Daily Archives: March 19, 2009

State Treasurer highlights stimulus programs that help individual taxpayers

TOPEKA – Although most of the attention has focused on how the federal stimulus package will help programs, there are also benefits for individual taxpayers.

Among the aid programs for individuals is a plan where the federal government will cover 65 percent of COBRA assistance for nine months, said State Treasurer Dennis McKinney on Thursday.

But “the clock is ticking,” he said. Employers must notify eligible employees about the help by April 18, and laid off workers must apply to for the program with in 60 days of the notification.

The assistance is for workers who were laid off between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009.

The plans offer health coverage for up to 18 months after a worker is laid off but typically cost much more than payments through an employer.

“Many people did not select that COBRA coverage because they couldn’t afford it when they were laid off particularly if they were needing family coverage,” McKinney said.

He hoped the assistance would encourage people to sign up for the health coverage, which would be done through their former employers.

“We don’t want a growth in the ranks of the uninsured in Kansas,” he said.

McKinney said his office planned to have information detailing programs from the stimulus plan that would help individual Kansans posted on its website by Friday.

Kansans protest federal meddling

TOPEKA | About 65 Kansans converged on the Statehouse Wednesday to protest what they see as federal attempts to meddle with Kansas’ sovereignty.

Several waved signs citing the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reserves powers for the states that aren’t specifically given to the federal government.

The reason for the event? A resolution sponsored by Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, a Shawnee Republican, that calls on the federal government to “cease and desist” from withholding federal funds from states that don’t meet federal mandates.

Speakers included Sen. Tim Huelskamp, a Fowler Republican. He cited the stimulus package’s funding requirements as the latest attempt by Washington to control the states.

“Here we are a month later and we still don’t know what’s in there,” he said of the stimulus. “It’s scary.” — David Klepper