Daily Archives: May 19, 2013

How Wagle’s tune has changed on sales taxes

“To pass a tax increase at a time like this would be far worse on the people and far worse on the economic recovery than taking the needed cuts.” – Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, in early 2010, about a proposal to avert damaging state budget cuts by raising the statewide sales tax to 6.3 percent for three years

“Let’s just leave Kansas. Let’s forget about buying food in Kansas.” – Wagle again in May 2010, as the Senate passed the sales-tax hike

“Sales tax has nothing to do with economic growth. It doesn’t really matter what your sales-tax rate is.” – Wagle, now Senate president and an advocate for keeping the sales-tax rate where it is after July 1 to pay for income-tax cuts, speaking last week to GOP Senate and House members

Kansas led nation in growth in gambling revenue

Casino gaming revenue grew faster in Kansas last year than in any other state in the nation, according to a report by the American Gaming Association. Kansas gambling revenue in 2012 was $341 million, a whopping 603.7 percent increase from $48 million in 2011. The big reason for the spike was the opening of the Kansas Star Casino near Mulvane. The casino is still pulling in money, earning $17.2 million in gambling revenue in April (though that’s down from the record $19 million it earned in March).

Plan now to avoid more fish kills, fines

Remember the 850 dead fish. If that falls short as a rallying cry for upgrading Wichita’s sewer and water infrastructure, though, city leaders need only recall the sting of the $243,195 state fine for the 2012 sewage release that killed those fish in the Arkansas River. And the city got off easy this time, because KDHE let what would have been another $455,000 fine be spent instead on a citywide study of deferred sewer maintenance. The $11 million the city has banked for sewer repairs this year and next is great as far as it goes. But as Mayor Carl Brewer warned in his State of the City address this year, the city will need $2.1 billion over the next 30 years to maintain or replace the majority of its water, sewer and storm-drainage systems. Brewer and the rest of the City Council need to find the money and political will soon to tackle this long-term challenge, so more fish kills and fines can be avoided.