Goals

Here are my goals for keeping Kansas a great state and the best reasons for them – our children and grandchildren.

jc moore election 2018_8117

Park city Parade

  • Restore fiscal responsibility to Kansas (Read more)
  • Develop an equitable tax plan ( More … )
  • Properly fund education ( More … )
  • Pay retirement fund obligations ( More … )
  • Fund the new Eisenhower infrastructure  plan (More)
  • Fund maintenance on roads, T-Works ( Read more )
  • Expand Kancare for 150,000 Kansans ( More … )
  • Protect voter’s rights ( More …)
  • Reduce sales tax on food  (Read more)
  • Change the Legislature’s Rules (More)
  • Regulate factory farms ( More…}
  • Harvest our renewable energy resources ( More …)

Other Articles:

https://jcmooreforkansas.org/2020/07/10/the-problems-with-cafos/

The Problems with CAFO’S

With a tremendous amount of work, the “No Tyson” organizations in Sedgwick County, Haysville, and Clearwater were able to keep Tyson from building a factory farm in District 93. We should all be grateful for several reasons:

They distort state politics.

“I can understand why they want to be free of regulations and scrutiny, but I cannot understand why we should let them.” That is a quote from Drew Edmondson, the former Atty. Gen. of Oklahoma, who sued Tyson for polluting the scenic rivers of Eastern Oklahoma. Tyson responded by pouring tens of thousands of do;;ars into elections to defeat Edmonson and elect an attorney general (Scott Pruitt) and a governor who were less concerned about pollution. Tyson now wants to expand their business into Kansas, and the Kansas Legislators were amenable to “letting them”.

The 2017 Kansas Legislature, after intense lobbying by Tyson, passed SB 405, which changed the animal conversion rate, i.e., the number of chickens whose manure weight equals that from one cow, from 0.008, the normal value, to 0.003. That small change had big consequences. The result of that bill is that now a chicken farm may house 330,000 chickens, and it may be placed within 1/4 of a mile of neighboring houses and within 100 feet of the neighbor’s property line. Would you want a chicken farm that close?

They harm the surrounding communities. 

The chicken farms and the processing plant would bring a influx of workers into the area. The surrounding cities would have to supply the infrastructure to support the farms. They would need additional water resources, housing, roads, schools, and sewage treatment plants. The chicken manure would pollute the streams and the ammonia, odors, and bacteria produced by the farms would endanger the environment for the local residents.

They are bad for the workers and the chicken farmers.

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The workers in the processing plants stand shoulder to shoulder and perform the same operations all day long. They are often poorly paid and often work overtime to make ends meet. As they found in Oklahoma, the farmers who raise the chickens are sometimes not treated much better. The farmers often have to borrow to build million dollar chicken barns, but Tyson controls everything. They provide the baby chickens, they deliver the feed, and they control what the farmers are paid for the chickens. Farmers who don’t play ball with Tyson may find themselves cut out of the business and bankrupt.

They are bad for the chickens.

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The chickens are confined so closely that they can hardly move, and are given antibiotics to control disease. The antibiotics residues left in the meat are not good for consumers. And, such overuse of antibiotics results in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

As Dr. Temple Grandin said about the ethical treatment of animals, “If we’re going to eat animals, we should treat them  humanely and with respect while they are alive and give them a painless death. “ Do you think the chickens in the photo are treated humanely?

They are bad for the environment.

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Nutrients from waste cause fish kills

Besides the damage to the local environment, waste from the chicken farms end up in streams and rivers, and affect everyone down stream. The waste has E. coli and other bacteria and is laden with nitrates and phosphates. The extra nutrients cause algae blooms and oxygen depletion which causes fish kills. The wastes have even been linked to dead zones in the oceans.

 

There should be a law.

Kansas needs legislation for home rule, whereby county residents would have the right to file petitions against industrial-agricultural chicken operations and have a county-wide vote. Help elect people who will make that happen.

My Goals for 2021

Thank you for electing me to be your Representative. My Campaign priorities were fiscal responsibility, school funding, infrastructure improvements, and quality healthcare for all Kansans. Here are some of the things I helped accomplish:

Kansas ended 2019 with a budget surplus.

The courts ruled school funding was adequate and equitable.

We passed the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan, a $10 Bln, 10 year plan to improve Kansas’s infrastructure.

We passed the Farm Bureau Healthcare Plan which will help 25,000 Kansans.

Received a commitment from K-State to keep the Pair Research Facility open.

Helped dozens of constituents with problems ranging from oil well leaks to help with unemployment insurance, PUA, and PPP benefits.

The 2020 Legislative session was cut short by the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving much unfinished business and a projected budget shortfall of $1.3 bln. Here is what the 2021 Legislative session needs to do:

Fiscal Responsibility. We must make smart budget cuts which will maintain essential services yet continue programs necessary for Kansas to prosper.

