The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 25, 2001 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Page 1
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Fire safety PAGE B1 the WEDNESDAY APRIL 25, 2001 SALINA, KANSAS Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 50 cents Asparagus tips PAGE CI T STATE BUDGET Graves proposes $ 117 million tax hike Governor's plan includes an increase of the state sales tax to 5.1 percent By JOHN HANNA The Associated Press TOPEKA — Gov. Bill Graves told legislators Tuesday that "adjustments must be made" and recommended $117.6 million in tax increases to help fill a hole in the state budget. Graves proposed raising the state sales tax to 5.1 percent from the current 4.9 percent; adding 10 cents to the per-pack price of cigarettes; and imposing higher taxes on some insurance companies and on the wealth inherited by non-blood relatives. The changes would take effect when the state's new fiscal year begins July 1. Coupled with other steps, such as more vigorous collection of delinquent taxes, Graves' plan would raise more than enough money to close the $206 million gap between expected revenues and the spending he already has signed into law for fiscal 2002. The fresh revenue also would boost aid to public schools by $60 million above the $67 million increase in spending already approved and would put nearly $10.8 million extra into the budget for higher education. "Regardless of past policy deci- GRAVES sions, when revenues are less than projected, adjustments must be made — it is that simple," Graves said in a letter to legislators. The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene today to wrap up its business for the year. Both the House and Senate expect to debate budget issues Thursday. Graves outlined his proposals one day after the House Appropriations Committee produced its own budget- fixing plan, which does not include a tax increase. He noted taxes were cut dramatically during his first term in office. "To annually recapture a small part of that to ensure fiscal soundness and important services to Kansans is not unreasonable," Graves wrote. At a news conference. Budget Direc­ tor Duane Goossen stressed the ideas Graves borrowed from competing budget-fixing plans drawn up by the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees, such as stepping up the collection of delinquent taxes. "A good share of what the governor is proposing is already in one or the other, the House or Senate plan," Goossen said. Tax increase not popular Senate President Dave Kerr agreed. The Senate plan includes the same $10 million increase in insurance taxes, which Kerr and other senators view as a correction of a flaw. But Kerr added: "I'm hopeful we don't have to do anything that raises a general tax." House Republicans continued to insist no tax increase will pass their chamber. "They're not in the mood to raise taxes under any circumstances," said Rep. Doug Mays, R-Topeka. Democrats believe a tax increase is possible, but they wouldn't commit to the Graves plan. On Monday, Graves signed into law a bill containing $9.11 billion in spending for fiscal 2002. He did propose $12.1 million in cuts from the appropriations contained in that legislation. But those cuts are more than offset by the additions Graves wants to make to the budget, most notably in spending on public schools. The governor has endorsed a school finance proposal drafted by the Senate Education Committee. Red Cross comes to rescue Salina-based chapter has 22 volunteers in Hoisington By DAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal HOISINGTON — Trucks heaped high with limbs and debris rumbled Tuesday toward the burn pits in a field adjacent to U.S. Highway 281. The smoke and embers wafted across the road past drivers cruising slowly by a sign — "Welcome to Hoisington — Home of the Fighting Cardinals." The sign looked to be one of the few objects relatively unscarred by the ferocious tornado that struck the northeast side of this Barton County community of about 3,000 Saturday evening. Nearby, a brown swatch marked the tornado's path through a field of green wheat. The storm was so powerful, it sucked up the wheat and the topsoil as it went, said American Red Cross volunteer Rick Lynn. For several blocks off the highway, residents spent the day as they have since the disaster, raking up and hauling away the splintered wrecks of homes, as disaster relief agency workers prepared meals and offered assistance and comfort. Helping victims cope with disaster is what agencies such as the American Red Cross are equipped to do, and relief workers have The Associated Press Hoisington City {Manager Alien Dinkei (riglit), wliose iiouse was destroyed by Saturday's tornado, receives condolences Tuesday afternoon from Barton County Commissioner Patty Linsner-Hansen. moved into Hoisington in force. They will stay there for weeks until the situation stabilizes, said Vicktoria Degand, director of the North Central Kansas Chapter