Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday February 3, 2011

Wichita-area legislators to meet with public. From Rep. Jim Ward, South-Central Delegation Chair: “Public comment about the proposed state budget, health care reform, voter eligibility and other major issues will be heard by local legislators at 9:00 am Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Wichita State University Metroplex, 29th and Oliver. The forum is the first of the 2011 legislative session and is hosted by the South-Central State Legislative Delegation. … Delegation members will take written and spoken questions from the public during the two-hour session. ‘Legislators need to hear from the people who are affected by these important issues,’ said Rep. Jim Ward, delegation chair. ‘Better decisions are made when the public participates in the process.’ … For further information, contact Rep. Ward, delegation chairman at 316-210-3609 or [email protected].”

Fairness issue. A letter in the Topeka Capital-Journal: “The Capital-Journal recently published a lengthy feature, headlined ‘Cuts to arts hit sour note,’ about the Kansas Arts Commission. Abolition of the commission may be a legitimate policy move for budgetary reason. However, there is a caveat. If it’s eliminated for budgetary considerations, all comparable departments, agencies, services, programs, etc., must too be abolished or separated from the state into a nonprofit or for-profit corporation — unfunded by Kansas taxpayers, either directly or indirectly.” After running through a number of agencies, the writer concludes: “Thus, artists pay for their own canvasses, hunters fund their own preserves, tourists find the Flint Hills on their own, students come to college to study, farmers show off their fancy ears of corn in their own barns and concert-goers go to New York for entertainment. Honor dictates that all be treated the same, be it sports or tourism or the arts.” … While the tone of the entire letter is sarcasm, the writer almost has everything correct, if taken literally. But it’s not honor that dictates all the treated the same, it’s morality that requires such treatment.

Twenty regulations to eliminate. From the Heritage Foundation: “As the new Congress assembles, many legislators are considering how to lessen the regulatory burden on Americans. President Obama, too, now says that he wants to root out unnecessary government rules. With regulatory costs at record levels, relief is sorely needed. But it is not enough to talk about fewer regulations. Policymakers must critically review specific rules and identify those that should be abolished. This paper details 20 unnecessary and harmful regulations that should be eliminated now. … At every level, government intrudes into citizens’ lives with a torrent of do’s and don’ts that place an unsustainable burden on the economy and erode Americans’ most fundamental freedoms. In fiscal year (FY) 2010 alone, the Obama Administration unleashed regulations that will cost more than $26.5 billion annually, and many more are on the way.” The report is available at Rolling Back Red Tape: 20 Regulations to Eliminate.

Kansas considers major change in state pension plans. “Kansas legislators looking for ways to close a nearly $8 billion gap in state pension plan funding heard how Utah plans to heal its pension wounds by switching to a plan similar to one that most private businesses offer. … Utah state Sens. Dan Liljenquist, of Bountiful, and Curt Bramble, of Provo, both Republicans, outlined to the Kansas House Pensions and Benefits Committee how Utah intends to close a somewhat smaller gap than Kansas’ by switching its traditional defined benefits pension plan to a modified version of a defined contribution 401(k) plan, the predominant retirement savings plan offered by U.S. businesses.” More from Kansas Reporter.

Politics and city managers to be topic. This Friday (February 4) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features as its speaker H. Edward Flentje, Professor at the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs, Wichita State University. His topic will be “The Political Roots of City Managers in Kansas.” The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club.

Funny campaign websites. Steve Harris, a candidate for Wichita City Council district 2, has a post on his website extolling the virtues of government funding for the arts, invoking the words of George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. What’s funny is where he quotes John Adams. The blog post states “John Adams said: ‘Diversity is a good man’s shining time.’ I would argue that we need to reflect on the thoughts of great leaders from the past who faced diversity we can’t even imagine today.” … When Harris quotes Adams, I think he meant to say adversity rather than diversity. Diversity is not something we have to “face” and struggle against. Adversity is. But even then, he gets the quote incorrect. The first word in the quotation from Adams is “Affliction.” … Plus, I don’t think he’s going to get a lot of agreement on LBJ being a great leader.

One Comment

  • A Nony Moose -

    Harris is such a tool. The only public goods that are hard to eliminate the “free rider problem” would be Police, Fire, EMS and provision of roads. Lynda Tyler is a pretty solid candidate except when it comes to public parks in my 2 cent opinion. We could easily privatize Wichita parks if allowed to do so.

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