Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (April 29)

Give opportunity to itemize

The Kansas Senate has passed a bill which increases the standard deduction, accelerates the restoration of itemizing percentages for tax and mortgage deductions, and allows Kansas tax filers to itemize regardless their federal return.

The 2018 federal tax law enacted changes which nearly double the standard deduction amounts. According to an Eagle article, about one-third of Kansas tax filers typically file an itemized Kansas return. That percentage will drop significantly starting in 2018, based on current Kansas tax rules.

If the current Senate bill is enacted, the two-thirds that typically file a standard tax return will see a tax cut in 2018 when compared to 2017. For the other one-third, maintaining itemizing appears to be a good solution which would negate the tax increase that may result if unable to file a Kansas itemized return.

The Senate bill may be unaffordable at this time since it gives everyone a tax cut. But the itemizing portion of the bill is needed to avoid the unplanned Kansas tax increase for filers which typically itemize. I encourage the Kansas House to determine the cost impact of implementing only the itemizing portion of the Senate plan. I believe this change is affordable and needed.

Joe Newberry, Derby

One’s a good fit for Pompeo, one is not

Rep. Ron Estes demonstrates facile reasoning in his claims that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is being subjected to partisan political obstruction in his quest for confirmation as Secretary of State (Thursday’s Eagle). Estes asserts that since many of those who approved of Pompeo’s CIA confirmation are now not supporting his confirmation as Secretary of State, their motives are suspect.

But the equivalency between the CIA and the Department of State is a false one. The position of CIA director suits very well Pompeo’s experience and training and is a job primarily performed out of the public eye and with the internal cooperation of others within the CIA.

The State Department, however, requires an outward-looking and quite public presence, interacting diplomatically with others outside the organization whose objectives might be quite different from those of the United States. It requires a deft touch and a flexibility which some may believe is not in Pompeo’s wheelhouse. It is for this reason that some of us approved of his appointment to the CIA as a proper choice, while being wary of his appointment as Secretary of State.

It is easy to excoriate superficial “politics” as a motive for disagreement, but sometimes differences of opinion stand on quite substantial other grounds.

Tina Bennett-Kastor, Wichita

Public-private partnerships

There is a basic difference in goals of public and private enterprises (“WSU partnerships make sense,” April 23 letters). A public enterprise works for the public and does not care whether the beneficiary is rich or poor. The decisions are taken in time to protect the common man.

The goal of a private enterprise is the bottom line. “How” does not matter.

I came to America in 1965. Anytime there was a talk of Social Security, I was asked not to bother as there would be no Social Security by my retirement . But it has stayed. As with Social Security, other sources show up to finance schools. To say students benefit from private funds is not true. Schools take money from the students for spending on students.

WSU gives some facilities to retired faculty, but raising parking fees from $20 a year to $150 a year in 2017-18 has discouraged their use. Students are left to manage themselves.

A school flourishes when people visit the campus, but the company that decides parking fees is for its bottom line.

President John Bardo has done a lot for WSU, but should be more involved with administration. More public visits should be encouraged.

Prem Bajaj, Wichita

We all have a stake and a vote

Every day brings debate about our economy, health care, energy, and our place in the world. As reported in the Wichita Eagle, “Farmers are at the mercy of the trade fight.” The state Legislature is still attempting to fund education in Kansas and discussion of gun laws has been brought to the forefront.

Lost in the shuffle of partisan politics and sound bites is the reminder that each one of us has an equal say in influencing our future.

In recent weeks an active debate was underway, not in the halls of Congress, but in Wichita high schools. Students participated in March for Our Lives, campus activities and classroom discussions. We had the opportunity to talk with students about why their voices are needed. As 18-year-old student Cielo told us, “Register to vote because it's important to recognize the change that needs to happen within our government in order for the people's needs and problems to be solved.”

Now, more than ever, our community’s young people want to be part of the solution. Their future depends on it. Thank you to all Wichita students who took a stand and registered to vote. We hope readers will do the same.

Sharon Ailslieger and Pat Reinhold, Co-Presidents, League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro

School officers’ training

The school-to-prison pipeline is steadily increasing and it is time for policy change. In order to correctly perform emergency safety interventions, school resource officers need to obtain trauma-informed training so they can correctly restrain students without the harmful effects of the police becoming involved every time.

Research demonstrates that a significant number of youth in the juvenile justice system have been exposed to potentially traumatic events resulting in many of these youth having trauma symptoms. Further, the trauma may relate to delinquent behaviors. By making an amendment to House Bill 2243 to add trauma informed training for school resource officers, it will reduce police contact with students who display high-risk behaviors, reduce suspensions, increase safety for students and staff, and increase a positive school climate.

Our youth deserve to feel safe in the school environment. It is imperative that we fight to gain support for amending HB 2243.

Christina Pitts, Park City

Letters to the Editor

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Kirk Seminoff at 316-268-6278, kseminoff@wichitaeagle.com.