www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Right to be heard? -8/26/2014, 10:08 AM

Over-covering Ferguson -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

Figuring out the tax debate -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

An obvious ploy -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Not-so-beautiful sunset -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Cannabis therapy -- Why bother? -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Business climate of Kansas -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

James Foley: Courage in the face of danger -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Festering wound -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Big banks settling -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Tuition pays for this -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

College textbook scam -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Policing a riot -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Evil strikes back -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Art appreciation -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Abuse of power -8/20/2014, 8:22 AM

Ferguson police arrest reporters for reporting -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Don't 'got milk' -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Another road map to success? -8/19/2014, 10:05 AM

It's the abuse of power, stupid -8/19/2014, 10:04 AM

Riots in Ferguson, and what they mean -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

One of billions -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

The GOP presents: Barack-nado -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Media and Missouri: What's going on? -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Answer the bell -8/15/2014, 8:58 AM

Get ready for denials -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mental illness -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mindless drones -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Can-do attitude -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

'Poor door' -- a symbol of a truth we all know -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

Eyeing the Ogallala Aquifer -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

The slacker congress -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

CIA vs. Senate -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

The cannabis conundrum -- we against us -8/11/2014, 8:55 AM

The debate is over -8/11/2014, 8:54 AM

The 'Almost' Revolution -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Is cross a history lesson or state religion? -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Another downgrade -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

State economy plays critical role in the future of FHSU -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Building on past successes for a stronger future -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Will Palin's channel rival Comedy Central? -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Western anti-Semitism -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Patrolmen without borders -8/7/2014, 10:13 AM

Not a choice -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Ebola politics -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Too few voters -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

A special breed -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

A license to vote -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

Selfies in Auschwitz -- and why it's wrong -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

Election turnout -8/5/2014, 9:19 AM

Dairy's closing -8/5/2014, 9:19 AM

Concealing the Statehouse debate -8/5/2014, 9:18 AM

Beauty all around us -8/5/2014, 9:18 AM

Needing another senator -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Doing what he said -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Needing a new understanding of energy -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Do-nothing Congress -8/3/2014, 12:02 PM

Seeking the ultimate 'redress of grievances' -8/3/2014, 11:43 AM

Kansas values -8/3/2014, 11:43 AM

A candidate with morals, integrity -8/3/2014, 11:43 AM

Huelskamp deserves vote -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

One third of 1 percent makes difference -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

Vote for our future -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

Reaching a limit -8/3/2014, 11:42 AM

Please stop helping us -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Deadly double standards -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Huelskamp's attention to detail -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Surprise, surprise, surprise -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Medicaid expansion a win-win for Kansas -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Term limits are first step -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Vote for what's right -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

The next governor -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Shultz is the pick -7/31/2014, 10:11 AM

Eyeing the children -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Speak from the heart -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Changing attitudes -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Time to replace Huelskamp -7/30/2014, 9:00 AM

Water vision -7/29/2014, 9:48 AM

No longer a supporter -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

The power of punctuation -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

Running for the wrong bus -7/28/2014, 9:04 AM

Old Old Mexico -- Culture and content -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

The defining issue of economic recovery -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

In a world of sectarian violence, what can be done? -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

Funding DHDC -7/27/2014, 1:18 PM

Endorsement for Shultz -7/25/2014, 3:28 PM

Against the wind -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Do blacks need favors? -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Vote Huelskamp out -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Open meetings -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Leadership change needed -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Vote for Huelskamp -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Protecting unborn children -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Learning experience valuable -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

False equivalence -7/23/2014, 8:07 AM

Measles' scary comeback -7/23/2014, 1:27 PM

The 'big data' deal -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

GOP can't get out of its own way -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

War only will add to Middle East problems -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Avoiding taxes -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Renovated Capitol a sight to see

Published on -2/5/2014, 9:16 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

After 13 years of fences, construction zones and dust, the crane has come down and the doors have opened to the newly renovated Kansas State Capitol. As we celebrated Kansas' 153rd birthday, Gov. Sam Brownback dedicated the restored state Capitol featuring the newest addition, the Visitors Center.

As the gateway to the Capitol building, the Visitors Center now is the central hub for guests. It features a number of amenities, including a larger Capitol Gift Store, a classroom, auditorium, tour desk and a number of exhibits. The center is a great place for school children and families to engage in interactive learning about our state's history and the people who have worked tirelessly to continue to make Kansas a great state. As Brownback said in his dedication speech, "This is a monument to the people of the state who made it to the stars through difficulty."

The renovations are breath-taking, and it is my hope every Kansan will make the trip to see this spectacular landmark. As you make plans to visit Topeka, feel free to contact my office to assist in arrangements for tours at the Capitol building. We now feature eight different one-hour tours focusing on various aspects of the building, so I encourage you to learn all you can about our state's unique history -- and enjoy this beautiful symbol of our ongoing legacy.

Aside from celebrating our Kansas history, the Senate continued to focus on a number of items being vetted in committees. One notable piece of legislation introduced this week was SB 305, which shifts capital improvement dollars, approved by local voters, for bond issues into the state's equalization assistance for local option budgets. Shifting the state funds for buildings into the LOB equalization would focus less on building construction and more on classroom instruction. School districts will continue to receive state assistance to repay bonds; however, bonds approved after July 1, 2014, no longer will be eligible for similar state aid. LOB also provides local communities with the opportunity to lower property taxes by adding these state dollars to the fund.

Hearings also began this week on SB 298 in Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee. The measure would eliminate the Kansas mortgage registration fee. Why is this important? The fee cost real estate buyers seeking financing through local financial institutions millions of dollars each year. The mortgage taxed by counties far exceeds the county's costs for recording the mortgage. Proponents of the bill said the mortgage registration fee puts home and business buyers who have to finance their purchases at an unfair disadvantage to cash buyers who don't use traditional mortgages, as well as those using Farm Credit services. County officials, opponents of the bill, said the registration fee provides approximately $47 million in revenue to their general budget, and therefore triggers property tax increases to replace the county revenue. A general theme amongst counties blames the state for its high property taxes. Representatives from the Kansas Association of Realtors, however, offered testimony noting local governments have raised property taxes at an average of 7.11 percent per year during the last 11 years -- far outpacing this, or any other, state tax increases.

As the tax committee continues to debate, and as SB 298 moves through the process, I'll keep you updated on its status.

An important issue for rural Kansans, the governor this week announced action to minimize effects of a propane shortage. As propane levels in the Midwest are at record lows, more than 1,400 Kansans are at risk of going without their primary heating source. In response, the governor has taken several actions to protect Kansans. For a full description, visit governor.ks.gov or call (785) 368-8500. The Senate Utilities Committee also will have an information hearing on the availability and prices of the gas as the costs have spiked in the past two months, rising 28 percent nationally, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. If you or someone you know is in danger as a result of this evolving crisis, make me aware, and I will be happy to assist in seeking relief.

Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, represents the 40th District.

ralph.ostmeyer@senate.ks.gov

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.