The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 3, 1986 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

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Friday, January 3, 1986
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Local/Kansas The Salina Journal Friday, January 3,1986 Page 3 State money problems will dominate '86 session . TOPEKA (AP) - Every meeting of the Kansas Legislature develops into a battle over bucks, but the 1986 session will be different. Rather than fighting over how state tax dollars will be spent, the central issue will be whether lawmakers will adopt the first general tax increase in two decades. Gov. John Carlin has set the stage by preparing two budget options for consideration when the Legislature convenes Jan. 13. In the process, he's renewing a request from last year that the state sales tax be increased to generate $190 million in new revenue. If approved, Carlin's proposal would rival the tax-minded 1983 Legislature, which holds the record as the most prolific tax-passing session in history. That year, lawmakers adopting a tax package that resulted in Kansans paying $198.8 million more in levies on energy production, income and purchases of motor fuel, liquor and cigarettes. The previous record of $62.9 million set in 1965 looked pale in comparison. In 1965, lawmakers adopted a half-cent sales tax Suit tiled to spare building By CAROL LICHTI Staff Writer A Salina attorney filed a lawsuit Thursday for an injunction against the city of Salina to stop condemnation proceedings involving the building where he leases an office. A hearing on D.E. Watson's request for the injuction to prevent the city from razing the Great Plains Building, 119 S. Seventh, as part of a downtown revitalization plan, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday before Saline County District Court Judge David Knudson. Knudson Thursday denied Watson's request for an immediate restraining order to stop the city from proceeding with appraisals and other steps in the condemnation process. The order denying the immediate restraints stated that time was not of the essence. The Great Plains Building is one of several properties in the downtown area that the city has filed condemnation suits against as part of the planned renovation of the downtown business district. The condemnation proceedings are the next step in the $6.5 million revitalization plan. The property is being acquired to make room for about 290 to 350 off- street parking spaces, the construction of arcades and crosswalks, street improvements, landscaping, weather shelters and other improvements. Watson states in the suit that the purpose for acquiring the property is for private, not public use. The city has the power of eminent domain to take private property for public use, after paying the owner just compensation. Watson's suit states the property will be used to provide parking for private businesses on Santa Fe Avenue. The suit claims it's unlawful, in bad faith, fraudulent and discriminatory for the city to take the property for that purpose. The injunction request says the city "owns ample parking lots on the west side of South Seventh" upon which the city "could construct multiple story parking areas and spaces." That action, the suit says, would cost less than acquiring the other property. Watson has spoken at numerous city commission meetings about the downtown plan in attempts to save the Great Plains Building. On Dec. 19 Knudson ruled the city had the power of eminent domain over the property and appraisers were appointed to determine the value of the property and buildings involved in the condemnation suit. Besides the Great Plains Building, other properties involved in condemnation suits are three buildings in the 100 block of North Seventh owned by Star B Inc., and the former Wehmeier's Bakery in the 100 block of South Santa Fe. Turnpike death toll hits all-time low TOPEKA, (AP) — The Kansas Turnpike Authority reported Thursday that only nine lives were lost on its 236-mile highway in 1985 — the lowest fatality rate ever recorded in its 30-year history. Nick Badwey, KTA chairman, said the fatality record is impressive because it came in a year when there were more miles traveled and more vehicles driven on the turnpike than ever before. The KTA operates a toll road from Kansas City, Kan., in the east to South Haven, near the Oklahoma border in south-central Kansas. In 1984, there were 17 deaths recorded from wrecks on the turnpike. increase which was proposed by then-Gov. William Avery. It was the last general statewide tax hike approved by the Legislature. The '83 record included passage of: a mineral severance tax on oil and natural gas production which generated $97 million; an upper-bracket income tax change which produced $42 million; and a 2-cent gasoline tax hike which raised $35 million for highway repair the first year. However, the piecemeal approach did not include a tax boost to the general public. Carlin is trying to find a remedy to the financial doldrums afflicting the state economy and he believes increasing the current 3 percent sales tax to 4 percent, causing a $190 million injection into tax coffers, is the best cure for Kansas' economic malaise. Slumping tax collections have left the state general revenue fund wanting, and financial experts predict Kansas' economy will continue to sag and threatens to cause dangerous cash-flow problems without