Letters to the Editor

Letters on state spending, budget cuts, human trafficking

State not spending within its means

Over the past several months, an unparalleled amount of attention has been granted to a budget “shortfall” in the state of Kansas. In actuality, Kansas is projected to bring in $143 million more revenue this year than last, with that growth expected to continue next year.

Many Kansas families and businesses haven’t seen 2.4 percent growth in their own budgets like the state has seen this year. Yet some in the media continue to proclaim an insurmountable budget deficit – a state on the verge of collapse.

This rhetoric is simply not true. The only “shortfall” in the Kansas budget is the willingness to spend within our means.

There are some in the Statehouse who have demanded a tax increase on Kansas small businesses – an option I will not take. The 2012 tax cuts have produced positive results for our state. Last year we set a record for the number of new businesses, and we have more Kansans working than ever before, which means more are filing tax returns. We cannot turn our backs on our small businesses now.

Many states across the nation are facing budget difficulties. Those willing to live within their means and not increase the tax burden on their citizens will, in the end, prove wise and prosperous.

Rep. Mark A. Kahrs, Wichita

District 87

Tired of cuts

I’m tired of the rounds of budget cuts at Kansas schools and universities.

It baffles me that to support his “small-business-bolstering tax plan,” Gov. Sam Brownback is fully willing to gut one of the surest contributions to business and economic development in a region: education.

It’s plenty clear to anyone who looks that the governor’s tax plan does not work. Still, the governor and his friends continue to cut the programs and institutions that are proved to work to support this failed experiment. These cuts have very real consequences.

When businesses see drastic cuts to education in a state, they think twice about setting up shop. Their families would have to live and go to school here, too. Their businesses would have to pull from the relatively less educated workforce.

In addition, high-potential and high-ability individuals within Kansas may look to other states that value education when looking at college or graduate studies. As a senior studying economics and finance at Wichita State University, I’m considering graduate school very seriously, and one thing I know for sure: I won’t be sticking around a state that doesn’t value my education.

Gage N. Webb, Wichita

Restitution is law

The sentiment expressed in support of human trafficking victims in “Solution is restitution” (April 27 Letters to the Editor) was highly commendable. But readers need not urge the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 214, because its proposal to allow civil damages and require mandatory restitution for human trafficking victims became law last year.

During the 2015 legislative session, Attorney General Derek Schmidt requested the Legislature introduce SB 214. The entire substance of the bill became law July 1, 2015, after it was added to SB 113, which the Legislature approved and the governor signed. All that was stricken from the legislative calendar was the hollow shell of the original bill, which no longer had any purpose.

These new provisions authorizing civil damages and mandatory restitution are now codified in state law at K.S.A. 60-5003 and K.S.A. 22-3424(d)(2). We all can be proud Kansas has been a leader in combating human trafficking and working to support victims of this terrible crime.

Jennifer Rapp, Topeka

Deputy director, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit

Attorney General’s Office

Letters to the Editor

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