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Posts published by “Bob Weeks”

How government insurance destroyed New Orleans

In the September 3, 2005 New York Times, columnist John Tierney educates us on the difference between private insurance and government insurance. Currently, the flood insurance that's available through the federal government, because the premiums are so low, doesn't fully reflect the costs of assuming that risk. And even as cheap as the flood insurance rates are, not many people bought it.

How About Something Simple Like the Truth

While TABOR supporters offer hope and solutions to getting out of our economic slump, opponents offer nothing but nay-saying, scare tactics and misinformation.

Criticism of Bob Corkins reveals true motivations

I have not met Bob Corkins, but I have read some of his articles. I published several on the Voice For Liberty in Wichita. He is in favor of school choice, and that is one thing that the education establishment, education bureaucrats, and teachers unions are very much opposed to. Never mind that allowing school choice could be the quickest and easiest thing we can do to improve schools in Kansas.

Book Review: Winning The Future

This book by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich outlines his prescription for what America needs to do to avoid decline. The five threats Gingrich identifies are Islamic terrorism, that God will be driven from American life, that America will lose its patriotic sense of self, that America will lose its economic supremacy to China and India, and that future demands of social security and Medicare will collapse our system.

TABORTruth.org Not Quite So

Right away the website tabortruth.org states: "TABOR proponents are baiting citizens with the allure of tax cuts, ..."

My understanding of proposals for a TABOR in Kansas doesn't include tax cuts, except in one case. That's because taxing and spending will proceed in this way: First, spend up to the limit imposed by the sum of inflation plus population growth. Then, put some tax money away in the emergency and budget stabilization fund. Then -- and only then -- if there were excess tax revenues, they would be sent back to the taxpayer. This doesn't sound to me like much of a tax cut.

It is likely that politicians will vote to spend all they can under TABOR limits, so it is quite likely that Kansas spending and taxes will continue to rise. It's just that now there is a limit on the rate of growth. In the peculiar language of Washington and Topeka, a reduction in the rate of growth is called a "cut," so maybe in the hearts and minds of the authors of tabortruth.org, there will be "tax cuts."

Fact Sheet: The Truth About Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights amendment has been an overwhelming success in Colorado. Colorado's TABOR has successfully restrained the growth of state government and allowed millions of taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money.

Since Colorado enacted the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights in 1992, the state has experienced one of the strongest economic growth rates in the country and has provided taxpayers with more than $3 billion in tax rebates and refunds.

Colorado experienced a challenge almost entirely because of Amendment 23 -- a state constitutional amendment that mandates large increases in spending on education programs. The ultimate answer to Colorado's budget challenge is the repeal of Amendment 23.

While Amendment 23 is the main cause of Colorado's challenge, that state's version of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights isn't perfect. That's exactly why the TABOR legislation proposed in Kansas includes key improvements that will help us achieve even better results than Colorado has enjoyed.

One key improvement we're proposing to the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights in Kansas is the inclusion of budget stabilization and emergency funds that will help us better deal with economic downturns. In periods of rapid economic growth, when revenue exceeds the TABOR limit, surplus revenue would be deposited into the emergency fund and budget stabilization fund. When the cap is reached on those funds, surplus revenue is then offset by tax cuts or tax rebates. In periods of recession, when revenue is falling, money is then transferred from the budget stabilization fund.

TABOR Fact Sheet: Kansas vs. Colorado

TABOR Fact Sheet: Kansas vs. Colorado

Estimated at 10.4 percent of income, Kansas's state/local tax burden percentage ranks 14th highest nationally, well above the national average of 10.1 percent.

Kansas taxpayers pay $3,629 per-capita in state and local taxes.

Kansas ranks 32nd in the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index: Missouri (11th), Oklahoma (14th), and Colorado (8th).

Source: Tax Foundation

Taxpayer's Bill of Rights: GOOD FOR COLORADO…GOOD FOR KANSAS*

3-year average poverty rate, from 2002 to 2004

Colorado: 9.8 percent
Kansas: 10.7 percent

Change from 2003 to 2004

Colorado: .1 percent
Kansas: .7 percent

Since TABOR was enacted in Colorado in 1992:

Colorado ranks 3rd in population growth, Kansas ranks 36th.
Colorado ranks 3rd in personal income growth, Kansas ranks 41st.

In 1992

Colorado ranked 18th in per capita income
Kansas ranked 24th in per capita income

In 2003

Colorado ranked 9th in per capita income
Kansas ranked 28th. In per capita income
Colorado ranked 6th in per capita income growth
Kansas ranked 30th in per capita income growth

Since 1992

Colorado ranks 3rd in productivity growth

Employer-paid health insurance

A Harvard study (Illness And Injury As Contributors To Bankruptcy) concluded that of families that declared bankruptcy, about half cited medical bills as the reason. Of those, 76% had medical insurance at the time they became sick. Some of the problem is that when people become seriously ill, they can't work. After they lose their job they have no income, and they can't pay the premium to continue their existing coverage.

