Daily Archives: March 16, 2014

Open thread (March 16)

wichitaopenthread

State tax cuts not effective, say former lt. governors

taxcalcFormer Kansas Lt. Govs. Gary Sherrer and John Moore, who also both served as Kansas secretaries of commerce, are challenging the value and effectiveness of Gov. Sam Brownback’s state income-tax cuts. In a commentary published in some state newspapers, they noted that the state’s job-growth rate is significantly below the rates of surrounding states, which didn’t cut their taxes. They also contended that state income taxes aren’t a major factor in a business’ decision to relocate. “In the 12 years we recruited businesses to come to Kansas, the subject of state income tax was never raised,” they wrote. What’s more important to economic growth, they argued, are investments in education and highways, both of which have been cut by Brownback and the Legislature.

Legal cost of anti-abortion laws keeps climbing

gavelThe state’s legal cost of defending recent anti-abortion laws has now topped $1 million. Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office has paid more than $612,000 to the Lawrence firm of Thompson, Ramsdell and Qualseth and more than $418,000 to the Wichita firm of Foulston Siefkin. Lawmakers were warned that the laws likely were unconstitutional, but they passed them (and Gov. Sam Brownback signed them) anyway.

KDHE quietly approved massive hog-farm expansion

seaboardhogsGiven all the controversy, debate and public hearings in the late 1990s and early 2000s about corporate hog farming, it was stunning how quietly the Kansas Department of Health and Environment approved a massive expansion of a Seaboard Foods hog-feeding operation in western Kansas. The permit was signed on Feb. 26 but wasn’t public until last week, when the Sierra Club sent out a news release criticizing the state’s approval, Associated Press reported. With the expansion, the facility in Greeley County will become the nation’s second-largest hog-feeding operation, according to the Sierra Club, and will generate roughly twice as much waste as the city of Wichita. Concerns about corporate hog farms haven’t changed: pollution, overwhelming smell and depletion of water supply.

So they said

bbackmug“I’m hoping the championship game is between two Kansas teams, and then I’m debating on what I’ll bet myself at that time.” – Gov. Sam Brownback (in photo), after explaining his WuShock pin to FoxNews.com

“They’re grinders. They’re hard workers. They’re scrappy and they’re fighters with big hearts. They reflect our town and the best of America and we love them. Godspeed to them. Go, Shox.” – Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, in a speech praising the WSU men’s basketball team on the House floor

“They’re American…. I wish Harry Reid would do his job of running the Senate.” – Brownback again, when asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s criticism of the Koch brothers as un-American