Visitors from Home
There were a number of groups in Topeka this week representing Liberal and Seward County. The Liberal Chamber of Commerce was here attending the Western Kansas Regional Economic Development Meetings and hosting the Southwest Chambers Reception. Attending for the chamber were Chamber President Jack Jacobs, Mel Patterson and Dana Hibbs. City Commissioner Jack Carlile, County Commissioner C. J. Wettstein, his wife Linda, County Commissioner Jim Rice, his wife Carolyn, and Seward County Administrator April Warden attended numerous meetings dealing with legislative affairs, economic forecasts for Kansas, health insurance, and the property tax lid.
Ron & Mary Oliver were here representing our rural electric coops. Ron and I also discussed the property tax lid and issues affecting our Community College. Seward County Clerk Stacia Long talked to me about problems with the tax lid bill dealing with the required election in conjunction with the budget cycle. Nick Hatcher came up to share information about the Cimarron Basin Advisory Boards recommendations for the Governor’s fifty year water vision. Zach Hrencher and Jerry Stuckey with the Moscow Cotton Gin and High Plains Cotton Coop were up talking about the soon to be released 2-4-D resistant cotton variety.
I can’t overestimate how important it is for our community to be active in state wide organizations and make the long drive to Topeka. When you are meeting with legislators in Topeka and you are passionate it makes a difference. This week we had many passionate citizens in Topeka talking about Southwest Kansas. Legislators from across the state noticed and listened.
There is movement afoot in Topeka to speed up the effective date and limit the exemptions of a new property tax lid on our Cities and Counties. The original bill had a number of exemptions and was not to go into effect until 2017. This year special interest groups in Topeka want to eliminate some of the proposed exemptions and move up the effective date to 2016. There are a number of technical errors in the bill, as passed, mainly because it never had a hearing and was put in the tax bill by the conference committee late in the process to garner votes from legislators and favor from some lobbying groups.
I have heard from many of our local realtors in support of the bill and many of our local elected officials in opposition to the bill. I struggle with the division in our community regarding this bill. I believe in local control and that in a representative democracy you have control of your local officials at the ballot box. Any of us can run for these offices. I am concerned about mandates from Topeka. Kansas is very diverse and the effects of this lid will vary greatly between communities. Many times when our local governments are forced to raise taxes or cut services it is because of something that originated in Topeka or Washington D.C. I will continue to watch this bill as it goes through the process and finalize my decision when I see its final form.
Do you know a junior high or high school student who would like to be a page for a day in the Kansas State Capitol? In addition to learning about the legislative process by paging on the House floor, pages will get a guided tour of the beautifully restored Capitol building and a picture with the Governor. If interested, please contact my assistant Jane Clouse at 785-296-7655 or Shannon.email@example.com
I will be having my next Legislative Coffee Saturday, February 6th at 10 am at Spencer Browne’s Coffee House. Please come by and let me know your thoughts.
Please reach out to me regarding issues with our state government that I can help with. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. My email address is: Shannon.firstname.lastname@example.org
. This insures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with.
“The government closest to the people serves the people best.
” (Thomas Jefferson
Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Please contact me anytime. My email is: Shannon.email@example.com