Randy Scholfield and less government

The dictionary defines laudable as "Deserving commendation; praiseworthy" or "Deserving honor, respect, or admiration." Mr. Scholfield's past writings don't treat the goal of less government this way. In fact, it doesn't seem there is a single government program that Mr. Scholfield doesn't like and praise.

Judicial abuse authorized in Kansas

A closed door meeting in early September in Topeka provided the excuse to expand judicial abuse at the highest level of Kansas government. The Commission on Judicial Qualifications met to consider the complaint that Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss should not participate in the school finance lawsuit. This commission decided that Justice Nuss did not need to recuse himself from ruling on this billion dollar lawsuit.

Book review: What’s The Matter With Kansas?

Much has been written about this book and its premise of the great backlash, the revolt against the increasingly liberal society of the 1960's and 1970's. Mr. Frank believes (I think) that working-class social conservatives in Kansas are not using their votes wisely, that they vote for Republicans for social reasons, and in turn Big Business Republicans turn around and mistreat them. Their social interest, in other words, works in opposition to their economic interest.

Prices ration scarce goods

As the price for gasoline rises, politicians hear increased calls for regulation of gas prices. We hear news stories of hotels increasing prices for victims of hurricane Katrina, and prices for needed goods in the destructed area could rise, too.

Kansas income has large drop in 2004, says census report

Kansas Taxpayers Network (KTN) expressed dismay at the latest Census Department income figures that show Kansas income dropping at the second worst rate among the 50 states in 2004. The U.S. Census Department released this data at the end of August in their report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004.

Revenue Growth Lags As Kansas Falters

Revenue Growth Lags As Kansas Falters
By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network

In early August Governor Sebelius issued a news release praising the economic growth that had allowed state tax revenues to grow significantly in the fiscal year that ended June 30. In the state's general fund revenues were 7.1 percent or $322 million above last year.

This seemingly good news hides a big problem. Kansas revenues are growing well below the national averages. We are also lagging behind our neighbors and this includes job growth too. Nationally, the Wall Street Journal reported in July that federal revenues were 14.6% above the same period last year or over $204 billion. Oklahoma's state government is taking $150 million of their increased tax revenue to use to cut personal income taxes but they will also raise spending by $750 million more according to Budget and Tax News in August.

Why is Kansas economic growth lagging? Some tax collections are actually down. In 2002 the state's cigarette tax was raised from 24 to 79 cents a pack. Naturally, tax collections soared in 2003 with this 229 percent tax hike. However, the state's revenue per penny of cigarette taxes started to fall and has continued to decline. Total revenues are falling in the last two years and are now over $10 million below the 2003 high point.

From Karl Peterjohn to Ann Mah

Here's an open letter from Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network to Kansas Representative Ann Mah, a Democrat from district 53, which is southeast Topeka and areas southeast of there. Rep. Mah scored 12.5 on KTN's 2005 Legislative Vote Ranking, which places here very near the left end of the spectrum. In other words, she didn't see many taxes she didn't vote for. Organizations like KTN bring facts like these to the public's attention. Sometimes politicians do not like being exposed in this way, and as we have learned, we can't rely solely on Kansas newspapers and other Kansas news media to report all that we need to know

Augenblick perhaps cheap by comparison

Billions of dollars are riding on the outcome of the state's two education finance studies, one by the Legislative Division of Post Audit, the other by the national firm of business analysts at Standard & Poors. The Kansas Supreme Court is putting great reliance on the results of these studies in deciding how to resolve the behemoth Montoy v. State K-12 finance litigation.

Consider carefully all costs of gambling in Wichita

In a free society dedicated to personal liberty, people should be able to gamble. But that's not what we have, as in a free society dedicated to personal liberty, people wouldn't be taxed to pay for the problems that others cause in the pursuit of their happiness.

How does this relate to the issue of casino gambling in or near Wichita?

What to do about gasoline prices

Almost anything the government does in response to the recent high gasoline prices is bound to fail.

Why I Voted Against the Amendment

On April 5, 2005, the State of Kansas voted on an amendment to our constitution. The amendment would prohibit same-sex marriage.

I voted against this amendment. I don't think we want a government that cares who we decide to marry. Before the election, The Wichita Eagle published a list of over 1,000 benefits that arise from marriage. This list alone, outside the context of the controversy over gay marriage, shows just how intrusive government at all levels is. Even if we agree that marriage is a good thing, it doesn't follow that we want a government to practically force it upon us. Granting these benefits treats people who choose not to marry as second-class citizens.

The amendment passed with 70% of the vote.

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