Issues, Kansas

That exercise isn’t in the official process for how the state hands out “extraordinary need” funds. Districts make such requests when enrollment jumps or property tax revenues are affected by falling property tax assessments.

Still, being efficient with tax funds is a good thing, so this request just forced the schools to comply and send a list. So how often did the GOP leaders use those reported efficiencies on Monday to determine whether a district got more money?

Never once. Gov. Sam Brownback’s battle with educators damages Kansas schools again, The Kansas City Star

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Issues, National

Here’s a thought, how about no taxation without representation? The IRS shouldn’t even have the power to redefine what taxable “income” is to begin with. Employment “perks” suddenly cease to be such when you discover your effective tax rate going up, even though you don’t make more money. If they manage this, what’s to stop them from going after other pre-tax contributions?

Currently, free meals for employees, spouses and their dependents are excludable from income under section 119 of the Tax Code if the meals are for “employee convenience” and are provided on the employer’s premises. The IRS is also looking to clarify section 132, which says an employee entitled under section 119 to exclude the value of a meal provided on the premises is treated as having paid an amount for such meal equal to the direct cost of the meal. No more free meals for tech workers? IRS advances project that could tax on-site food perks, Silicon Valley Business Journal

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flight-of-fancy
Issues, Kansas

Flight of Fancy

Kansas was once again in the news for its recent introduction to the top ten list of states with outbound population according to the latest United Van Lines survey. Naturally, this is spun as bad news for the state’s administration, which is already facing income shortfalls, even after downward revisions of expectations. It’s also shown as proof that Brownback’s efforts are failing. Which might be true. This news shouldn’t, however, come as a surprise to anyone. The downward population trend was also reflected in recent census data which showed us at a net loss.

For the sake of responsibility, we should acknowledge that the UVL study does have some limitations. Obviously, it’s only datasource were people that chose to use one of their moving services, leaving out everyone that used a competitor or did it themselves. The hope is that their sample size was large enough that such limitations don’t outweigh the overall trend, which should show through the noise. All that said, I don’t find a lot of reason to otherwise doubt their results. UVL has been doing this survey since the 70s, if my memory recalls correctly. And there’s never been any significant criticism of their findings or methodology that I know of. (Do you know something I don’t? Be sure to mention it down below in the comments and link the source so I can take a look.)

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Culture, Issues, Kansas

At that event Banda’s son apparently contradicted some of the claims made about marijuana. The school then contacted the child protection agency, which then contacted the police. State seizes 11-year-old, arrests his mother after he defends medical marijuana during a school presentation; The Washington Post

The lesson? Don’t challenge authority, stay in line, do what you’re told. Never question what you’re told. Otherwise, the school can have your kid taken away. Doctors can basically prescribe and treat patients with everything from basically heroin, to cocaine, and amphetamines. But don’t you dare consider therapeutic applications for marijuana.

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Issues, SEK

Kansas just took one of the best possible scenarios for a casino in SEK and pissed all over the opportunity out of petulance.

The Quapaw Tribe’s Downstream Casino Resort, of Oklahoma, withdrew from a partnership in a Kansas state-owned casino proposal citing a hostile and adversarial environment created when the Kansas attorney general filed a federal lawsuit to halt a separate plan by the Tribe to expand its existing casino. Quapaw’s Downstream Casino Cites Kansas’ Hostile Environment, Lawsuit, For Withdrawing From Proposal Partnership; KOAM TV

Ruffin’s proposal is still in play, but I feel like this substantially hurts the possibility of it being selected. Not to mention it cripples part of what made the proposal so appealing to begin with.

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CC by-sa 2.0 Wesley Fryer
Issues, Kansas, Politics

Board to Death

I could really use a hand in having someone explain to me what Topeka’s fascination is with disrupting education. Not improving it, not experimenting on it, but just straight up disruption. It’s like a cook at McDonald’s that’s discovered truffle oil. We bitch and moan about the Federal Government getting overly involved in state and local affairs, but we forget that our state governments are literally just as bad about it. An outhouse by any other name…

No, I’m not talking about punishing teachers for distributing “harmful” material (frankly, I look forward to seeing that one in court). No, turns out they’re already prepared for a whole new kind of asinine. Enter HB2345. The “Only Non-Educators Can School Board” bill. Yet one more jewel in the crown that is Topeka’s creation of solutions in search of problems. Sigh. Continue reading

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CC by-nc-sa 2.0 misterbisson
Issues, Kansas, Politics

CARE-ing for Children

So, a lot of talk lately about Senate Bill 158 – the “Leave it to Beaver” bill that supposedly rewards good, clean, churchgoing families who foster children. Something seemed odd about this bill in the media, especially with regard to the “churchgoing” part, and I thought it deserved a little closer look and scrutiny. It turns out, I was right. What’s more interesting, though, is that it’s still a bill with problems, but people are focusing on the wrong parts.

Folks have criticized the proposed CARE program for it’s emphasis on rewarding the “traditional, ideal American family.” Some of that criticism is not wrong. After all, even in the 1950’s, Leave it to Beaver did not represent the “normal” family. They were a constructed ideal, used to market an image (not to mention products) that was emphasized by the times. It was during this time, for instance, that the Cold War was escalating and we were neck deep fighting against Communism while our populations were migrating to the suburbs. We were prosperous, but tense. People looked to things like television for comfort, so it was natural to use this medium to push agendas. Continue reading

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CC by-sa 2.0 versageek
Issues, Kansas

Checking Checkpoints

There’s been a lot of attention focused on police authority lately. In these cases, it’s for very good reason. But it’s always good to understand your rights regardless of the extent of the situation. Take, for instance, something that happened back in December in south-central Kansas. It seems simple. It seems harmless. And it seems like it’s for a good reason. Agents of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism and Kansas Highway Patrol conducted a checkpoint to address illegal hunting that’s been taking place in the region. Continue reading

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