Sylvester wrote. He then mentioned a few items that can be tossed onto compost piles, including used cotton balls, thus “reducing what you send to the trash.”
I had never before realized that cotton balls threaten our environment. But I fail to see why it really matters whether the dreaded balls are deposited in landfills or end up in a bunch of scattered compost piles.