Daily Archives: March 3, 2013

Kansas’ strength is workforce, schools, roads

It was striking that Graham Toft, president of the Florida-based consultant group GrowthEconomists Inc., told Gov. Sam Brownback’s council of economic advisers last week that Kansas should rebrand itself by focusing on its high-ranking educated workforce, quality K-12 schools, robust roads and railways, and “roll up your sleeves” Midwest culture. In other words, some of the state services that have been jeopardized by Brownback’s reckless push to eliminate state income taxes.

Lawmakers love telling locals what to do

Local officials across the state are frustrated by all the legislation in Topeka that would impose new mandates and restrictions on local governments. Wichita City Council member Peter Meitzner told the Topeka Capital-Journal that there were six or seven bills in Topeka that would have a direct impact on how a city operates – such as restriction on how cities and counties raise property-tax revenue, where they can ban guns, and whether they can spend their tax dollars on sustainable development. There also are a number of bills that would place new mandates on local school boards. What’s ironic is that these bills are being proposed by limited-government conservatives (some of them from Sedgwick County). “The Legislature and individual legislators hate it when the feds mandate for them – unfunded or not – things they have to do,” said Rich Eckert, Shawnee County’s attorney. “However, they have very little compunction about turning around and doing the same thing to local units of government in Kansas. And I don’t understand that.”

Shouldn’t someone be able to postpone election?

As a second snowstorm threatened Kansas and Tuesday’s primary election, Secretary of State Kris Kobach took the welcome step of extending the hours for early voting on Monday while noting state law doesn’t allow for an election to be postponed. In a state prone to extreme weather, shouldn’t there be some flexibility to ensure citizens are able to vote? V. Kay Curtis, spokeswoman for Kobach’s office, later told The Eagle editorial board that the Legislature could give the secretary of state discretion to change election dates other than November general elections. But “the date for the November election is set forth in the Kansas Constitution, so changing that date would take a constitutional amendment,” Curtis said.