Congratulations to the University of Kansas Hospital
Congratulations to the University of Kansas Hospital for its ranking as one of the best hospitals in the nation in U.S. News and World Report. This is a significant honor for Kansas and for the hospital.
These rankings are broken down into 12 different categories and specialties. The KU Hospital was listed as the No. 1 overall in both the state of Kansas and the Kansas City region. It is now classified in the top 50 nationwide in 10 of 12 categories; of these 10 rankings, seven are top 25 nationwide.
List of the categories and rankings:
• Cancer (No. 37), listed for two years in a row. • Cardiology and Heart Surgery (No. 24), listed for six years in a row. • Diabetes and Endocrinology (No. 38), listed for the first time. • Ear, Nose and Throat (No. 20), listed for four years in a row. • Gastroenterology (No. 20), listed for the second year in a row. • Geriatrics (No. 17), previously listed in 2010. • Nephrology (kidney) (No.15), listed for four years in a row. • Neurology and Neurosurgery (No. 22), listed for the first time. • Pulmonology (No. 15), listed for the third year in a row. • Urology (No. 45), previously listed in 2010.
Drought: Drought conditions continue to worsen across the state; Governor Brownback has issued a Drought Declaration classifying all of Kansas’ 105 counties into emergency, warning or watch status. Sedgwick County is in Drought Warning status.
The below average precipitation has resulted in reduced stream flow, depleted soil moisture levels, and left many parts of the state at a high risk for wildfire. Burn bans have been instituted in many counties. Farmers, ranchers and other individuals are encouraged to remain in contact with their local emergency boards as they monitor losses resulting from the extreme weather. For more detailed information about current conditions, access the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report available at the Kansas Water Office Website, www.kwo.org. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks have implemented burn restrictions at several state parks. For more information on the burn bans in your area or at local parks please visit www.kansastag.gov or www.ksoutdoors.com.
Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Department on Aging, the Disability and Behavioral Health Services Division at SRS, and parts of the Health Occupations Credentialing Division Reorganization: The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) were commissioned as part of Governor Brownback’s ongoing reorganization efforts. The governor’s goal is to increase efficiency among state agencies and to improve services and programs. The two agencies will focus on protecting Kansas children, families and its most vulnerable residents.
DCF replaces the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services as the agency responsible for protecting children and promoting healthy families. The responsibilities of DCF include children and adult protective services, adoption services, foster care support, child support services, welfare and food assistance programs, and services dedicated to vocational rehabilitation.
Four existing major client services have been renamed as part of the transition. Children and family services is now Prevention and Protection Services; Child Support Enforcement has been renamed Child Support Services; Economic and Employment Support is now Economic and Employment Services; and Rehabilitation Services has been renamed Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
DCF has a new website, www.dcf.ks.gov. Customer service can be contacted at (888) 369-4777. The Agency will remain at the same address in the Docking State Office Building, 915 SW Harrison in Topeka. All 39 Kansas service centers will also remain at their existing locations.
KDADS merges the former Department on Aging, the Disability and Behavioral Health Services Division at SRS and parts of the Health Occupations Credentialing Division. The agency will administer services to older adults; Mental Health, Addiction and Prevention Programs; State Hospitals and Institutions; Home and Community based service waiver programs; and some health occupation credentialing. KDADS is now the second largest agency in state government with a budget of $1.7 billion in FY 2013, including $154.9 million for state hospitals. The core goals of KDADS are to keep older adults and the disabled at home and independent for as long as possible.
KDADS also has a new website, www.kdads.ks.gov. All aging programs will remain in their current location at the New England Building, 503 S. Kansas Avenue in Topeka. Disability services will remain in the Docking State Office Building, 915 SW Harrison in Topeka for the time being.
The Kansas Economy: June was the final month of the 2012 Fiscal Year. Our economy is reviving, although slowly. This is reflected by the increasing tax collection numbers. Fiscal Year 2012 collections were $465 million or 8.4 percent above the$5.543 billion collection of last year. Governor Brownback’s vision of reducing taxes to improve the jobs in Kansas seems to be working. These numbers do not include the effect of the changes in tax laws that were implemented in this past legislative session.
Individual income taxes totaled $2.9 billion, 7.3 percent, $198 million higher than the previous year. Sales tax was $2.136 million, 8.7 percent, $171 million or higher. Finally, corporate income taxes were $284 million, a $59 million increase.