action. The experts have warned Carlin and lawmakers they will have $132.6 million less than expected to fund state government in the next 18 months. For the current fiscal year, income is expected to drop $55 million below projections while income next fiscal year, beginning July 1, now is expected to dip $77.5 million below original forecasts. It seems to be a repeat of 1982 when actual income plunged $47 million short of expectations and Carlin was forced to implement immediate budget cuts of 4 percent to save $28.6 million and prevent a deficit in the general fund. In a second round of 4 percent cuts later that year, Carlin sliced another $21.1 million using an allotment system on spending, a freeze on most travel by state workers and cutdowns on hiring of new employees. The Democratic governor now says he won't let the state bank account again be drained and he has given lawmakers two relatively unattractive alternatives: they can cut $35 million, or 2 percent, from current spending levels; or they can raise taxes, specifically the sales tax, and provide needed revenue to shore up the faltering economy. Neither option is welcomed by the 165 members of the Legislature. Raising taxes is never popular, especially in a year such as 1986 when all 125 House seats are up for reelection and two key Republicans — House Speaker Mike Hayden and Senate President Robert V. Talkington — are mulling their chances of winning the GOP nomination for governor next fall. But the idea of cutting current spending by $35 million also is foreign to the legislative process. "In the legislative message I will officially declare what I've said publicly, that I do not believe the budget is adequate for the state, and that I believe a sales tax increase is the best way to raise additional revenue, and a penny increase will raise enough and here's what I propose to do with it," Carlin said recently. Without new money, the balances in the general fund will dip to $50 million on June 30, 1986 — much lower than the $90 million considered by experts as the safe minimum balance. Under Carlin's bare-bones budget, which he will submit to the 1986 Legislature, he proposes devoting the $35 million saved by spending cuts to shore up balances. "It will still be a very austere budget, even with the sales tax revenue," he said. "I'm putting a very tight (state employee) turnover in the base budget. It's going to force administrators to very selectively replace retirees." A different picture emerges if the sales tax is increased. In the first year, Carlin projects the state would collect an extra $190 million which would be used for a variety of programs. Carlin proposes building the balances up to $120 million. Then, in the 1988 fiscal year, he would use the $210 million collected from a full year of the sales tax increase, to build balances to $140 million. ToinDort*y FTODLIN' AROUND — Unable to carry her instrument home, Jenny Strifler, 10, waits for her mother to pick her up after school. Finney requests that Kassebaum investigate firm's plane purchase TOPEKA (AP) — State Treasurer Joan Finney on Thursday asked U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum to investigate a Wichita-based commuter airline's recent purchase of 10 passenger airplanes, at a cost of $48 million, from a Brazilian manufacturing firm. In a letter disclosed to the news media, Finney asked Kassebaum, R- Kan., to investigate the propriety of the purchase by Air Midwest Inc. of Wichita. Finney says in the letter, dated Dec. 19, that the purchase hurt the American airplane manufacturing industry and she worried that U.S. tax dollars might be inadvertantly supporting Brazilian airplane manufacturing through American subsidies paid to Air Midwest. "It is possible that United States tax dollars have found their way into this subsidized purchase to the disadvantage of American manufacturers and workers, many of whom are located and pay taxes in Kansas?" Finney asked Kassebaum. Kassebaum is chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aviation. Dave Bartel, administrative as- "It's a serious problem and a frustrating one which has been around about 10 years and is growing worse." —Dave Bartel sistant to Kassebaum, said the problem of American airlines buying foreign planes is not new, but is growing more serious. Although Finney's letter had not arrived Thursday, Bartel said Kassebaum would look into the matter. "It's a serious problem and a frustrating one which has been around about 10 years and is growing worse," Bartel said. "The Brazilian government has created an airplane manufacturing which it funds and protects by keeping American planes out with high tariffs. "Then it ships its planes here and undercuts the prices of American manufacturers. "We've argued with the Commerce Department, the special trade representative and others about Brazil's tactics and we're working on it." However, he said eliminating the subsidies Air Midwest receives would only hurt the Kansas towns now served by the airline. Air Midwest Inc., which has its corporate headquarters in Wichita, announced in November it would purchase the 30-seat turbo prop airplanes from Embraer, of Brazil, beginning in April 1986. Brian Schoenthaler, staff vice president and spokesman for the airline, said it was "a matter of economics" that forced his company to look outside of Kansas, and the United States, for a fleet of planes to suit their needs. His company