"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.

- MICHAEL CADDELL, Publisher

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Neighborhood News from Ann Mah, "Day 95 #KsLeg and Counting" May 19, 2017 Newsletter

    
Neighborhood News from Ann Mah
Dear Michael Caddell, 
Today is day 95 of the 2017 legislative session. The House and Senate took the weekend off again. No tax bill. No budget. No school funding bill. Details follow!
In This Issue
Quick Links
Tax bill update
The House and Senate tax conference committee met several times this week. Near the end of the week the House offered to simply repeal the Brownback tax cuts from 2012 and go back to the 2012 tax rates. The House members wanted to have simultaneous debates in the House and Senate, but the Senate would not agree. The Senate wanted the House to debate it first. That did not fly, so they continue to talk.

Why not just repeal? What many do not realize is that the Brownback tax cuts were not just about giving 330,000 businesses a pass. That was only about 1/3 of the $700 million tax cut package. Another 1/3 or so of the tax cuts went to those making over $250,000 a year (about 21,000 taxpayers). The final 1/3 was spread across those Kansas taxpayers making less than $250,000 a year (about 1,360,000 taxpayers).  So to do a complete repeal means that they have to raise taxes on most Kansas taxpayers as well as the businesses. Just putting the tax back on businesses will not raise enough revenue to put the state back in a stable financial situation or fund schools, roads, and critical services that were cut over the last several years.
School funding
The House K12 Education Budget committee sent a bill to the House over a week ago (HB 2410), but the House Speaker will not allow it to be debated. He seems to want to get a tax bill passed first. An attempt was made to force a debate on the House floor today, but that attempt failed along party lines, with Democrats wanting to debate the bill and Republicans voting not to debate. House Speaker Ron Ryckman said they were not ready to debate that bill yet.

The Senate Special Committee on Education Finance took the House bill, made a few changes, and held hearings Thursday and Friday on its version of an education finance bill, SB 251. The Senate bill not only includes education finance, it has provisions to fund the bill through increased fees on water, gas and electric utilities. A number of groups representing those impacted by increased utility rates testified against that part of the bill.

As it stands currently, the Senate bill would not get base state aid back up to the level it was in 2009. The Senate committee will debate that bill starting at 1:30 pm on Monday. They expect to work on the bill Monday and Tuesday. You can listen to that debate online at:  http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00287/Harmony/en/View/Calendar/ That page should list all of the hearings you can listen in on.  
Bills to the Governor
There were a number of bills sent to the Governor for his signature this week. Some of those include:
  • SB 40 increases the penalties for human trafficking.
  • SB 23 would establish the Office of the Securities Commissioner of Kansas as a division under the Insurance Commissioner and consolidate certain prosecutorial functions of the Attorney
    General.
  • HB 2041 extends the sunset for judicial surcharges on a number of docket fees until June 30, 2019, to help pay the salaries of non-judicial employees. It also requires the cost of collection of debts owed to courts to be paid by the responsible party in all cases. It also increases the drivers license reinstatement fee from $59 to $100.
  • SB 98 increases some fees associated with vehicle title registration and also increases the fine for driving without a seat belt from $10 to $30. Most of the fine increase goes to a seat belt education fund.
  • HB 2313 amends the Kansas Lottery Act to allow the use of lottery ticket vending machines and instant bingo vending machines.
Community Calendar
If you have community events coming up, let me know.  This email goes to nearly 3000 homes in Shawnee, Osage, Jefferson, Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie, and Douglas counties. I'd love to help you get the word out!  Just remember to send your activities ahead of time.     
  • May 19-21: If you have a need for speed, don't miss the NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Park. Awesome fun! www.heartlandpark.com 
  • Saturday, May 20: Clean-up project at Topeka Cemetery, 10th and California. Help prepare Topeka's historic cemetery for Memorial Day. Bring mowers, rakes, weed eaters, buckets, nylon brushes and sponges. Work from 9 am to noon with a light lunch to follow.
  • Saturday, May 27: Memorial Day Weekend community breakfast at Clinton Presbyterian Church from 7-10 am. Pancakes, biscuits & gravy, sausage and more! Free will donation.
  • Tuesday, May 30: Lecompton Democrats host Sen. Marci Francisco at 6 pm at the Kanwaka Township Hall, 776 Hwy 40. 
  • Tuesday, May 30: Topeka Golden Giants season opener at Lake Shawnee. Go to www.topekagoldengiantsbaseball.com for schedule.
  • Wednesday, May 31: Loaves and fishes Community Dinner at Berryton United Methodist Church. Chicken casserole, mashed potatoes, vegetable and dessert for a freewill offering.
  • Saturday, June 3: Cookout and concert by The Wrights at Clinton Presbyterian Church.  Cookout at 5:30 and concert at 7:00 pm. Bring side dish or dessert and lawn chairs. Church providing hot dogs and brats.
  • June 2-4: Perry United Methodist Church garage sale at the Perry UMC activity building. Fri & Sat 7 am to 3 pm; Sun after early service. Breakfast available Fri and Sat.
  • June 3-4: Germanfest at Sacred Heart Church at 312 NE Freeman in Topeka. Food, beer, carnival games, bingo and more!
  • Wednesday, June 7: Community dinner at Tecumseh United Methodist Church from 5 to 6:30 pm. Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, salad, dessert and drink for free will donation.
  • Thursday, June 8: Jefferson Co Democrats meet at 7 pm at the Oskaloosa Public Library.
  • Saturday, June 10: Free movie night at Highland Heights Christian Church, 2930 SE Tecumseh Rd. Showing "Home Run". Doors open 5:30; show 6 pm.
  • June 2,3,4,9,10,11: Day Out with Thomas the Train at the Midland Railway, 1515 High St, Baldwin City. Call 785-594-6982 or at www.midlandrailway.org. 
  • Monday, June 12: Perry Senior Citizens lunch at noon at the Perry Community Building. Bring dish to share, table service and $1.
  • Saturday, August 5: National Night Out Against Crime. 60 neighborhoods are registered already. For information, contact Judy Wilson at jwilson@safestreets.org
  • Saturday, August 12: Getting Up from the Fall 5k Run/Walk at 9 am at the Carbondale Ball Diamonds. Proceeds to benefit Nancy Fike, who is battling Stage 4 Leimyosarcoma of the liver. For information, go to www.gettingupfromthefall.com or contact Emily Roberts at eroberts24@yahoo.com.
     
ONGOING EVENTS:
  • NEW: Farmer's Market every Tuesday through September at the Auburn Presbyterian Church parking lot from noon to 5:30 pm.
  • Carbondale Farmers' Market at the city park every Wednesday from May 24 through September from 4-6:30 pm
  • Swap meet at Premier Farm & Home last Saturday of the month from March to October from 7 am to noon. 900 SW University Blvd (across from Forbes Field). No fee to set up.  No goats. 
  • Kansas Prairie Pickers meet to jam the fourth Sunday of each month from 1 to 5 pmat the Auburn Community Center. Free music. No jam in December. 
  • CARE meets monthly on the second Thursday at the KNEA building, second floor, at 2 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 and Wednesday 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.