New Healthcare Law: The United State Supreme Court finally issued its long awaited decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. The Court determined that the individual mandate provision was constitutional. However, the expansion of the Medicaid programs was overturned, providing the ability for states to opt out of some of the provisions.
The Supreme Court ruled that the new healthcare law restricts the states’ ability to regulate health plans and it overrides patient protections already adopted. These also would have imposed new costs on state government budgets.
Under the bill’s provisions, states were guaranteed to see an enormous expansion of Medicaid enrollments. Projection estimates were of an increase of 30 percent in enrollments in 2014 alone, because many uninsured individuals would have become eligible for Medicaid coverage.
The new healthcare law is an unprecedented legislation that usurps state’s powers, imposes massive costs to state budgets, and imposes mandates and new taxes on U.S. taxpayers. The legislation failed to acknowledge the differences among the states, creating a one-size fits all model that prevents states from determining what model works best for them. However, states are not powerless in this battle and the Court’s ruling gave states the opportunity to say no to the federal government. Several states are reviewing their options for opting out of the Medicaid expansion. Florida and South Carolina have already announced that they will decline to participate. Kansas must carefully consider our options, and make the best decision possible in light of the court’s decision.
To say that”this campaign is hot” is an understatement. I am not just talking about the 100 degree heat. As a result of redistricting we have had radical changes in many districts. In numerous cases we have incumbents running against each other. My particular district changed from 100 to 94. This resulted in a change of about 50% of the people that I have represented for the past 10 years. Precinct walks can result in very long and draining days. However, it’s always the most enjoyable and rewarding part of a campaign. Meeting and talking with people in my district is motivating, and is a constant reminder of why you need representation in Topeka so your words will have a voice in the legislature. If you want to participate, I can use the help. I need volunteers to help me hit the doorsteps of everyone across the district.
Dear friends, I firmly believe that tax reform is an effective economic growth tool and that it is imperative for Kansas to do something this year to change our dismal economic path. For the past decade our history has been to grow taxes and increase state spending. This has led to job loss in the private sector and one of the slowest growth rates in the nation.
The Kansas Legislature has produced very few bills this election year that will actually become law. Shared goals and easy to enact legislation has been caught in heated battles, each faction adding language that infuriates others. The moderate-republican/democratic led Senate and the conservative-republican run House have written legislation that dies right away or is assured of going nowhere in the other chamber. This tactic is known as a “poison pill”, because most of the time it causes the bill to be killed. This year this has been exceptionally painful because we are facing the”perfect political storm” of slow economic recovery, high unemployment, changing all the legislative districts (as a result of the census), the state senate running for reelection, and a new Governor, who is committed to fulfill his campaign promises of growth and increased jobs.
In my opinion, based on the letters and emails that I receive, constituents are not fully informed about the legislative process, and as they look at some of the votes, they do not know the details of what really happened. I know that sometimes these details are difficult to understand. The media can put legislators in a tough spot because voters not being fully informed about why members voted in a certain way can be led to the wrong conclusions. The only way to combat this situation is through communications. In my case, I do not have a staff or a budget to communicate with my constituents, and I cannot depend on the newspapers to get the message right. I often wonder if the reporter attended the same meeting that I did. I can send news releases to the local newspaper, but quite often they will not be published.
The 2012 tax reform bill just highlighted the details of this struggle. The House has been working with the Governor to lower personal income taxes for Kansans and to make our state more competitive in our region. Our logic is that when taxpayers have more money, they have higher levels of economic activity which in turn drives up state revenues and creates a lot of additional jobs,”the multiplier effect.” This is demonstrated by low-tax high growth states throughout the country.
This brings us to my front-line-trench observations of what happened on the tax bill. The Senate, earlier this session, loaded-up the Governor’s tax-cutting bill with a lot of sparkling cuts designed to generate campaign fodder for themselves. But this bill had so many large tax cuts, which they thought it would be assurance of a defeat in the House. The Senate expressed their excuse that the purpose was to get a bill to take into a House-Senate conference committee where it could be pared back to an affordable level. However, the issue is never the issue. The real political reason, in my opinion, was to have an Etch-a-Sketch ability to change positions for the election. The senate moderates saw this as a way to win both ways: brag about cutting taxes in postcards in the upcoming election, and at the same time spend a lot of money in state services, to the satisfaction of their political supporters, since they thought that once their tax bill was killed there will be no reduction in taxes this session. The factions often disagree over whether a provision is a purposeful poison pill or simply a demonstration of the majority’s ability to write bills reflecting their own priorities, you can be the judge.
