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Nod to Guard and responsible spending

We are into our third week in the Statehouse. It is an honor to have the opportunity to service you. I serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Federal and State, and Education committees. As I have stated before, if you have any questions or issues please let me know. My goal is to help you get an answer and let your concern be known to the committees that might be connected to your issues or the department that can assist you.

My office assistant is Connie Ramage, phone number 785-296-7105. My email address is john.ewy@house.ks.gov.

The House is committed to working this session to providing further tax relief for Kansans and to creating a competitive business environment. The private market is where production occurs and, in order for Kansas to be competitive for jobs, state government must leave more money in the pockets of Kansans. Job creators tend to go where the money is -- and for too long Kansas' high taxes have driven them to states where there is little or no state income tax like Texas and Florida.

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Recently, Gov. Sam Brownback proclaimed Jan. 23 to be Armed Forces Appreciation Day. The House was greeted by the chaplain of the Kansas National Guard during the House session and received some encouraging words. With several thousand Kansans serving in active duty, reserve duty and the National Guard, both Army and Air, the impact of our service personnel to our state cannot be overstated.

Living in Kansas, we are no stranger to natural disaster and these men and women are the first line of defense in recovery from such disasters. Our state is well served by the Kansas National Guard under the command of Gen. Lee Tafanelli, a former state representative. The National Guard has been active in the state of Kansas since Aug. 30, 1955.

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This year, the House Rules Committee again included the rule "pay-go." This rule states for any amendment to an appropriations bill on the House floor that seeks to increase spending, an equal amount of spending must be found and reduced for the amendment to be debated.

This simple rule helps the House keep a firm grasp on the spending levels of the state of Kansas. The rule in no way limits debate or prevents a legitimate amendment to fund a certain program from entering the bill, the only issue is spending must be reduced as well. This rule is set by the House and under certain extraneous circumstances can be suspended; however, this is not typical.

Over the past two years, the House has had the pay-go rule in place with great success. We have been able to hold the line on spending and ensure the state has a healthy ending balance. This has been critical for ensuring the state can pay school districts on time, be able to fund disaster relief and provide agencies with some certainty in funding.

Rep. John Ewy, R-Jetmore, represents the 117th District in the Kansas House. john.ewy@house.ks.gov