Friday, March 23, 2012

Guns and taxes

It was too late to get it into this article, but county administrator Jeremy Willmoth said that the county basically held the same position as city officials in opposing concealed carry into public buildings. Ditto the proposed state tax plan that would cap the amount of property taxes local governments could collect, without a public vote.

The sales tax exemption on food that legislators are also contemplating is not going well over at City Hall, either. Indeed, it would feel like a bit of a sucker punch from state lawmakers because the public voted for those sales tax increases to pay for road improvements and debt financing on the new hospital, and now Topeka would shrink those funds.

This really is meddling with the tax code in a short-sighted zeal to cut taxes. State lawmakers, it seems, don't really know what they want because they claim they want to balance the budget and build a reserve, yet are proposing all these tax breaks and cuts they "hope" will spur growth.

Growth actually is occurring right now and being frugal with spending and creating a reserve fund over time seems like the prudent thing to do, not handing out tax cuts that could blow bigger holes in the budget.

And it hampers local government, which is closest to the people and the one that can suit its community's needs the most.

But City officials won't get much support on this, or the concealed carry issue, from our local legislators. They pretty much are fervent anti-tax pro-gun lawmakers.

It will be interesting to see whether the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida will push the dial back, away from concealed carry and looser use-of-force laws for citizens. This article inthe National Review probes the question well.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Concealed controversy

City officials are upset at lawmakersupset at lawmakers trying to allow concealed carry guns into public buildings. As Chief Wallace puts it, it's akin to sanctioned vigilantism.

The argument that public buildings that do not have security officers or scanners are better off allowing concealed carry is a strange one. Are we now deputizing all the concealed carry holders? Shouldn't local governments have the right to decide this on their own?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Santorum rolls

... to victory in the Kansas GOP caucus.
Proving once again, that the Kansas GOP is actively led by cultural conservatives who aren't that concerned about backing winners. But I guess you could say that about a lot of states, because Santorum is running a strong second behind Romney. This result mirrors four years ago when Huckabee, the cultural-religious conservative in the race, easily won Kansas even though it was clear by then that McCain would be the nominee.

Computer file feud

This case is dragging on forever, it seems. I'm sure Trence would love to be done with it. I think the city's attorney is right on at least one point — it could have been avoided with better communication. But I guess the question is, whose fault is that?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Caucus candidates

Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole wants GOPers to support Romney, while former Congressman Todd Tiahrt will support Santorum in Saturday's Kansas Republican presidential caucus.
The caucus event in our area is at Wellington High School.

Santorum undoubtedly is the favorite to win, with religious and cultural conservatives more likely to show up at caucus than your average Republican voter. Huckabee beat McCain in 2008, despite the fact that McCain pretty much had things wrapped up, which is (almost) the case with Romney.

But wouldn't it be nice to return to the era of Bob Dole Republicanism in Kansas? Or Nancy Kassabaum? Dole could be partisan and certainly was no liberal, but can you imagine anybody GOP leaders today winning bipartisan support for something like the American With Disabilities Act, or deficit reduction that included spending cuts and tax increases, like Dole did?

They'd be shouting about over-regulation and job-killing government meddling in the private sector.

Frazee back

It's good to have Bob Frazee back as Ark City's emergency management coordinator.

His termination from the county was too bad, but in the end things are probably better off because it was always very confusing about who he was working for.

Before, he was employed by the county, paid through a federal grant, but worked for the city. Now, he serves the city and is paid by the city and is an employee of the city. Makes more sense.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To frack or not to frack?

Don't think this is really a question up for debate. The economic activity, and the increase in oil supply, are too good to pass up. But this Eagle article about the safety concerns reminds us that it should be done with proper regulation and oversight. Yes oil companies don't want to be hamstrung by regulation, but think if one disaster occurred that marred or shut down the pending oil boom here in south-central Kansas.

There are some local oil men that think tat horizontal drilling using fracking is coming to Cowley County in the next few years and will likely create a boom for us.

Here's a decent definition of fracking, from the Bakersfield Californian:

Fracking, pioneered in the 1940s, injects a mixture of water, sand and small concentrations of toxic chemicals into oil and gas wells at high pressure in order to break up rock formations, prop them open and tap petroleum deposits that are otherwise too difficult to reach.