We witnessed an historic parliamentary battle. Earlier in the day we received credible information that the senate leadership planned to break its promise on the tax conference committee agreement. Instead of passing the agreed-to compromise they planned to kill the conference committee report with the resulting procedural effect of killing the underlying Senate tax plan, which they had passed earlier in the session. This would have left Kansas without a tax reduction this year to prime the lagging economy.
Concerned about this imminent procedural move, the Governor asked to address our House caucus. He urged us to protect progress on the tax reform by concurring in the Senate amendments to the tax plan. He did this in good faith as the only remaining pathway available to prevent the Senate from killing all hope of tax reform in 2012.
In an unprecedented conflict, the Kansas House and Senate went head-to-head in a procedural/filibuster battle. Each legislative body used parliamentary moves in an effort to be the first chamber to take the deciding action.
The result was almost identical rules, by the Senate President and House Speaker, forcing an end to filibuster debate and a vote on the respective tax programs. The interruption of debate drew outraged comments on both floors.
In the House, the howls of protest came from democrats and moderate republicans who opposed the measure before the House. But in the Senate, the same howls of protest came from conservative republicans, using the same indignant words that cited the unfairness of limiting debate of an important issue. Although the politics in either chamber sharply contrast each other, the rhetoric of indignation was virtually identical. The words were used interchangeably by conservative-republicans in the Senate and moderate-republicans/democrats on the House floor.
As the drama continued to unfold the opposition voices used explanation of vote to prolong the filibuster in both chambers, the leadership imposed time limits to reduce debate. This was done to allow the competing chamber an opportunity to approve their version. Since the senate is a smaller body, they were at a disadvantage to the House. So opposition members extended their filibuster by rising and requesting that they be allowed to “join” another member in that member’s remarks, this took several additional minutes.
Every single member was undoubtedly aware of what was happening. The Senate was racing to kill tax reform before the House had a chance to save it. In the House we followed the Rules of the House and Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure. Mason’s specifically addresses the dilatory tactics by members intending to delay consideration of legislative business. This is what the Speaker used to end debate. Parliamentary rules are in place to protect both the members and the institution. They should neither be abused nor ignored. However, a lot of people were upset by the process. I think that it will take a lot of diplomacy and political pragmatism to bring this session to a reasonable end.
House Speaker, Mike O’Neal, won the day by summarily cutting-off debate. Thus, the House won the stand-off, gaining a final action vote on its version of the tax bill and approving it on a 64-59 margin. Moments later, the President of the Senate conceded defeat by announcing that the House action had effectively killed the Senate’s debate. The bill that was sent to the Governor is the Senate’s own plan (It passed the Senate on a vote of 29-11).
This tax bill, approved by the House, has been dubbed the “nuclear option” because it projects state government deficits of more than $2 billion in coming years. Meanwhile, the failed conference committee report before the Senate had a much lower price tag and was the product of both chambers’ committees.
Where does that leave the tax issue? The Governor is faced with either signing a bill with a huge price tag that can only be offset by the very optimistic and unrealistic projections of economic growth, or the other option is to hold this tax bill and await receipt of a new tax compromise. If he gets the compromise, he’ll sign it. If he doesn’t, he’ll sign the original bill. The bottom line is that the Senate has the ultimate control over what choice the Governor makes.
Although this tax plan is not the House’s first choice, the House is committed to enact reform this year, and hopes that the Senate will take action on the proposal previously agreed upon during the conference committee. The final budget agreement is contingent on whether such a tax compromise is reached and passed. Passage of a tax compromise would give the Budget Conference Committee more flexibility toward meeting budget goals and maintaining a healthy ending balance. In my opinion both of these issues are also dependant on having an agreement on re-districting.
There are concerns by many people on the impact of this dramatic tax reform. I hope that you take the time to share your thoughts on this issue. We all have the same goal for our state, growth and quality of life; we just might have different perspectives on how we get there.
It is a truly an honor to serve the citizens of the 100th District. My main priority during my ten years’ tenure in the legislature has been to reduce the size of government and grow the Kansas economy. I believe that we need to create more jobs. The only way to accomplish this goal is to make our state one of the most competitive in the region in order to keep the businesses that we have and attract new companies.
