Thanks from zoo, Exploration Place
On behalf of the boards and members of the Sedgwick County Zoo and Exploration Place, we’d like to thank the more than 25 community partners, leaders and citizens, especially the young people, who talked about what the zoo and Exploration Place mean to them and our community at the Sedgwick County Commission meeting last week. As good partners, we support the change in termination date to let the county commissioners go through their budget issues.
It was humbling and inspiring to listen to private, home and public educators and youth organization leaders talk about the importance of partnerships and programs that help teach science, technology, engineering and math principles to our future workforce. We heard the stories of how these hands-on programs are inspiring our young people to pursue science and math careers. One mother spoke of her daughter attending Wichita State University in engineering because of her experiences at Exploration Place.
Other partners and people talked about how important it is to have high-quality attractions in our community, because a great quality of life is necessary to keep and recruit our workforce. These attractions and others also help encourage visitors who now spend almost $1 billion in our community.
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We’d also like to thank the many people who e-mailed and called commissioners and our boards to communicate that the zoo and Exploration Place are priorities for our community.
Exploration Place board of trustees
Sedgwick County Zoological Society
Are small businesses important to our economy? You bet. I was fortunate to be the state director of the Kansas Small Business Development Centers in the 1980s when the Legislature and Congress first saw the light. Providing these businesses with guidance and support is crucial to our economy.
However, small businesses need people willing and able to buy their products and services. Allowing small-business owners to pay no state income taxes, while requiring consumers to cover that cost, ultimately does a disservice to the small business. It is the cycle of demand and supply that makes for a sound economy. Consumers having less money hurts the business owner.
There is no requirement that business owners hire more employees to receive the income tax exemption. The owners of some of the state’s largest businesses and their subsidiaries are LLCs and will continue paying no state income taxes even if they lose employees. Not only that, but these large-business owners also enjoy other perks and tax waivers.
Legislators need to do the right thing. They need to quit listening only to business lobbyists and a discredited economist.
We are all job creators, and we all depend on one another to make our economy grow. Rescind the upside-down tax system and put Kansas back on the road to success. Allow the sun to shine again.
SUSAN K. OSBORNE
Sales tax unfair
Government used to be by the people and for the people. Now it is aligned for the benefit of business and the politicians who are bought and paid for by the wealthy.
A higher sales tax is not fair to lower-income folks such as those on retirement, because they spend all of their income to live. The wealthy business owners who now pay no income tax (thanks to Gov. Sam Brownback and his cohorts) do not need all of their income to live and, therefore, can afford to pay more. But do they? No. They now pay nothing in Kansas income tax.
When I moved to Kansas in 1978, it was a bit more fair. The sales tax was 3 cents on the dollar, and the company you worked for not only paid its fair share of taxes but also paid for your health insurance and paid you a living wage.
I feel so sorry for the young folks of Kansas who are apparently too ignorant to vote for people who take care of them instead of the wealthy. But I still expect to see a lot of them begin to think like me and vote with their feet, and leave this backward state.
HARRY J. TAYLOR III
Regarding “Officials urge schools to teach financial literacy” (May 14 Local & State): Good idea. If that had been done while our legislators and governor were in school, Kansas might have avoided the present budgetary crisis.
PAUL A. MILLER
Currently, we have Sedgwick County commissioners who desire to grandstand and create problems just to see their names in the news.
Commissioner Jim Howell, who feels that the former IRS building will not serve the needs of the county as a new downtown tag office, does not consider a point of view different from his own. By moving the tag office from its current location on Murdock Street, we will double the square footage of the space and almost triple the amount of available parking. In my eyes this is a great improvement. There is also additional available parking nearby.
Before you praise someone for being an alleged champion of controlling government waste, look at a couple of projects this commissioner has on his agenda: Spending millions of dollars to change 63rd Street South from Rock Road to Rose Hill from a very safe four-lane road to a very dangerous two-lane road with a “suicide center turning lane,” and reopening the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch, even though the Kansas Department of Corrections does not support it.
The Sedgwick County Zoo benefits more of the people of this area than would Howell’s other projects. Making any cuts or not making long-term funding commitments does little to lower the county’s budgeted expenses. The only benefit I can see from this discussion is for someone looking to free funding for his pet projects.
Drug bill harms
House Bill 2149, which the Legislature approved, will not help those seeking mental health treatment who are on Medicaid. Restricting the best medication available only lengthens the misery that goes along with mental illness.
It can take months, or even years, to find the best medications that will allow people with mental illnesses to function properly. Because of this bill, many with mental illnesses will give up trying to get help, because they and their doctors will have minimal input.
Requiring doctors to fill out more paperwork to authorize their patients for name-brand drugs puts a burden on the doctors who are very busy. Also, many of the drugs for mental illnesses take at least two to four weeks to work, and only allowing a three-day emergency prescription while the doctor fills out that paperwork may do little for the person who is mentally ill. If the “mental health advisory committee” turns down the request, then that patient is relegated to using drugs that do not work for them and may stop taking those drugs.
It is not the fault of the mentally ill that the state is in a fiscal mess. Just because they are poor does not mean they should pay the price for the failed tax-cut experiment.
Doing any good?
Not so long ago you would occasionally catch a greeting: “Are you doing any good yet?” Whoever thought up this little gem is a genius. It is the exact question Kansans should constantly be asking their governor and legislators. The answer may escape the politicians, even when most ordinary Kansans have long known the answer to be a resounding “no.”
So until fair, sensible and decent laws are signed that return Kansas to her moral birthright, this will become my standard greeting. Should any Kansan feel similarly that those in power are not listening to anyone but themselves, I invite them to join me.
ERNEST (E.C.) MANNY III
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