"I will tell the people what's going on at the statehouse. I'm going to treat the capitol as a borderline crime scene. ... If businesses don't have to pay taxes, the burden should not be on those trying to feed themselves." - The Valley Falls Vindicator & Oskaloosa Independent, March 3, 2016.

Across Kansas the top 1% are looting and on-the-loose, pitting us against each other. Communities in Jefferson County need to democratically prepare themselves for food and energy autonomy.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Ann Mah's "Neighborhood News" Sept. 1, 2016

Neighborhood News from Ann Mah
Dear Michael Caddell, 
I'm enjoying knocking on doors with Senator Hensley. I believe people are genuinely more interested in and more attentive to the issues our state faces this year. Now we just need to get out and vote!

Monday is Labor Day, the day we honor the contribution of American workers and the labor movement to the prosperity and well-being of our nation. My parents were both union members, so "thanks" Mom and Dad!
In This Issue
Good news!
Revenues down
Where are we?
The fallout
Community calendar
Quick Links

Title correction
My apologies for a typo in my last newsletter. Tim Keck is the Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, not KDHE. Sorry for the error. 
Good news for Kansas
The Kansas Department of Commerce reports that:
  • Spirit AeroSystems will invest more than $1 billion in its Kansas facilities and equipment over the next five years. 
  • Enel Green Power North America, Inc., said it will build a 400 megawatt wind farm in Kansas costing $610 million. The electricity produced there in Clark County will be sold to Google and to the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities. 
  • Airbus Americas said it will build a new state-of-the-art engineering center at Wichita State University.
Great news for our state!
Revenues down
August revenues came in $10.5 million below estimates. That puts the state nearly $25 million below water in total for the first two months of the 2017 fiscal year. Revenue estimates will be re-set in November and then we'll get a better idea of whether more mid-year budget cuts have to be made.
So where are we?
Seems like the 2017 budget has developed in pieces. It's been hard to get our arms around where we really stand. The legislature left town with a budget that wasn't even balanced. It was $140 million short. They left the Governor to do the dirty work of budget cuts and fund transfers to try and reach zero by June 30. Most of these were one-time gimmicks. Even then the only way we made it through the 2016 fiscal year was by simply not paying bills in June and borrowing a billion dollars or so from our internal funds.

Another problem is that they pushed a number of expenses out to 2017 and beyond, but that just exacerbates the problem for whomever comes to town in January. Right now we're looking at a $148 million deficit next June 30, and that doesn't include the $25 million we fell short the last two months. 
Where to now?
Best case, the budget and revenues are still hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance for years to come. We might hope for $6 billion in revenue this year but our expenses are estimated around $6.5 billion in 2018. The Governor has asked state agencies to prepare for a 5% budget cut just in case. Universities are cutting programs, cutting services, cutting hours, and really scrambling to manage the cuts they got this summer, let alone another 5%. Cities and counties are picking up safety net services the state isn't providing anymore. Even nursing homes are starting to close with the Medicaid cuts.

My point is not that we are in trouble. You knew that. My point is that whoever is elected in November has a big mess to clean up. So please research your vote before you enter the booth. Vote for people with the courage to make the tough decisions ahead of us. People who think long-term and won't run out of town like cowards. Those candidates are out there and they need your support.
Community Calendar
If you have community events coming up, let me know.  This email goes to nearly 3000 homes in Shawnee, Osage, and Douglas counties. I'd love to help you get the word out!  Just remember to send your activities ahead of time.     
  • Saturday, Sept. 3: Community breakfast at the Clinton Presbyterian Church from 7-10 am. Always yummy!
  • Wednesday, Sept. 7: Tecumseh Community Dinner at Tecumseh United Methodist Church from 5 to 6:30 pm. Pulled pork sandwiches and fixings for a free will donation.  Carryout available.
  • Thursday, Sept. 8: Jefferson County Area Democrats meets at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Oskaloosa at 7 pm
  • Thursday, Sept. 8: Topeka Women's Connection "Fall in Love with Fall" luncheon from11:30 to 1:30 at the Topeka Library. Cost $14. Pay by Sept 2 to Twila Woodward, Apt 1001 4950 SW Huntoon St, Topeka 66604
  • FridaySept. 9: Backyard music and chili dinner at Prairie Meadow, 7321 SE 45th St.6-9 pm. Chili Bowl or Nacho Plate for $5.50. Gift shop open.
  • Sept. 9-10: 8th Annual Perry Fall Festival in Historic Downtown Perry. 
  • Saturday, Sept. 10: Free movie night at Highland Heights Christian Church, 29th and Tecumseh Rd. Movie: "Woodlawn" - The True Story. Doors open at 5:30 and movie at6:00 pm. Free snacks.
  • Saturday, Sept. 10Saturday Women's Luncheon Connection from 11 am to 1 pm at the Topeka Library. Cost $14. Reservations by Sept. 5 to Arlene at 233-0701 or by email to leidacloudcox.net . Business, music, speaker and lunch!
  • Monday, Sept. 12: Perry Senior Citizens Lunch at noon at the Perry Community Building. Bring a covered dish to share. This month they are collecting non-perishable items to donate to Alpha Christian Children's Home. Bring your table service and $1 as well.
  • Saturday, Sept. 24: Tecumseh Heritage Day at Tecumseh United Methodist Church from 10 am to 3 pm. Live entertainment, homemade pie and ice cream, wagon rides, petting zoo, craft booths, and more fun family activities. 
  • Saturday, Sept. 24: Harvest Home Picnic and Pie Auction at the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum. Hot dogs and Brats for a free will donation. Bring a dish to share. Kid's games, raffle, pie auction, and music.
  • Saturday, Nov. 5: Tire Rack Street Survival at Heartland Park Topeka. Full day of classroom and driving experiences for teens. Register at www.streetsurvival.org. 
  • Storytime at the Auburn Community Library starts up for the fall again on Sept. 8 and continues on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 pm.
  • Tuesday's Table at Overbrook United Methodist Church. Weekly lunch meal free to the public at noon on Tuesdays. 
  • Swap meet at Premier Farm & Home, 900 SW University Blvd from 7 am to noon the last Saturday of the month through October. Laying hens, pullets, baby chicks, guineas, ducks, geese, and more.
  • CARE meets monthly on the second Thursday at the KNEA building, second floor, at2 pm. For retired teachers or Kansans interested in advocating for education. For info: Larry Brayton at larrydene@cox.net
  • Enjoy BUNCO at the Carbondale Community Building once a month on Monday andWednesday afternoons.  Call 785-836-7478 for details about dates, prizes, treats, etc. 
  • The Berryton Pickers are at Berryton Baptist Church the first Saturday of the month from 7 to 9 pm.  Bring snacks and have some fun!
  • Country and ballroom dancing at Croco Hall on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 pm.  For information call Edwina Hamersky at 379-9538.
  •  First Saturday of the month community breakfast buffet at Shawnee Heights United Methodist Church.  7:30 to 10 am.  Free will offering.
Larry and I will be helping judge the pie contest at Tecumseh Days on Sept. 24. We must just live right, because it's the best job ever! See you there!

Ann Mah

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