Legislators benefiting from tax exemption?
The Legislature’s refusal to understand the source of the state’s budget woes is confusing. How can legislators not see that Kansas is broke because they eliminated a revenue stream? When people quit jobs, they know there’s no paycheck coming. The source of the budget hole is as obvious.
A glance at some legislator biographies may reveal a clue. Some legislators may be suffering from the hindrance the author Upton Sinclair described: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Surely, Kansans would find it an educational public service were The Eagle to investigate the following questions:
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▪ How many Kansas legislators benefit financially from the tax exemptions enacted in 2012?
▪ Do they benefit disproportionately with respect to the rest of the state’s citizens?
▪ Who are they?
▪ Have they hired new employees at the rate they predicted?
▪ Has their increased employment offset the revenue lost to their tax exemptions?
Those are questions the people of Kansas could use answers to, given the state of the budget and difficulty our legislators are having finding the source of the missing revenue.
Marco Giorgi, Wichita
I applaud Gov. Sam Brownback for defunding Planned Parenthood (“Planned Parenthood sues state of Kansas,” May 5 Eagle).
Some say that it is OK for the government to keep funding Planned Parenthood, because the money can’t be used for abortions. How does it make sense to give Planned Parenthood money to fund its non-abortion work so it can further profit from the money it gets from its abortion work?
This is a Faustian bargain, pure and simple, and it’s morally reprehensible that my tax dollars are allocated in this way.
Tim Wiesner, Wichita
Stamp out hunger
Saturday marks the 24th anniversary of the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
Each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect food donations. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people most in need. The food drive’s timing is crucial, as food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the holidays. By spring, many pantries are depleted, entering summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.
When giving, please consider providing healthy options. Food insecurity often means that healthy choices are out of reach. When filling your bag for your letter carrier, please select canned fruit in juice, not syrup; low-sodium canned soups and vegetables; tuna in water, not oil; brown rice; and whole-grain pasta.
Participating in the food drive is simple: Leave nonperishable food donations in a bag by your mailbox on Saturday, and your letter carrier will do the rest. I invite the entire community to join in a great day of giving and help in the fight to end hunger.
Becky Tuttle, Wichita
Telling it like it is
The public is invited to the “Telling It Like It Is Forum” on Saturday at the Hotel at Old Town Conference Center, 210 N. Mosley. It will feature an unexpected alliance – two former Kansas governors, Democrat John Carlin and Republican Mike Hayden, speaking to the question, “What the Hell’s Wrong With Kansas?”
Other noted speakers include Kansas Supreme Court Justice Marla J. Luckert, on “The Role of Fair and Impartial Courts in Kansas”; Annie McKay, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, on “Pawning Our Future: Kansas’ Failed Tax Experiment”; Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project at the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, on “Health Policy in Kansas: No Heart, No Brain, No Courage”; and social justice advocates Therese Bangert and Alice Kitchen on “Bridge the Divides: Transform Politics.”
For registration details, go to womenforkansas.org.
Mary Knecht, Wichita
Teachers need break, too
Missing from the arguments for additional recess time to advantage elementary school students is the even stronger justification for these recess minutes – an opportunity for the teachers to catch a brief break from the rigors of instruction.
For those who have never taught: Try to imagine the constant creation of a productive learning environment for as many as two dozen young students, often for two- and three-hour blocks of time, mornings and afternoons. Imagine allowing for each student’s unique levels of readiness for a task, having the necessary materials, maintaining their interest, creating motivation to master often complicated objectives, assuring a positive learning climate, managing conflicts, and keeping a record of their performance.
Though their students may have occasional time for independent and small group learning experiences, the teacher takes no breaks; every activity is being professionally monitored and attended in some fashion.
Given a 15-minute recess, within each morning and afternoon three-hour block of formal instruction, teachers could have this minimal break to both physically refresh and even more efficiently organize. Of course, the responsibility for supervising recesses will need to be shared among the teachers, thus allowing a teacher’s break as the rotation permits. This is a win-in plan that will pay off for both the students and their teachers.
John H. Wilson, Wichita
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