of the Red Cross, headquartered in Salina. Degand led a group of Red Cross board members and media on a tour Tuesday of the organization's relief headquarters, which has made its home in the Veteran's of Foreign Wars post in south downtown Hoisington. "We have 22 (volunteers) from our chapter working and six more from our zone," Degand said. Altogether, the agency has 60 to 70 volunteers from around the state helping with the relief effort, she said. See RESCUE, Page A4 T GOLDEN RULE AWARDS Penney awards no longer golden Philanthropic program is cut as company's sales and profits fall By TANA THOMSON The Salina Journal T ED MEESE LECTURE Meese: Voters help select judges TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Ed Meese, former U.S. attorney general, discusses current and past events during Tuesday afternoon's news conference in Pioneer Hall on the Kansas Wesleyan University campus. Former U.S. attorney general now works for 'think tanks' By AMY SULLIVAN Tlw Salina Journal Ed Meese wants the public to pay attention when President Bush nominates federal judges next month. Noting that federal and Supreme Court rulings this past year have dealt with college admissions, employment opportunities, home safety and religion, the former U.S. attorney general believes voters should have a say in who sits on the bench. While Bush will nominate the jurists, they must be confirmed by the Senate. Since • GOP lawmakers are accused of trying to help fill the federal bench with conservatives / Page A3 voters sent the senators to Washington, they should give their opinions on who should fill these judgeships, Meese told an audience of nearly 100 Tuesday night at Kansas Wesleyan University. "Everyone needs to pay attention," Meese said. At 69, he takes this and other messages to people between 60 to 70 times a year. Tuesday's stop was one of about six college lectures scheduled this year He told the Journal Tuesday afternoon he now prefers to speak and spend time working for three "think tanks" to holding a job in the federal government. Between 1985 and 1988, he served as attorney general in President Reagan's administration. Before that, he advised Reagan as president and as California governor, following careers as a prosecutor and law professor. While he's not an official part of the Bush administration, "I still get called upon from time to time for advise," he said. Meese lives in McLean, Va., and works for the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution and the University of London. See MEESE, Page A4 The J.C. Penney Golden Rule Awards, one of the top volunteer awards given out in Salina and one of the few cash-based volunteer awards, has been discontinued. J.C. Penney Co., which sponsored and funded the 11-year-old award, has no plans to reinstate it. The philanthropic program was cut because the company's sales and profits have been down, Tim Lyons, a J.C. Penney spokesman, said from company • headquarters in Piano, Texas.' The company has a store in Salina's Central Mall. The award has split $5,000 a year in Salina among four volunteer categories: Adult, group, education and youth award winners each got $1,000 for their organization, except the youth winner, who got a $500 scholarship and $500 for that person's organization. The award, in recent years,-has been given during National Volunteer Week which is this week. "Our performance on the business end hasn't been spectacular. ... We are not able to sustain the level of giving on all our philanthropic programs as we would have liked," Lyons said. United Way involved The Salina Area United Way coordinated the Golden Rule Awards by creating application forms, recruiting judges and publicizing the event. "We are hopeful as a corporation that it will be possible to do this again in future years," said United Way Director Ruth Ascher. Ascher said the United Way found out in 2000 that Penney's was discontinuing the award. "It's a great program and has been a very generous program," she said. One reason awards were cut was because they weren't given at all of the store's locations. They were handed out in 190 cities. "It was difficult, because it has been a longstanding program and very rewarding for the company," Lyons said. "But it was a significant dollar commitment for us. It came down to a business decision." • Reporter Tana Thomson can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 173. or by e-mail at sjtthomson@salJour WEATHER High: 75 Low: 46 Mostly sunny today vrith light north wind; clear t:onight. PAGE B5 TWo employees of the Farmers Co-op Elevator Association remain in critical condition as the result of an explosion at the elevator. TOMORROW This year's tick season seems to have gotten off to an early and populous beginning. Columnist Chip Miller offers tips on avoiding bites. INSIDE Classified / C2 Comics / B6 Crossword / B6 Deaths / B3 Food / CI Great Plams / 81 Money / D6 Sports / D1 Weather /C8 Viewpoints / A7

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