Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (June 11, 2017)

Shortfalls will continue

Last week, the Kansas legislature raised taxes some $1.2 billion over two years. In fact, they made it retroactive to the beginning of 2017 (I thought the U.S. Constitution forbade ex post facto laws). Some believe this will solve the budget problems of the last 16-plus years.

They solved nothing. They only added burden to Kansas farmers (and others) who are already hurting from low crop prices. Much of last year’s crop has not been sold, and we are ready to begin harvest of this year’s wheat. Some 1,500 companies moved into Kansas as a result of the tax cuts. The jobs they created will now start moving to other states with more favorable taxes.

There is clearly a lack of knowledge of basic macro economics in the Kansas legislature. Some understand it. However, it appears there are enough who don’t. So they overrode Gov. Brownback’s veto of the tax increase.

Until the legislature fixes the problem of overly aggressive budget revenue forecasting, we will continue to have month after month of revenues failing to meet projections. Increasing taxes doesn’t even address the problem. The revenues will continue to be estimates more than will actually be received. The governor will continue to be forced to cut spending to meet the actual revenue received.

Pay attention over the next 12 months. Unless there is a significant increase in economic activity, the revenue shortfalls will continue. Problem not solved.

Jim Benage, Bel Aire

Courageous legislators

The legislature made a courageous and intelligent move this week. This ends the disastrous tax cuts passed in 2012 that broke our state. The bill will generate revenue that enables the state to support schools, repair and build highways, provide medical care for the elderly and needy along with many other state responsibilities that have been neglected. This action will create jobs in schools, construction and health care.

The “experiment” by Gov. Brownback and his Republican supporters in the legislature is over. I am not trying to be partisan with the previous comment. The facts are that only Republicans voted for the 2012 tax cuts. Not a single Democrat voted for that bill in 2012. Legitimate economists predicted exactly what happened as a result of this “trickle down” experiment. Relying on ideology rather than practical solutions and real numbers got us into this mess.

Many of you are disappointed in your legislator’s refusal to oppose the Republican leadership and governor to save Kansas from this disaster. This should be remembered at the next election.

Now we can begin the process of rebuilding our state. It will take decades to pay off the bonds issued to balance the budget, but this is a good start. Never forget what happened and vote intelligently.

Chuck Schmidt, Independence

New buildings mean more debt

We all who have houses 50 years old or older should tear them down and build new ones. Then we would be like the city government and USD 259.

We’d never be out of debt, but we could stand back and say, “look what I have.” The new buildings do nothing for the people, and the new school buildings do nothing for education. It all is for bringing more people to Wichita. Don’t we (you) realize the more people you have, the more problems you (we) have? Just look at Los Angeles, Chicago and other big cities.

James (Pete) Peterson, Wichita

Senior winners

My girlfriend of 55 years ran the River Run on June 3. It was her 33rd year of doing so, and she won first place in her age class, which is 70-74 years. She was also endowed with a new sobriquet by the race announcer: Straggler.

There were probably 100-200 stragglers, mostly people 50-95 years of age, most of whom finished very well in their age classes. I hope next year, when she runs again, the organizers can reserve an outside lane so the Stragglers can be timed and accorded the respect and recognition they worked so hard to earn. And maybe we can persuade the officials to accord them a new title: Senior Winners.

Maurice Knepp, Wichita

President’s misleadings

President Trump does not have to stay with the Paris accord just for the sake of world opinion. One of the criticisms of Trump is he is following nontraditional ways of administration. He does not have to follow the beaten track. He can always try new ways. But, his decision to get out of the Paris agreement is based on wrong assumptions and is not good for the country and for the humanity.

According to several analyses by writers, his speech given declaring his decision to withdraw from the Paris accord is deceptive and misleading. His job loss claim is absolutely wrong. Yes, coal miners may lose jobs, but they can be retrained to get much better jobs in fast-expanding green technology field. Also government can support clean coal technology. To keep his campaign promises he need not betray the people.

According to economists, the “clean energy economy will boost employment.” There is no way the president can bring back coal jobs. The U.S. coal industry was in decline even before the Paris accord was signed in 2015. Between 2011 and 2016 U.S. coal production dropped 27 percent. According to a report by Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy, this is 49 percent due to natural gas, 26 percent by less demand, 18 percent due to renewable energy and 3 percent to 5 percent due to Obama’s regulations.

The president’s interpretations about China and India within the Paris agreement are also grossly wrong, like the rest of his speech. These two countries reassured their commitment and are not backing off.

Several big and small companies, and some mayors, are well into transition to clean energy. Trump could have stayed in the Paris accord and still could have charted his course. With all the deregulation, our quality of life will deteriorate. He is not making “America great again.” He will only make America the so-called third world country from a lifestyle perspective.

Mohan Kambampati, Wichita

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