Daily Archives: Nov. 18, 2009

Todd Tiahrt, Jerry Moran, Fidel Castro and the Communist Party; Is this a red state or what?

Jerry Moran

Jerry Moran

Fidel Castro (AP)

Fidel Castro (AP)

Todd Tiahrt

Todd Tiahrt

The Jerry Moran campaign is seeing red over an e-mail from Senate rival Todd Tiahrt’s campaign that implies Moran is a fellow traveler of the Communist Party.

The e-mail subject line asserts — falsely — that Moran has been endorsed by the Communist Party USA.

“The assertion that Jerry Moran would be affiliated with communists is so outlandish, only a desperate campaign like Todd Tiahrt’s would make such an assertion,” said Moran campaign spokesman Aaron Trost. “It’s a desperate public statement by a campaign that’s still trying to find a message.”

Tiahrt spokeswoman Michelle Schroeder said the e-mail was sent to select supporters to remind them of “the good conservatives who support Todd and Todd’s campaign.”

Moran, who represents Kansas’ 1st district in Congress, and Tiahrt, who represents the 4th District, are locked in a bitter struggle for their party’s nomination to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sam Brownback, who is running for governor.

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New report shows low- and middle-income families shoulder more tax burden than the rich

coinsMost states, Kansas included, put more tax burden on middle- and low-income families than on the wealthy, according to a new study by the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

At a glance, Kansas appears to split taxes as a share of income more evenly than the national average. (See the Kansas fact sheet.) But low- and middle-income families are still seeing a greater percentage of their incomes go to the government than wealthy families.

Kansan families that make less than $19,000 a year pay about 9.2 percent of their income in taxes — the national average is 10.9 percent. More than 6 percent comes from sales and excise taxes and 3.5 percent comes from property taxes, the report shows. The richest families making more than $424,000 pay 7.1 percent of their incomes in taxes. Offset by federal deductions, the poorest pay the same share in taxes and the richest pay 5.9 percent in taxes — the national average is 5.2 percent. Ks Whopays Factsheet

Governor: State cuts to be ‘painful, but not crippling’

Parkinson

Parkinson

Gov. Mark Parkinson told the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce Wednesday that while the recession is “really brutal” for Kansas government, he thinks he and the Legislature can come together to balance the budget in a “post-partisan” manner.

Parkinson has taken on himself most of the responsibility of making $260 million in cuts that will be needed to bring the the 2010 budget back into balance.

That should allow the Legislature to focus on 2011 issues when it returns in January.

Parkinson said the past several years of budget shortfalls have burned away the waste in state government and there’s “no question we’re (now) affecting basic services.”

He said cuts must be a “shared sacrifice” across departments and will be “painful, but not crippling,” so departments will be able to rebound when the economy improves.

Bizarre moment when Kelly Parks mentions warrant

Parks

Parks

During a heated meeting about the future of the Kansas Coliseum, Kelly Parks mentioned that someone who had signed a petition in favor of Heritage Development Group’s plan had a warrant out for his arrest.

Commissioners received a petition signed by 400 people in support of Heritage’s plan to turn the Coliseum into the Saddle Rock Rodeo Resort.

Parks, who supported North American Management-Kansas’ plan to build a mix of retail and entertainment at the site, noted that some names on the petition were from out-of-town people.

He also said that as a former police chief, he noticed that one person who signed the petition had a warrant out for his arrest. He didn’t name names.

But he suggested that Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw look at the petition.

Commissioners vote down recommendation to go with North American plan for Coliseum

Sedgwick County commissioners have voted 3-2 not to enter into negotiations with North American Management-Kansas to develop the Kansas Coliseum, which was the recommendation of a committee that reviewed all proposals.

Stay on Kansas.com for more information.

Commissioner Kelly Parks raises ire at meeting

Commissioner Kelly Parks showed his frustration that other commissioners don’t want to enter into negotiations with North American Management-Kansas to develop the Kansas Coliseum.

“Be prepared to take your dog show downtown” Parks told those in the crowd who use the pavilions for dog and equestrian events.

“I’m going to tell you north end people, I tried,” he said, frustrated.

Parks said his district supports the North American proposal because it preserves Britt Brown Arena.

He and commissioner Gwen Welshimer are the only board members who appear to be supporting entering negotiations at this time. It appears likely the board will defer a decision.

Vote for North American’s plan for Coliseum seems unlikely

Based on commissioner comments so far, it appears there is not enough support to go forward with a recommendation for Sedgwick County to enter into negotiations with North American Management-Kansas to develop the Kansas Coliseum.

Commissioners Tim Norton, Karl Peterjohn and Dave Unruh all have said they have too many questions at this time to feel comfortable moving forward.

Board members Kelly Parks and Gwen Welshimer have noted that at this point, the county only is recommending entering into negotiations with North American, which wants to build a mix of retail and entertainment at the complex.

Stay on Kansas.com for more updates.

County recommends North American plan for Coliseum

Kansas ColiseumA committee that reviewed proposals from developers for the Kansas Coliseum has recommended that Sedgwick County enter negotiations with North American Management-Kansas.

North American wants to build a mix of retail and entertainment at the complex.

The county has received three proposals: North American’s, one from Heritage Development Group and one from Hartman Arena.

Heritage wanted to build the “Saddle Rock Rodeo Resort” at the Coliseum. Hartman later withdrew its plans.

Commissioner Welshimer hesitant on downtown parking plan

Sedgwick County commissioner Gwen Welshimer is questioning a caveat in the county’s agreement with the city for downtown parking near Intrust Bank Arena.

Under the plan, the county would pay the city up to $225,000 to cover any shortfall between gross revenue proceeds from the sale of and the city’s actual expenses associated with operating four parking lots for exclusive use during arena events.

Welshimer said the county has done enough to support downtown Wichita, including building the arena itself, which she said would bring more business downtown.

She was the only commissioner to vote against the agreement.

County stands by performance criteria for raises

A move to suspend performance requirements for Sedgwick County employees to receive 2 percent raises next year has failed.

Commissioners Tim Norton, Karl Peterjohn and Dave Unruh voted against the suspension of performance qualifications. Board members Kelly Parks and Gwen Welshimer voted for the measure.

Earlier this year, the county froze salaries for employees making more than $75,000 and suspended the pool of money for performance-based pay raises, instead setting raises at 2 percent.

But a majority of commissioners thought employees still would have to meet performance standards to receive the 2 percent raises. At the end of 2008, 77 employees didn’t meet performance criteria. To pay those employees a 2 percent raise would have cost the county about $54,000, county manager William Buchanan estimated.

Read more about the raises in Thursday’s Eagle.