serves 52 cities in 15 states, including a dozen Kansas towns: Wichita, Topeka, Hutchinson, Salina, Manhattan, Parsons, Goodland, Hays, Great Bend, Garden City, Dodge City and Liberal. Legislators, school officials to discuss education funding By DAVID CLOUSTON ,}, Staff Writer The funding of education is expected to be discussed this weekend and early next week when school administrators and members of Salina's National Education Association meet with some area legislators. The No. 1 issue confronting legislators this year is state revenue, but geared to that discussion is the question of school finance, said Sen. Ben Vidricksen, R-Salina. Under his so-called "bare bones" budget, Gov. John Carlin has proposed to cut $35 million from state spending unless a 1-cent sales tax increase is approved. The state's school districts would not be allowed to increase their budgets at all for 1986-87 if they are above the median in per-pupil expenditures and would be permitted only a 2 percent budget increase if below the median. That is not something lawmakers should let happen, Vidricksen said. "Nobody likes to raise taxes but we can't let our educational system go backwards," he said. "I don't see any other choice but some type of revenue enhancement." Rep. Larry Turnquist, D-Salina, said he sees more support for a state sales tax increase than for other revenue options, such as parimutuel wagering or a state lottery. Turnquist, however, was noncommittal about his education support plans. "I make very, very few promises that I'm going to support anything before the session begins," he said. Turnquist said he expects education to be at the forefront of the session in terms of finances. Rep. Elaine Hassler, R-Abilene, agrees. "Education issues will get used as a tool in the discussion of finances," she said. Salina School Board members and administrators will meet with Vid- ricksen, Turnquist, and Reps. Jayne Aylward and Bob Ott, both R-Salina, at an 8 a.m. breakfast Saturday at the Holiday Inn, 453 S. Broadway. Vidricksen Turnquist Board President Steve Ascher said district officials want the school finance formula changed to place less reliance on income when figuring state aid. Salina school administrators say the change would bring more state aid to Salina and school districts of similar size, which are penalized by having populations with high incomes but little taxable industry. Hassler, Ott, Vidricksen and State Board of Education member Theodore Von Fange, Lindsborg, will meet with Salina area NEA members at a legislative dinner at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Cavalier Court Restaurant, 12th and Broadway. State NEA representative Don Anderson said he doesn't expect significant increases in money for education in 1986. He expects parts of NEA's blueprint for education in the state to remain unfulfilled, he said. Eighteen percent average salary raises, advocated by NEA this year to bring Kansas teacher salaries up to national averages, likely will have to wait, he predicts. "It depends whether the people of the state of Kansas and their legislators want to maintain the quality of life in the state," Anderson said. "If they want to stick their head in the sand and say we can't do this or can't afford this, nothing's going to happen." Based upon past year's functions, Anderson said he expects legislators meeting with NEA members to reserve their own opinions in favor of hearing what the teachers have to say. "They (legislators) are generally conservative," he said. Tobacco company ads use William Allen White LAWRENCE (AP) — Would William Allen White have opposed a new policy forbidding smoking in the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services offices? The Philip Morris company thinks so. The tobacco company paid for full-page advertisements that ran Monday in the Lawrence Journal- World, the Manhattan Mercury and the Topeka Capital-Journal. The Philip Morris ad said the nationally famous Kansas journalist would probably ask, "Is this Kansas or Kiev? " And the company's ad said the SRS non-smoking policy "must have William Allen White spinning in his grave. His editorials in his Emporia Gazette reflected the sturdy conscience of Kansas." White's autobiography shows that White didn't smoke, on the advice of his father, who the younger White described as being addicted to tobacco. And the managing editor of the Emporia Gazette said White's family established a no-smoking policy, except in the employee lounge, at the newspaper about five years ago. David Smith, director of communications at Philip Morris USA in New York City, seemed to be caught off guard when told that White was a non-smoker and the Gazette has its own non-smoking off ice policy. "I didn't know that," Smith said. But Smith said whether White was a smoker had nothing to do with the issue of the SRS policy. "I don't think that is germaine to the issue. We're talking about dignity and freedom, not smoking." Smith said what was more significant than White's personal views on smoking was White's philosophy favoring personal freedom and the absence of state control. "We think that's more important," he said. The policy Philip Morris objects to took effect Wednesday. SRS is the only Kansas state agency with a no-smoking policy, said SRS Secretary Robert Harder, although some other state agencies allow smoking only in designated areas.

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