Daily Archives: Jan. 28, 2013

Kansas’ self-inflicted shortfall a cautionary tale for Oklahoma

Last year Kansas and Oklahoma were in a race to see which state could cut its income taxes fastest and deepest. Oklahoma lost, as Gov. Mary Fallin’s proposal fell short in the Legislature. But did Kansas and Gov. Sam Brownback win? An editorial in the Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City noted that Brownback now must offset a revenue shortfall: “Kansas faces a revenue decline of $700 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1, compared with the current year. On the other hand, Kansans will pay less in income taxes. The state can boast that it taxes its highest earners at a lower rate than most states in the region, including Oklahoma. This will add fuel to the fire that Oklahoma must protect its flanks, sandwiched as it is between a state with no income tax (Texas) and another with a lower top rate. Nevertheless, what’s happening in Kansas is a cautionary tale.”

Is Huelskamp a maverick or irrelevant?

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, has cast himself as a maverick who is representing the wishes of his district, even if it cost him spots on the House agriculture and budget committees. “I don’t regret speaking for what I believe and what I’ve heard in 140 town halls in the last two years,” he said at a recent meeting in Cottonwood Falls. But former Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal, who is now CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, said that “in a political, democratic process, at the end of the day, something has to get accomplished. You can be irrelevant if you say there’s not set of circumstances where you’ll compromise.” But the National Journal’s Ben Terris noted in an article headlined “There May Be No Way to Silence Republican Outcast Tim Huelskamp” that it only takes 17 defecting Republicans in the House to derail a bill. “The fact is, although Huelskamp may speak with (and sometimes for) only a small group of Republicans, at this point, that may be all it takes to throw a wrench in the gears,” Terris wrote. “Already, 12 people decided not to vote for Boehner as speaker. Huelskamp, of course, was one of them.” Huelskamp told Terris: “I think it was the least I could do to the speaker to return the favor. We wanted to send a message that we are frustrated, all across the conference.”

From Wichita Falls to Wichita

Congratulations to Tim Chase on his new job as president of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. Chase comes to Wichita after 12 years as president of the Wichita Falls (Texas) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and with an impressive range of experience in economic development. It’s been nearly two years since the last permanent GWEDC president left – too long, especially amid such a deep downturn. Expectations are high for Chase’s ability to coordinate our community’s efforts to attract and retain businesses and to market itself not only as a hub for aviation manufacturing, research and training but as a fertile place for high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship.