Legislative Issues

Education:

  • The Future of Public Education in Kansas

    The Future of Public Education in Kansas

    Public education has a long tradition in the U.S., having first germinated in Thomas Jefferson’s early advocacy. From its very beginnings the objective of free and universal public education went beyond mere learning to include social efficiency, civic virtue, and development of character. And in the formative days of Kansas “The Territorial Legislature believed education was key to the state's growth and development, since a literate and skilled citizenry could help build business and industry.”Read More »
  • Court Ruling on School Finance

    Court Ruling on School Finance

    The Kansas Supreme Court ruled last week that the current method of funding public schools is unconstitutional, which I had predicted when the block grant funding mechanism was enacted during the 2015 legislative session. The court gave the legislature until June 30 to replace the faulty system with another which will ensure relatively equal educational opportunity for all Kansas school children.Read More »
  • Redefining Public Education in Kansas

    Redefining Public Education in Kansas

    Governor Brownback and others want to revise the formula, calling it too complicated and unworkable. I believe the formula is complex because what it is designed to accomplish is complex. The authors of the school funding formula may not have had the Rose Standards in mind back in 1992 as they crafted and later refined the formula, but I believe the formula is in fact in harmony with the objective of the Rose Standards.Read More »
  • Court Decision Regarding School Funding

    Court Decision Regarding School Funding

    The decision is the second part of a two-part decision arising out of a lawsuit filed five years ago, claiming that the state was not living up to its constitutional requirement of “suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state”. The first part of the legal challenge dealt with the question of equity, or whether all school children had equal educational opportunity.Read More »

Budget:

  • Are KPERS Retirement Accounts At Risk?

    Are KPERS Retirement Accounts At Risk?

    Controversy over the state of Kansas’ KPERS retirement system seems to be a perennial part of the legislative process. Each year seems to bring new legislative proposals which cause anxiety among KPERS participants… both current employees who are paying into the system and retirees who are now receiving benefits. The problem started years ago when the Kansas legislature began to shirk its statutory responsibility for funding KPERS.Read More »
  • The Budget Dilemma

    The Budget Dilemma

    Kansas faces a very serious budget deficit, not only for the present fiscal year but also for the next two years. Governor Brownback has proposed a solution which would address the immediate problem for this fiscal year. The final details of that plan are still not completely understood but one thing is certain: nearly everyone hates what is now known about the plan. But it seems no one has a better solution. Now the state is rapidly approaching a serious cash flow crunch and decision time is nearly upon us.Read More »

Taxes:

  • Land Use Value Appraisal

    Land Use Value Appraisal

    Property tax on Kansas farmland has been a hot topic recently. Perhaps it is time to review why use-value appraisal is appropriate. There are some very legitimate reasons why the Kansas constitution was changed in 1986 to value agricultural land for property tax purposes based on its income-producing ability rather than its market value. Land has traditionally been regarded as a store of value and a safe haven for capital in uncertain economic times.Read More »
  • The Budget Dilemma

    The Budget Dilemma

    Kansas faces a very serious budget deficit, not only for the present fiscal year but also for the next two years. Governor Brownback has proposed a solution which would address the immediate problem for this fiscal year. The final details of that plan are still not completely understood but one thing is certain: nearly everyone hates what is now known about the plan. But it seems no one has a better solution. Now the state is rapidly approaching a serious cash flow crunch and decision time is nearly upon us.Read More »