Schools. Tobacco Settlement Funds need to be shifted to allow more funding for early childhood education. The school funding formula should be changed to provide more state aid for new buildings without property tax increases. School bus stop sign laws need to be improved and enforced.

Incarceration. It cost $35,000 a year to keep someone in prison. That money could much better be spent on job training and rehabilitation. The Smart Justice Initiative, which is sponsored by such diverse groups as the ACLU and Americans for Prosperity, will greatly cut the incarceration rate and save the state millions of dollars.

Insurance. The Insurance Committee I am on is working on bills to limit co-pays for insulin and other life-saving drugs. Regulations and disclosure on pharmaceutical middleman can save up to 50% on some prescriptions. Road blocks need to be removed so that people can more easily access mental health care through their health insurance.

Medicaid Expansion. Expanding Medicaid would insure 150,000 working Kansans and bring $800 million of our tax dollars back to Kansas each year. For it to pass, it must have amendments to trigger cancellation of the program if the federal match falls below 90% or if any of the money were to be use to fund abortions.

Do your part. Please Vote. You may register and request mail-in ballots at the website KSVotes.org

Change the Legislature’s Rules

Although we usually pass 80 or 90 bills each session, only 9 bills were passed in the 2020 session. This was in part due to the COV ID– 9 virus this session, but also because of a perennial problem with inefficient legislative rules. Those need to be updated.

The 2020 legislative session was characterized mostly by what did not happen. The Governor’s initiative to reorganize the Department of Child and Family and to create an Independent Energy Office failed, and several good pieces of legislation were not brought to a vote. The legislature adjourned early because of the threat of the COVI D-19 Virus and met again only for a Special Session to address the COVID-19 Virus response. On the bright side, the Legislature did pass legislation to address the Virus threat, a transportation plan, and a budget.

The legislation below passed and has been signed into law:

SB27 – provides for a maximum of 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits and compensation for the pre-payment waiting period. Under previous law, the number of weeks for which a worker may claim benefits was capped and workers must wait for a week prior to making a claim. The bill grants to workers an additional week’s benefit upon the completion of the third week of unemployment after the waiting week.

SB66 – provides appropriations and adjusted funding for fiscal year 2020 and 2021 for state agencies and FY 2020 and FY 2021 capital improvement expenditures for a number of state agencies.

SB102 –  Allows the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court to extend or suspend deadlines or time limitations to secure the health and safety of court users, staff and judicial officers in provides the court may use electronic audio-visual communication (videoconferencing). 

SB142 – clarifies the authority of the State Board of Education to grant waivers to the minimum number of school hours required each school year. It stipulated that schools teachers and staff should be paid and that they should find alternate ways to educate the children outside of school. It was left to the local teachers to decide how best to do it as some schools have Internet, laptops, mail, or perhaps can meet in small groups if considered safe. It also provided pay for hourly employees, paraprofessionals, and custodial employees during any school shutdown due to the disaster.

SB155 – deannexes all of the City of Valley Center territory within the Hillside Cemetery District, located in Sedgwick and Harvey counties, from the cemetery district.

HB2168 – expands the base of the hospital provider assessment and extends the quality care assessment imposed on skilled nursing care facilities.

HB2595 – eliminates the 30-day delay before offering state surplus property for sale to the general public. Current law allows the Surplus Property Program to sell state surplus property to the general public only after the property has been offered to qualified individuals and entities for at least 30 days.

SB173 – creates the 10 year Eisenhower Legacy Transportation plan. The bill requires at least $8 million to be spent in each county through fiscal year 2030, and allocates a percent of sales tax for the State Highway Fund. It includes a rural broadband fund and provides for the following types of programs in accordance with new or continuing law:

● An aviation program to provide assistance for planning, constructing, reconstructing, or rehabilitating the facilities of public use general aviation airports;

● Public transit programs to aid elderly persons, persons with disabilities, and the general public;

● A transportation technology program to provide for multimodal transportation-related projects that support innovative technology; and

● A multimodal program to provide improvement assistance for bike facilities ,pedestrian facilities, or other transportation-sensitive economic opportunities on a local or a regional basis.

HB2016 – creates the bipartisan COVID-19 response bill, containing essential provisions that will allow us to continue to deliver critical health and economic services to communities and businesses throughout the state during the pandemic. It provides the Legislature with the ability to more effectively engage in oversight while the Legislature is not in session while Governor Kelly retains the emergency authority to act as needed during the pandemic.

A key provision extends the current emergency declaration through September 15, 2020, providing stability and certainty for the state’s ongoing emergency response efforts. Beyond September 15, the State Finance Council may extend the declaration by a vote of 6 legislative members. The bill provides liability protection for medical providers and businesses when the businesses act within the scope of public health requirements.

Hopefully, the 2021 Legislative session will be more productive.

