Governor Sam Brownback touted the state’s fiscal health Wednesday during a press briefing at the Statehouse. Brownback announced that Kansas will pay off bonds early for a variety of projects. He says the state’s finances are now solid enough to handle a large income tax cut lawmakers approved last session.
“We will be in a solid fiscal position, and we’re going to do everything we can here to continue to reduce the cost of state government while protecting K-12, Medicaid, public safety,” Brownback said.
State officials say a law passed two years ago has dramatically improved child care in Kansas.
The 2010 law is known as Lexie’s Law, after a 13-month-old girl who died from injuries she suffered at a Johnson County day care in 2004.
Among other things, it requires training for day care providers. It also requires day cares that take in up to six children to be regularly inspected. In the past, those small day cares were inspected only in response to complaints.
Wichita city council member Pete Mitzner Wednesday presented a case for passenger rail service through the city to the Sedgwick county commissioners.
City council member Mitzner told the county commission passenger rail service is expanding across the nation and he and fellow council member James Clendenin believe Wichita could be a part of that expansion, especially considering there is existing unused rail infastructure downtown.
A government-backed research panel says the Department of Homeland Security should continue with its plans for a bio-security lab in Kansas but consider ways to reduce costs.
A study released by the National Research Council Friday says the need for the $1.14 billion National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan hasn’t diminished since the project was first conceived.
But the council says Homeland Security has options: It could continue with the current plan, reduce the size and scope of the project and distribute its work among research centers around the country.
An update of the proposed 2013-2014 budget was presented to Wichita City council members Tuesday. The plan includes eliminating 37 positions to help balance the budget.
The 37 jobs slated to be cut include 19 vacant positions in the Office of Central Inspection, and 10 in engineering. Also, eight police positions will be eliminated including seven grant-funded police officers plus another police position, a civilian working in parking enforcement.
City Manager Robert Layton says the plan is to move these workers into other positions.
Preparations are underway for tax changes next year. Kansas Department of Revenue staff is working this summer to write the new rules and regulations that will guide the agency as it implements a sweeping series of cuts to the state’s income tax system.
Secretary Nick Jordan says the agency is meeting with accountants and lawyers to discuss the new law and write the policies that will govern how taxes are collected for individuals and businesses.