Recently, Boeing announced their decision to leave Wichita and take with them many high paying jobs. I think that this action points to the need to continue to improve the business climate in Kansas. We should not waver from maintaining a constant push for less government, lower taxes, and a repeal of unneeded regulations.
Research shows Kansas has one of the highest tax rates in the region and we are consistently losing workers to nearby states with lower tax rates. We need to be committed to developing favorable tax policy that enables employers to create jobs, entices new business to relocate to Kansas, and ensures residents will continue to live and work in our state. Our State has a diverse economy which presents a considerable challenge for any type of major tax policy changes. Any changes to the current tax code will not come without exhaustive study and deliberation. Feedback from all points of view is a critical part of this process, I encourage you to involve yourself in the process and express your views.
Please take the time to track the Legislature’s work. Right now new policy proposals are being aired and discussed. Different perspectives are being expressed, and as a result we are seeing the beginning form of key policy programs. I believe this is an important part of the process to define legislation that will shape the future of Kansas. As you know, the devil is in the details and many components of these policies are still subject to change. Just because a concept is being proposed doesn’t mean that it will become law. My intent, through this newsletter, is to keep you, my constituents, informed. That is why I need for you to let me know your thoughts on the issues that are being discussed. I need to know any ideas that you might have on how to modify these proposals, and how they are going to affect you. Please feel free to call me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave me a message at www.mariogoico.com. Thank you for the honor of serving you!
Rep. Mario Goico
Tax Proposal (The Talk Intensifies) My Summary Last year, the House passed tax reform legislation that would have strengthened the economy while protecting low-income Kansans. However, the Senate failed to act on those bills.
I believe that we need the reforms that were started in the House. We need a comprehensive tax reform specifically directed at growing the private sector economic base and creating more private sector jobs. This has to be accomplished in a socially responsible manner; we should not increase the tax burden on lower-income Kansans. The Governor and the House have proposed that all revenue increase over 2 % should be used to first reduce the individual income tax brackets. I think that this should be 2 % or the inflation rate, whichever is highest.
I agree that we should not eliminate home mortgage interest and charitable deductions. However, eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and moving it to social service programs (where federal matches would increase the $60 million to more than $113 million) makes sense. Accelerating severance tax receipts from new wells for two years also makes sense (our citizens should derive some benefit from our natural resources). The House vision will focus on growth and job creation while insuring a healthy ending cash balance to keep our state on a sound fiscal basis. I also like the emphasis on reducing the low and moderate income tax brackets (middle class) on an accelerated basis.
The House’s Conceptual Tax Bill Basically, the House agrees with the Governor’s plan. Their main modifications are in maintaining current tax deductions, credits and exemptions; this includes food sales tax refunds, historic tax credits, charitable deductions and mortgage deductions, while following the Governor’s pro-growth, pro-jobs recommendations of allowing small businesses to retain non-wage profits and to reinvest that capital back into their businesses in order to create new jobs. It would maintain the statutory sales tax sunset, passed during the 2010 session, which lowers the sales tax rate to 5.7 percent in 2013. The House plan depends almost solely on revenue increases above 2% a year to finance the reductions in rates across the tax brackets. The plan proposes to spread the savings possible by the 2% lid on increases in state spending with an emphasis on reducing the low and moderate tax brackets on an accelerated basis. The House also endorses the Governor’s plan to accelerate the severance tax collection on new wells and the proposed expansion of the successful Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) program.
State Budget The proposed reduction in the 2013 State General Fund is a minuscule 6% (approximately $39 million), not large but is at least the beginning of a decrease. The ending balance is proposed at $365 million or a 6.2%. Note that this amount is short of the statutory 7.5% (which has not been achieved since 2002).
Obamacare Lt. Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer joined an important amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Hunting and Fishing Licenses A bill was introduced that would eliminate free hunting and fishing licenses for Kansans who are 65 years old. I oppose this bill
Redistricting Kansas The state of Kansas is in the process of redrawing its Congressional and Legislative boundaries based on the 2010 census figures. The population of Kansas has grown in the eastern part of the state while western Kansas continues to struggle with a declining population. Expectations are that one Kansas Senate (70,986 persons) and three Kansas House (22,761 persons) seats will shift from the West to the East.
