The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 20, 1996 · Page 3
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 3

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 20, 1996
Page 3
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THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1996 A3 V SUPREME COURT Does state tax law discriminate? Kansas Supreme Court to hear arguments that married people are favored by income tax rate By The Associated Press TOPEKA — Does Kansas discriminate against single taxpayers by making them pay a higher individual income tax rate than married couples who file joint returns? That question goes before the state Supreme Court for oral arguments by attorneys on Thursday. State officials are watching the case closely because it carries giant budget implications if the state were to lose. It is one of 27 cases the court will hear Monday through Friday. It will release opinions Friday morning on cases heard in September and earlier. Eric Peden, an attorney who formerly lived in Johnson County and now lives in Kansas City, Mo., filed a lawsuit in April 1993 alleging the dual rate income tax system in Kansas — started in 1988 — represents unconstitutional discrimination. Under present law, single taxpayers pay 4.4 percent on the first $20,000 of taxable income; 7.5 percent on the next $10,000 and 7.75 percent on income over $30,000. Married couples filing jointly pay 3.5 percent on the first $30,000 of taxable income; 6.25 percent on the next $30,000, and 6.45 percent on income over $60,000. Judge Matthew Dowd of Shawnee County District Court agreed with Peden in a September 1994 ruling, declaring the state's income tax code violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. and state constitutions. Dowd also certified the case as a class action in an order issued in November 1995. The class consists of all unmarried individuals who have paid at a higher rate than marrieds filing joint returns, starting in tax year 1988. State officials have estimated that if the Supreme Court upholds Dowd and orders the state to tax both married and single taxpayers at the same rate in the future — but not providing refunds for past years — it will cost the state $50 million to $55 million annually in lost revenue. If the court decides the state should refund the extra taxes single taxpayers paid during the past three years — because there is a state law that seems to limit retroactivity to three years — it could cost the state $150 million or more. If the Supreme Court agrees with Dowd and orders refunds back to 1988, it could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, fiscal experts estimate. The state in 1994 settled for $58 million a case brought by military veterans who had their federal pensions taxed by the state, even though the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the vets had no case because they didn't exhaust their administrative remedies before suing. The Legislature agreed to the settlement as a hedge against the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ordering a much more expensive refund. The court will also hear the murder convictions of: • Olander J. Hickles III, who is serving a "hard-40" life sentence for first-degree murder in the August 1994 stabbing death of Earl Whetstone in a Parsons residence. • Joseph H. Brady IV, serving two hard-40 life sentences for the murder of Bill Flynn and Julia Wilcox, who were shot to death in January 1995 in their Kansas City, Kan., home. • LaJuan E. demons, serving a hard-40 life sentence for the May 1993 slaying of Lansing Correctional Facility officer Mark Avery, when officers were attacked by inmates wielding socks containing pool table balls and lead weights. T OAKLEY BRIEFLY Cab robbery nets $10 and pack of cigarettes ] A robber made off with $10 and b pack of cigarettes after holding .lip a cab driver Friday night in the 1600 block of Beverly Drive. j The robbery occurred at 8:12 p.m. Shane Hyman, 27, was driving for City Cab when he was tailed to pick up k man at a bar at B49 N. Santa Fe, said Salina Police Investigator $ean Morton. j The man want- J3d to be taken to ;1705 Beverly, which was later Determined to be ^-nonexistent address. When the cab reached the 1600 block of Beverly, the man told Hyman he had a gun and threatened to shoot him if he didn't hand over the money. Hyman did so, and the man fled the cab with the cash and cigarettes. Hyman told police he did not see the gun. The robber was described as a Hispanic male, 25 to 30 years old, about 5 feet tall, weighing 130 pounds, with black hair. He was wearing blue jeans, a white T- shirt, a black baseball cap and spoke little English. 