Daily Archives: Feb. 18, 2014

Good for Brownback for looking into earthquakes

fracking1Credit Gov. Sam Brownback with taking seriously the possibility of a link between the recent seismic activity in south-central Kansas and expanded oil and gas production, specifically the fluid injection involved in “fracking.” Brownback has named a task force to hear from industry and stakeholders beginning with an April 16 meeting at Wichita State University and to otherwise study the issue, calling it a “matter of public safety.” The temblors have been mild, but it’s not safe to assume they will continue to be. At the very least, Kansas would seem to need more than two U.S. Geological Survey monitoring stations.

Open thread (Feb. 18)

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State still treating highway fund like piggy bank

piggybankDuring the past five years, the Legislature has diverted more than $1 billion from the state highway fund to other purposes, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. This fiscal year the Legislature is transferring $264 million from the highway fund, including $140 million to help pay for K-12 education, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Another $215 million transfer is proposed for the 2015 state budget. The transfers helped the state manage its finances through the economic downturn. But in recent years, they have helped it pay for income-tax cuts. Just counting this year and next, Wichita State University professor H. Edward Flentje said, “Kansas taxpayers will be paying down more than $400 million in debt, principal and interest, for the next 20 years in order to help underwrite income-tax cuts.”