Top Morning News 01.29.13
Kansas GOP names Wichitan as new chair; Task force presents school efficiency ideas to lawmakers; Continuing drought taking toll on Kansas wheat.
Kansas GOP Has New Chair
Kansas Republicans have picked Wichita's Kelly Arnold as the state GOP's new chair.
Kelly Arnold has been the GOP's vice chair for the past two years. He has been both executive director and chair of the Sedgwick County party.
Arnold will replace Amanda Adkins, who chaired the state party for four years.
Lawmakers Hear School Efficiency Suggestions
A school efficiency task force has presented its recommendations to lawmakers in Topeka. Gov. Sam Brownback formed the task force to find ways to spend education funding more efficiently.
KS Senate Panel To Examine Governor's Tax Plan
A Kansas Senate committee is holding two days of hearings on Gov. Brownback's tax plan, to answer questions about whether the plan is fair to the state's low-income residents.
The Assessment and Taxation Committee began reviewing the governor's proposals Tuesday.
Brownback wants to phase in more income tax cuts over the next three years to follow up on reductions approved last year. But to stabilize the budget, he also wants to eliminate two popular income tax deductions for homeowners. He'd also like to keep the sales tax at its current rate, rather than letting it drop in July as planned.
The plan is drawing criticism from the Washington-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The nonpartisan research group says the plan favors the wealthy.
Kansas Wheat Condition Deteriorating Amid Drought
A new report says January's limited moisture has caused the state winter wheat crop to deteriorate.
The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reports that 39 percent of the crop was already in poor to very poor condition. Forty-one percent is rated as fair, with 19 percent in good shape and 1 percent in excellent condition.
The lack of significant rainfall has also affected livestock producers. Stock water supplies are short to very short across 78 percent of Kansas. Many ranchers are hauling water for livestock. Stock ponds are low or dried out.
The agency also reports that 85 percent of Kansas pastures are in poor to very poor shape.