1,700 workers in KC to be laid off Monday KANSAS CITY — About 1,700 workers at the General Motors Fairfax assembly plant won't return to work Monday because of a parts shortage caused by the GM strike in Canada. Employees on the plant's second shift, representing about half the hourly work force, will be laid off indefinitely as of Monday, Jim Russell, president of United Auto Workers Local 31, said Friday. The Fairfax plant produces the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and the Pontiac Grand Prix. While several GM parts plants in the United States have closed because of the Canada strike, the Fairfax plant would be only the second assembly plant affected. A Detroit plant that produces Cadillacs closed Monday. The two sides began round-the- clock negotiations Friday night, hoping to reach a settlement by noon Monday. The talks were the first between negotiators since the union struck GM in Canada Oct. 2. Accord reached in discrimination case OVERLAND PARK — A company that provides imprint services in the preparation of government credit cards has settled allegations of race discrimination in hiring. The Labor Department's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., announced Friday that Multi Service Inc. of Overland Park signed a conciliation agreement with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The agreement provides $80,678 in back pay and interest to 159 minority applicants for entry level clerical positions. The company also agreed to make job offers to up to 24 of those individuals in )an effort to hire eight of them. i From Staff and Wire Reports £ I \line When you need to know. Tomorrow's Headlines 825-6000 Category 6006 (Call altar 7:30 p.m.) The Associated Press Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (left), U.S. House candidate Jerry Moran (center), and state Sen. Don Steffes attend a fund-rafser for Moran on Saturday evening at the Rolling Hills Ranch, northwest of Salina. 'It's been fun/ says Kassebaum While attending fund-raiser, senator predicts GOP will maintain control of Congress By DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal Nancy Kassebaum looked around Charlie Walker's Rolling Hills Ranch, at the red, white and blue ribbons on the ceiling, the plates of food and the men in suits, and sighed. "It's been a lot of fun," she said during a Republican fund-raiser Saturday for Jerry Moran, candidate for the 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives. "I see a lot of people here who helped me when I needed them for my campaigns." Kassebaum plans to go to fund-raisers and help Republicans when she retires in January, but that doesn't mean she doesn't get a bit sentimental. She also looks at the U.S. Senate races "I think the low turnout will actually help the Republicans, but you want a large turnout because you want people involved." Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Kansas senator, discussing the upcoming elections across the nation with a bit of concern. "Some of them are pretty close," she said. "I think the low turnout will actually help the Republicans, but you want a large turnout because you want people involved." A few candidates — mostly notably in the races between Senate candidates Jill Docking and Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts and Sally Thompson — already have sharpened their knives. Kassebaum looks at the negative campaigning with dismay. "It's not healthy," she said. "We talk about it every election cycle, and I think it turns people off more than anything." Kassebaum, of course, predicted the Republicans would retain control of the House and Senate, but she wasn't quite as confident about her colleague Bob Dole. She wore a gold Bob Dole pin on her scarf. "People feel a bit better off now than they did four years ago," she said. "I don't think there's a lot of enthusiasm all around because there's nothing to fire them up. I think people say, 'It's going OK, we don't want to rock the boat.' So there's a lack of vitality." , But Kassebaum, unlike some Republicans, refused to blame Dole's campaign. "It's nothing in the election that can help that," she said. "I don't think people are really enthused about President Clinton's leadership as well." T EDUCATION PTA seeking 'soccer moms' — and dads Oakley football player dies Quarterback collapses on sideline, pronounced dead at county hospital By DAN ENGLAND Tlie Salina Journal National president-elect encourages local groups to be a little more flexible By DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal The frazzled, hurried, errand- a-minute working mothers — popularly known as "soccer moms"— have grabbed national headlines in this year's election. So where does that leave the PTA? "We're encouraging local organizations to include working parents," said Lois Jean White, national PTA president-elect who will become president in June. White was in Salina for a state PTA convention at the Holiday Inn. There's "Donuts for Dad" and "Muffins for Mom" — meetings they can attend before they go to work. Then there are potluck dinners, and the PTA is working with