Upcoming legislative session will have plenty of hot button issues

first_imgTrimmer would like to work to create better education, a fair tax policy and to promote real economic growth.“The Governor’s policies have caused an increase in property taxes, sales taxes, and a reduction in deductions middle income and poor people can claim. Most of us are paying more in taxes so a few, who can most afford it, nothing,” Trimmer said. “These policies have not helped our economy but made it the lowest performing economy in our region and the U.S.”Follow us on Twitter. by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The state’s legislative session formally kicked off Tuesday with Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s State of the State speech. While closing a shortfall in the budget will be the year’s most pressing issue, there are other hot button issues that have local legislators’ attention.Sam BrownbackState Representative Kyle Hoffman (R-Coldwater) is on the state Appropriation’s Committee. Those members got the first look at a study that shows the state how it can save $2 billion over the next five years. It is a 200-page book and he has not had time to read, but he has seen a presentation of the highlights.One thing that is controversial is the idea that school districts could use up their contingency fund, or reserves, instead of getting more money from the state.Kyle HoffmanHoffman said some school districts have a lot and some have very little in reserves, so he thinks having a benchmark or a certain level, might be the best idea.He said the financial shortfall in the budget is not as big as last year, and if some of the things from the study are implemented, they might be able to close it.“There are things in business, you do obvious things, but in government that is harder,” he said.Ed TrimmerEd Trimmer, (D-Winfield) said the total budget deficit is more than $200 million and bonding programs and transferring money to other programs are being used to try to cover it.“This is borrowing money with interest to pay a debt you cannot cover. You still have the debt, but also the interest. It will bankrupt future generations,” he said.State Sen. Steve Abrams, who was once on the State Board of Education board, said he would like to see an education finance bill passed this year, one that gets the state away from block grants.Trimmer also wants to work on education, but said schools are receiving $550 less per pupil than when the governor took office. He said the governor is including taxes raised at the local level in its figures and then claiming to have increased spending. He said it is not honest and just a change in accounting.Another fairly controversial thing is that the state put a “lid” on local property taxes as it closed the session last year, and it has been reintroduced this year. The lid would require cities to get voter approval to raise property taxes in many cases. It is set to go into effect in 2018, but last night Gov. Brownback said he wants to see it happen faster.Hoffman said it just makes the cities go through more of a process, and this was in place in the 1990s but was removed at some point.He said it was passed quickly last year, so it is being brought up again this year to make sure they are not hurting cities in any way.Steve AbramsAbrams said he does not think the issue is local control as much as it is “helping people keep their own money in their own pocket.”Trimmer said this bill takes decision making out of the hands of county commissioners who are also elected officials.House Bill 2440, the Family and Personal Protection Act, has also been brought up again this year. This restricts cities in their ability to ban guns inside public buildings. The state passed this last year even though most cities and counties were against it.Judges are still allowed to ban guns in the courtroom, and this year’s version allows counties a little more leeway. Currently, if cities want to ban guns in public buildings they have to install expensive electronic scanning equipment to make sure the area is safe. The new version would allow them to do this only for part of a building, such as a courtroom.Another controversial issue this year is likely to be the expansion of Medicaid, which would give the state a lot of federal money under the Affordable Care Act. This is one thing the study recommended and many rural hospitals are asking for it, saying it would help keep them going as they struggle to survive.Hoffman does not believe it will pass this year.He said Medicaid was designed for the most vulnerable people. The expansion of it would increase the number and cost the state more money. He noted that the Feds have already cut medicare, and he thinks the state would not get that much money after balancing those two things.While he thinks it would help rural hospitals, he thinks the state would end up getting stuck with the bill. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (11) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +6 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 238 weeks ago Approx. 15% less is coming out of my check for state income tax now, as compared to 3 years ago. Sorry but that makes me happy. Maybe his intent is to force local communities to feel a little pressure? Normally, when an individual feels financial pressure, you make changes. You don’t beg for more money. People tend to forget that all the moeny the government spends, come out of OUR pockets. You want more money from the state, then you need to PAY MORE. Understand? No thank you, I say! The local levels need to tighten their belts and quit begging for cash. Make changes that save money. Think outside the box. Report Reply 0 replies · active 238 weeks ago -2 Vote up Vote down turkeyleg jones · 238 weeks ago And while Brownback and his far right buddies are in power, more and more poor people will die due to the lack of health insurance. More and more small towns will close their hospitals. Sad that it has turned into this. Once the the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has turn into the party of greed, hate and lies. I still can’t understand why God would look in favor of anybody that preaches his works but act’s like the Antichrist. Sad ain’t it? Report Reply 4 replies · active 238 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down Jim · 238 weeks ago This article is confusing to keep track of who said what. Can it be rewritten? Report Reply 0 replies · active 238 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Nobody important · 238 weeks ago Smoke and mirrors! He takes money from Kpers, Highway fund, and from Kansas Turnpike, then puts it other places so he can say the state not in bad shape. Brownback is nothing but a dishonest politician. Nothing more, nothing less! Our country will be in the same shape soon. We’ve had eight years to come up with a few presidential candidates, and the best we can come up with is Trump and Hillary?? I think we are in trouble!! Report Reply 0 replies · active 238 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Jim · 238 weeks ago I can not wait till Trump gets in office. One thing is for sure we will see change and punishment will be severe for those that have pulled the wool over the eyes of Americans the last 8 years. Report Reply 2 replies · active 238 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *