Daily Archives: Feb. 4, 2013

Kansas ranchers finally got some good news

Japan’s decision last week to ease some restrictions on U.S. beef imports was good news for Kansas. Because of concerns about mad cow disease, Japan banned U.S. beef in 2003, and later allowed only beef from cattle younger than 20 months. The current agreement raises the age to 30 months. “I am pleased our Kansas ranchers have additional access to this critical market,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. “After two years of drought, this is certainly welcome news, especially in the long term, for U.S. beef producers.” Before the 2003 ban, Japan was the biggest U.S. customer, importing 918 million pounds of U.S. beef. In 2011, Japan imported 456 million pounds of U.S. beef.

Immigration action leaving Kobach behind

The flurry of bipartisan action in Washington, D.C., toward comprehensive immigration reform has Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and his uncompromising approach to illegal immigration looking like yesterday’s news. “We haven’t tried a strategy of strictly enforcing our laws and encouraging people to comply with the law, which means go home,” Kobach said on PBS’ “Newshour,” arguing that the proposed “amnesty” would cost the country $2.6 trillion over 10 years (because the newly documented immigrants would want food stamps, Medicaid, etc.). Kobach also said that “our legal immigration system is working. And it’s the most generous one on the planet.”

Who is to blame for pressure on property taxes?

State Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, again is promoting a bill that would require local governments to lower their mill levy every time property values rise, unless they publicly vote to increase taxes. The idea is to help prevent “hidden tax increases.” But former Topeka Rep. Ann Mah contends that it is a “a nanny-state bill masquerading as property-tax relief.” She argued in committee testimony last week that the Legislature, not local government, is to blame for the pressure to raise property taxes: “Who cut school funding? Who cut funding for safety-net services? Who cut funding for mental health, turning our jails into psych wards? Who has systematically been pushing the cost of government from the state to local units of government? You can thank the Legislature for all that.”