Letters to the Editor

Letters on government workers, liquor bills, cigarette taxes

Public employees make life better

Each year the president and Congress designate the first full week of May as Public Service Recognition Week in honor of the 22 million men and women who serve America as federal, state and local government employees.

Each and every day, I have the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the remarkable contributions and achievements made by public-sector employees. The list is long: the EMS worker who comforted my mother while she was being transported to the hospital after a fall; the postal carrier who made sure presents would be delivered to my grandchildren; the summer recreation worker who helped my daughter learn to hit a T-ball; the teacher who spent extra time teaching my son division; the utility worker who patched the potholes on my street; the highway patrol officer who stopped a drunken driver on the road; the clerk who issued our marriage license; even the tax assessor who makes sure that the valuation on our house is fair.

There are many more examples.

The next time you read about a public-sector mistake, remember that governments, like all employers, are made up of imperfect human beings and that most government workers want to be held accountable for their actions.

They choose careers of public service because they value the lives of their fellow citizens and feel an obligation to make life better for us all. They go to work every day dedicated to a cause greater than themselves.



Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs

Wichita State University


Uncork truth

Dave Dillon, former CEO of Ohio-based Kroger, encouraged Kansans to support the sale of liquor in grocery stores (“Uncork Kansas, free market,” April 30 Opinion). There is a lot he didn’t tell you. Let me “uncork the truth.”

▪  Oklahoma currently allows 3.2 beer statewide. What Oklahomans are trying to do is change their state constitution to allow full-strength beer. That is far from what Uncork Kansas is trying to do.

▪  Dillons is no longer a Kansas-owned business.

▪  The reason there are rural customers without a grocery store is because Kroger, Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee ran them out of business, not because they couldn’t buy their booze with their milk.

▪  If Kroger believes in a strong, free-market economy, then it should be praising the way Kansas handles the sale of alcohol. There are 750 independent liquor stores with Kansas owners competing with one another.

▪  Liquor stores don’t like the legislation proposed by these out-of-state corporations because it doesn’t help Kansas. It limits who can own a license, which by definition is anti-free market.

Encourage your local legislators to learn the facts about this issue and not the lies of an out-of-state corporation.



Cost of smoking

The budget in Kansas has generated discussion about consumption taxes – specifically, an increase to the tobacco tax.

Every Kansas household incurs a cost of $825 to treat smoking-related diseases for those covered by government-managed health care programs. The average pack-a-day smoker could save about $1,300 per year by quitting. Raising the price of tobacco products would help people quit smoking, saving themselves – and everyone else – a lot of money.

I am fully supportive of the proposal to increase tobacco taxes. An astounding 73 percent of Kansans supported an increase in the tobacco tax, according to one poll.

As I see it, the increased tobacco tax helps solve two problems by increasing revenue and reducing smoking rates. I don’t think any other proposal being considered provides the added benefit of saving lives, as this one does. An added bonus is the savings in health care costs.

If you don’t want to pay the increased tax, then don’t smoke. It’s that simple. But if you want to keep smoking, then you need to cough up (pun intended) the money to cover the costs associated with your choice, because I shouldn’t have to.



Letters to the Editor

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