Daily Archives: July 30, 2013

ALEC convention still a draw for state lawmakers

More than two dozen Kansas legislators plan to attend the American Legislative Exchange Council national convention in Chicago next week, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. This includes Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, who are on ALEC’s national board. The corporate-backed ALEC has come under heat in recent years for writing “model legislation” for voter-ID and “stand your ground” laws. More than a dozen major companies, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s and Walmart, dropped their memberships. State taxpayers subsidize $475 of the registration cost of the trip per legislator, as well as paying travel costs if lawmakers serve in a leadership role with ALEC. One of the events at ALEC will be a Kansas night dinner at an expensive lakefront restaurant that will be mostly underwritten by corporate sponsors.

Poorer Kansas school districts being left behind

State school funding reductions and freezes have been particularly hard on poorer school district, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. In addition to cutting capital outlay aid to school districts, the state has held equalization aid flat. And as more districts raise local property taxes to offset state funding cuts, equalization aid is falling behind – an estimated $74 million short this fiscal year and $113 million next year. This shortfall only affects poorer districts, not the wealthiest 51 districts in the state that don’t receive equalization aid. And it is harder for poorer districts than the rich to raise money locally (which is the point of the equalization aid). For example, a single mill of property taxes in the Kaw Valley school district near Topeka generates about $281,900, while 1 mill in the neighboring district of Royal Valley raises only $27,500.

Dubious, bogus and utterly phony headlines

The following satirical headlines come from borowitzreport.com and theonion.com:

Congress Fiercely Divided Over Completely Blank Bill That Says And Does Nothing

Weiner Continues Sexting During Apology

Opponents of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Propose New Law, ‘Don’t Shoot Me for Absolutely No Reason’

Nate Silver Warns Against Overestimating His Value to ESPN