Public hearings throughout the state were held on the redistricting process over the summer and fall. Before the 2012 session can come to an end, new district maps must be approved by the Legislature so they can get final approval from the court for the August 2012 primary election and November 2012 general election.
I personally find it very difficult and challenging to part with any friends, neighbors or constituents. Unfortunately my district has grown too much.
Caylee’s Law – HB 2440 I’m one of the sponsors of HB 2440, Caylee’s Law. This is one of the first priorities in the Republican caucus for 2012. Caylee Anthony, a 2-year-old, disappeared in Florida in 2008. Anthony’s mother, Casey, failed to notify authorities of her daughter’s disappearance for a month. Current Kansas’ law does not view this sort of negligence as a crime, and does not impose criminal penalties for failing to notify law enforcement of the death or disappearance of a child. This bill will create those standards. This bill is an essential tool for prosecutors to better protect Kansas children.
In the fall of 2011, Penn State University was rocked by allegations that former football coach Jerry Sandusky had been caught sexually assaulting or inappropriately interacting with underage boys on or near university property. Subsequent investigations appeared to reveal that eyewitness accounts of the abuse were not reported to proper university and law enforcement authorities.
This Regents Reporting Requirements bill requires all state post-secondary educational institutions to develop reporting standards for cases of abuse. In addition, the Kansas Board of Regents will require each regent institution to formalize individual standards for reporting abuse.
State Archives Available Online The Kansas Historical Society has partnered with the popular family history website, ancestry.com to allow individuals with valid Kansas driver’s licenses free access to over 8 million Kansas records. To access the records, users need to access www.kshs.org/ancestry and enter their name, date of birth and Kansas driver’s license number. Once the number is authenticated, users will be redirected to ancestry.com.
Users will be able to access Kansas census records from 1865 to 1985; Civil War enlistment papers of Kansas Volunteer Regiments (1862, 1863, and 1868); Russell County vital and probate records; selected World War I manuscripts; and United Spanish-American War veterans certificate collections.
The Historical Society also has a digital portal providing access to 200,000 images of photographs, artifacts, diaries, letters, maps and other printed materials at www.kansasmemory.org.
Please, let me know your thoughts on these issues. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com any time. I’d be happy to discuss any topic with you. Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you!
State of the State Address On Jan 11th Governor Brownback gave his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature. The Governor has set a very aggressive, but attainable, agenda for the legislature. I assure you that his pro-growth policies will result in a lot of debate in both chambers. We must ensure that Kansas is a better place to live and work. Our number one priority is to reduce unemployment.
The Governor has proposed to overhaul the state tax code. His goal is to make it simple, flat, and fair. We need to put more money in Kansans’ pockets in order to boost the economy. The tax changes proposed will be revenue-neutral. Any future increases in revenue will be used to further reduce individual income taxes. He will maintain corporate tax rates unchanged and the penny sales tax will not expire early. Gov. Brownback also introduced his budget for the 2013 fiscal year which begins July 1, 2012. Other subjects presented were: KPERS, Medicaid, and the school funding formula.
Tax Reform Rebuilding and strengthening the economy is the most important issue facing the Kansas Legislature during the 2012 session, as pointed out by the Governor. During these tough economic times, a growing number of states have cut or are considering cutting taxes as a way to encourage economic growth. Research shows states with zero personal income tax significantly outperform states with higher income tax rates. These states also experience better population growth and increased tax revenues than those with higher taxes. However, a full elimination of state income taxes isn’t feasible in the 2012 session.
The Governor’s plan would lower individual income taxes for all Kansans. The highest tax rate will be reduced to 4.9 percent (from 6.45), and the bottom one to 3 percent. This plan will eliminate individual state income taxes on most small business. Any state revenue growth above two percent will be directed to further reductions in the state individual and corporate tax rates in future years. The plan is revenue neutral. In order to reduce taxes there is an elimination of many itemized deductions.
Kansas has the second highest tax rate in the region, behind only Nebraska. Migration data shows that we are consistently losing workers to nearby states with lower tax rates. From 2001 to 2010 private sector employment in Kansas fell by 39,700 jobs. Between 2004 and 2010, Kansas lost 15,683 tax filers and 17,640 dependents, costing the state $1.09 billion.
We must create a favorable tax climate that enables employers to create jobs, entices new business to relocate to Kansas and ensures residents will continue to live and work in our state. Feedback from all points of view is a critical and essential part of this process. Please involve yourself in the process and communicate your thoughts to me.
