www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Ballot measures -10/31/2014, 11:10 AM

Roberts not the answer -10/30/2014, 10:25 AM

See the signs -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Incumbents always win -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Convention center -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Schodorf for SOS -10/30/2014, 10:14 AM

Supermarket shenanigans -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

Americans can fix the Senate -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

A plea to city commissioners -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Having no price tag -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Leiker understands -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Justice doing his job -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Kansas and Greg Orman -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

'Surplus' KDOT money needed in western KS -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Ready for a budget spin -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Dishonest mailing -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Changing Republicans -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Follow the votes -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Shameful attempts -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Slanderous ads repulsive -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Medicare experiment -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Profile, or die -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Important issues -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Politics at their finest -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Most important election -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Enough is enough -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Is Roberts on final lap? -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Democrat turned Brownback supporter -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Editor Bradlee; For it All, 'Thank You' -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Davis for governor -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Roberts a changed man -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Time to stay the course -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Embarrassing economists -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

Sherow for House -10/24/2014, 5:07 PM

It can't get crazier (wanna bet?) -10/24/2014, 9:04 AM

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

More ed cuts coming -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Leiker is the answer -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Sun shining on schools? -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Airline a great addition -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Huelksamp: ideologue extraordinaire -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Critical topics at the forefront in Topeka

Published on -1/24/2013, 10:51 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

The first week of the 2013 legislative session was a busy one. During Gov. Sam Brownback's State of the State address, he addressed a joint meeting of the Legislature on the issues he wishes to take on during this term. Gov. Brownback said the state of the state is strong and he exclaimed, "Watch out Texas, here comes Kansas!"

The session ahead will be busy and challenging, but, by working together, I am confident Kansas will be put on a continued path to prosperity and growth. Here are a few of the many issues the legislature will work on this year.

Tax policy: Last session ended with the simplification of the tax code from three income tax brackets to two. The top and low end rate tax rate was decreased with the new rates are 4.9 percent and 3 percent respectively. This tax cut should curb the loss of businesses that have been fleeing Kansas for states that have a more attractive tax policy. Gov. Brownback wishes income tax rates to be decreased even further, eventually down to zero. I am committed to economic growth and wish to encourage this growth by decreasing taxes and leaving more capital in the private sector.

Budget: The governor is proposing a two-year budget instead of the traditional one-year budget. This will allow for increased budgetary certainty for our schools and local governments. The budget for the state of Kansas has come a long way in the last two years; from having $876.05 left in the bank and facing a $500,000,000 shortfall to last year ending with $500,000,000 in the bank. I look forward to continuing this trend by voting for a fiscally responsible budget that continues to find efficiencies in government while providing the necessary resources for key services.

Education: School funding is based upon a decades-old formula containing few safeguards regarding fiscal accountability and student achievement. It does, however, contain a litany of special funding triggers that require large increases regardless of the ability of Kansas taxpayers to fund them. An eye-popping statistic regarding school funding is that less than 65 percent of funds, on average, ever make it into the classroom to benefit students. We can and should do better.

During the recent economic downturn, the state chose to delay automatic education funding increases, rather than raise taxes on already hard-pressed Kansas families. School administrators immediately sued Kansas taxpayers to extract the funds. A state court recently issued a ruling that, if implemented, will require a $600 million property tax increase on Kansas families. Attorney General Derek Schmidt has appealed the decision, protecting Kansas families from this financial devastation.

Judicial selection: Kansas is the only state in the nation that uses a system to select its judges that is controlled by a single interest group -- Kansas lawyers. Those with the greatest economic and professional interest in judicial decisions are the very people charged with choosing our judges. Legislation is expected during the 2013 session to remove this conflict of interest and open up the process to public light. One proposal is to require those nominated for appointment be approved by the Kansas Senate, allowing Kansas citizens to learn about nominees and provide input into the process through their elected senator. More information on this and other proposals is expected soon.

KDOT/KTA: Kansas currently has two agencies -- the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority -- assigned with the same task; maintaining the highways for the state of Kansas. The house and the governor continue to work together to reduce the size of government, and it is logical for the state of Kansas to combine these two agencies. Currently, there is $14,000,000 in wasted spending that could be avoided if the agencies were combined. One example of the inefficiencies of having two agencies is that KDOT and KTA have sheds on either side of the street in the Emporia area. Merging these two agencies would reduce the size of government and result in more responsible governing.

Second Amendment: In 2006, Kansas passed its first concealed-carry bill. Since then, more than 55,000 law-abiding Kansans have applied and been granted their constitutional right to protect themselves. Many have said guns have no place in public buildings. The problem is it is irresponsible to prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves if adequate security is not provided. We all can agree that a sign of a gun with a line through it does little to stop those who wish to do harm. I will stand firm in support of our Second Amendment rights and defense of our families.

The governor has set important goals for the legislature, and it is up to us to refine them. Do not hesitate to contact me if with your thoughts and concerns. I am dedicated to providing outstanding constituent service and your continued communication is vital to that process. You can stay connected by following my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TravisforKansas and website at travisforkansas.com. As always, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-4683.

Travis Couture-Lovelady represents the 110th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. travis@travisforkansas.com

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
Kansas News