businesses to be more flexible so the parent can attend school events during the day. "We've had a bit of a decline in membership, but I think it has to do with the fact that all people think we do is raise funds, as well as (an increase in) working parents," White said. "We do need to raise funds because the local governments aren't putting in the funds they should. But I think that can be discouraging to a parent at times." Local membership is important to the PTA because, many times, local input sets the nation- al agenda as to what the organization lobbies for, White said. "Everything we do in terms of legislative efforts comes from our own grass roots," she said. . Debbie Taylor, a former Sali- nan in her second year as state president, said some state issues that concerned her were her opposition to school vouchers — she would like the money to stay in public schools — and making sure that legislative financing is adequate. But she wasn't willing to say she would fight to protect the 35-mill property-tax levy that some Kansas legislators have tried to eliminate. "There's a lot of talk that that would be the beginning of the end," Taylor said. "I don't know how they would replace it if they took it away." Taylor, who encourages parents to get involved through PTA educational classes, said she would like to see "the child made a priority by the government." "Sometimes I don't believe they actively look at how everything affects the children," she said. Melanie Stavropoulos, president of Salina PTA Council, said one of the focuses of her organization was gang awareness. A gang awareness seminar will take place in November. ' to» said membership is in, b«t meetings are being held in the evening and at other times to include working parents. "We've made some allowances," she said. "The big thing we're concerned about is gang violence. I think we all need to increase our awareness." OAKLEY — It was supposed to be a busy Saturday for Oakley High School students. The Northwest Kansas League championships for volleyball and cross- country were scheduled, as was a debate tournament, but no one went. One of the school's more popular students, Kevin Zimmerman, a quarterback and defensive back on the Oakley football team, died suddenly during the football game Friday night against Hoisington. Zimmerman came off the field in the fourth quarter with about five minutes left in the game and told his coaches he needed to be replaced. He then collapsed and was taken to the Logan County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The hospital wouldn't release the cause of death. "He came to the sideline and said he wasn't feeling well," said Jim Keenan, the school's athletic director. "Then he was gone." Zimmerman lettered in track, football and basketball and was an all-state honorable mention for defensive back. "He had the desire to perform," Keenan said. "You wish you had a dozen like him so you could produce a super team. He tried to be a leader by showing others to work hard, but he didn't want any of the glory." It has been a tough year for the Oakley football team. Its assistant coach, Charles "Bud" Ward, died from cancer a week ago. Keenan said counseling would be available for the 195 students that attend Oakley High School and the students would be able to go to the funeral Tuesday. Bill Korf, pastor of the St. Joseph Church in Oakley, called Zimmerman "one of the finest young men in Oakley." "He was a top-notch kid," Korf said. "We lost a good one out there." The championships would have been too difficult to go to so soon after the game, Korf said. "It wasn't much fun around the kids," he said. "The kids just couldn't go. They loved Kevin. It's a sad state of affairs." T MISS AMERICA Holland parades in Pratt Controversy surrounding Miss America is MIA in Main Street parade By The Associated Press PRATT — Miss America Tara Dawn Holland rolled down Main Street Saturday before 2,500 fans who gathered for a glimpse of the home-state girl who made good. Absent was the controversy that had dogged Holland in recent days, after some Kansas residents and newspaper editorials pointed out that Holland had unsuccessfully tried three times for the Miss Florida title before she moved to Overland Park a year ago. Holland was joined Saturday by two other Miss Kansas winners who went on to become Miss America — Deborah Bryant, 1966, and Debra Barnes, 1968. Also attending the parade were Gov. Bill Graves, current Mjss Kansas Jennifer Parks, and Miss America 1996 finalists Miss Alabama, Miss Louisiana, Miss Missouri and Miss Indiana. The parade was put together hastily, organizers said. "After she won, we waited around and then the Miss America people just call you and tell you she's coming on this week, you'd batter get ready," said organizer Bruce Givens. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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