State Budget Last year, for the first time since 1972, we decreased the state spending by nearly a billion dollars, and turned a $500 million deficit into a $100 million surplus without raising taxes. Part of our problem for many years has been that expenditures have been too high. For too long, Kansas government has lived beyond its means and we worked very hard last year to turn the tide. However, we still have very serious challenges facing the state. It is important for us to remain committed to keeping our spending in check. We must still pay off the accumulated state debt and spend conservatively to avoid some of the shortfalls we were forced to deal with in recent years.
Governor Brownback’s budget for FY 2013 funds or increases funding for essential state services while decreasing State General Fund (SGF) expenditures. This budget has a $465 million ending balance, exceeding the 7.5 percent statutory requirement. This is only the second time in the past forty years that the proposed budget decreases total state spending.
Education Finance Formula Reform Governor Brownback introduced a plan that aims to prevent education dollars from being wasted in courtroom litigation, focuses resources on the classroom, and provides greater flexibility and local control to Kansas school districts.
The Governor’s plan is designed to provide stable, predictable, and fair funding to all of Kansas’ 286 school districts by: • Providing the statutory $4,492 base state aid per pupil amount; • Offsetting local property tax inequity through the Property Tax Equalization Fund that pays out in increasingly greater amounts to districts with low property tax valuation per pupil; • Further equalizing district budgets through Supplemental Equalization to ensure that each district has a stable funding amount year after year; and • Allowing for unlimited local control of property taxes for educational purposes.
The new legislation would take effect in FY 2014 and sunset after four years. The proposed formula would cost the State an additional $45.1 million. Education is the most important responsibility of the state government. Under the proposal, all the districts would receive at least the same amount as last year and approximately half would receive additional funds.
Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS) For many years, the Legislature has failed to properly fund KPERS. The current unfunded liability exceeds $8 billion. This is one of the worst pension systems in the United States. A bipartisan study commission recommended that KPERS should be transitioned to a defined contribution plan. Any person currently receiving KPERS benefits and those who are vested will not be affected by this change. The state must live up to its committed obligation to state employees. The transition still has many details that need to be worked out before we completely correct the problem. Not doing anything is not an option. Unless substantive reform measures are taken to improve the pension fund, the problem will only get worse.
The commission also recommended reducing legislative pensions based on the actual salary of legislators rather than the theoretical salary of approximately $85,000 upon which KPERS retirement is currently calculated. Legislators are paid $88.66 a day for their work (90 days) plus $123 a day for meals and lodging. This would reduce the salary for calculation to about $14,000.
I encourage you to let me know your thoughts on these issues. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to discuss any topic. Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you!
Boeing announced today that it would close its facility in Wichita by the end of 2013. This plant employs 2,160 workers, the majority of these hold high paying technical jobs in engineering. The Aviation industry is the largest industry in Wichita, so this is especially difficult at a time of high unemployment. The bottom line is that Kansas needs jobs, and this decision is very disappointing.
The State of Kansas, at all levels, has been committed to the aviation industry to ensure the success of Boeing for the good of the state and of the nation. State legislators and local government officials have been very involved in providing the industry and Boeing a lot of support. We have passed a bill that provided 500 million in bonds to expand the Boeing facilities, supported the National Institute for Aviation Research (NAIR), provided additional funding for universities to increase the number of engineering students, exempted modification and repairs from state sales taxes, provided Industrial Revenue Bonds and exempted from property taxes the expansion of facilities, and facilitated the training of aircraft workers. As a result, Wichita has numerous supplier companies and the best trained workforce in the aviation industry.
The saddest part is the lack of consideration to the commitment, dedication and hard work of many generations of Kansans going all the way back to 1929 and World War II. The Kansas’ workers contributed to the success that Boeing enjoys worldwide. I hope Boeing reconsiders this decision.
The 2012 session already looks like it will be an extremely busy one. The following issues are already being considered: strengthening the state economy, tax reform, education finance reform, Medicaid reform, redistricting, and further balancing of the state budget. Policy proposals bills on the above issues have already being pre-filed. I encourage you to let me know your thoughts on these issues and others which might affect you or your business. Feedback is critical in making sure I represent my constituents in the district. Please, enter your comments on my web site www.mariogoico.com or feel free to call or e-mail me; I’ll be happy to discuss any topic that interests you. Thank you for the honor of serving you.