KDOT: The Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan

One of the highlights of the 2020 session was the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan. It replaced the T-Works Transportation Plan, which was a 10 year, $10 billion transportation plan which was passed in 2010. Unfortunately, T-Works ended up $3.1 billion in the hole, and cost about 80,000 jobs, as money was borrowed from that program to shore up the state’s finances.  See: KDOT: How to Really Create Jobs (2018 Version)

The bill, SB173, created the 10 year, $10 billion Eisenhower Legacy Transportation plan. The plan was to be updated every two years to allow for changing circumstances, and it covered many areas of infrastructure besides roads. The bill requires at least $8 million to be spent in each county through fiscal year 2030, and allocates a percent of sales tax for the State Highway Fund. It includes a rural broadband fund and provides for the following types of programs in accordance with new or continuing law:

● An aviation program to provide assistance for planning, constructing, reconstructing, or rehabilitating the facilities of public use general aviation airports;

● Public transit programs to aid elderly persons, persons with disabilities, and the general public;

● A transportation technology program to provide for multimodal transportation-related projects that support innovative technology; and

● A multimodal program to provide improvement assistance for bike facilities, pedestrian facilities, or other transportation-sensitive economic opportunities on a local or a regional basis.

The Eisenhower Plan was designed to make it as difficult as possible for future borrowing from the transportation budget.

It is always nice to receive a little recognition for your work:

Fiscal Responsibility

Trickle

Fiscal responsibility means managing resources effectively and investing for the future. Kansas’s experiment with the trickle-down theory did not work , and it put the state $7.1 billion in debt.  It is time to create an equitable tax structure which takes care of the state’s needs and allows Kansas to pay back the money it has borrowed from the pension funds and the highway funds.

Kansas has borrowed $3.2 billion from KDOT and has been unable repay it. This means we have not had money to invest in new roads, and the infrastructure we have is suffering from deferred maintenance. How can our cities and businesses function with decaying and crumbling infrastructure?

Our citizens’ health is another asset which Kansas has not managed responsibly. Our failure to expand Medicaid has deprived the state of $3.1 billion, which is mostly our money since we paid it in federal taxes. But the greater cost is that 150,000 of our citizens do not have health insurance. This has greatly hurt our hospitals and medical care providers who are often not paid for their services, particularly in rural areas which have seen hospitals and clinics close.

One of the best investments we can make in our future is to educate our children and young adults. The state did not have money to adequately and equitably fund our schools or our universities, leading to devastating budget cuts. The social costs of poor education often show up as increase costs in welfare and our penal system.

Kansas needs to develop a tax structure which will fund our needs, allow investments in our future, and pay off the debts we have accumulated. On a positive note, the Governor has just appointed bipartisan leadership for a committee to study the entire tax structure.

We Must Make Taxes Equitable

In 2012, the Kansas Legislature eliminated Kansas individual income taxes on business income earned by pass-through entities such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and S-corps.  The rationale was that the businesses would use the money to create more jobs and stimulate the economy. It did create jobs for attorneys and accountants, as the 191,000 small businesses it was to help soon proliferated into 330,000 exemptions as businesses rushed to restructure so as to take advantage of the tax break.

The tax cuts did not stimulate the economy as hoped as many companies did not use the money from the pass-through tax cuts to create jobs. The tax cuts did cause a hole in the Kansas budget which grew by about $70 million each month as time went by, eventually reaching $7.1 billion.  Rather than rescind the tax cuts, the legislature  borrowed against KDOT funds, which  cost the state about 80,000 high-paying construction jobs. It also made cuts to programs which actually create jobs, such as in public service, education, and healthcare.

In 2015, the legislature tried to fill the budget hole by passing the largest tax increase in the state’s history. The increases fell mostly on low-income workers and their families, demanding more from those least able to shoulder a higher share of the cost of funding schools, roads, and hospitals.  The 2015 tax increase raised cigarette taxes and sales taxes, increased fees for many government services, and eliminated some tax deductions for property tax and mortgage interest payments. Governor Brownback’s budget director made the case for sales tax hikes by warning that refusal to do so would force another round of stiff cuts to schools funding, Medicaid reimbursements, and criminal justice. Kansas sales taxes are now the 8th highest in the nation and low income workers must pay a larger share of their income to buy necessities and food.

Together, the 2012 tax cuts and 2015 tax increases drove tax rates up for the poorest 20 percent of Kansans, slightly reduced the tax liabilities for middle-class earners, and gave about $20,000 a year back to the richest taxpayers. Does that sound equitable?

Finally, in August of  2017, the Kansas Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Sam Brownback and did away with the LLC loophole. The Legislature also increased Kansas income taxes to form a more equitable tax structure and put the state on a firmer financial basis. However, no provisions were made to repay KDOT or the KPERS funds.

On a positive note, the 2019 budget had a small surplus though it did not pay back most of the money borrowed in the past. This summer, the Governor and the leaders of the House and Senate plan to meet and examine the entire tax structure. The Governor has now appointed  bipartisan leadership for the panel,

We Must Properly Fund Our Schools

School

Kansas has always been known for its excellent schools. One reason is that  school funding is provided for in the Kansas Constitution which says : “the legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.” Kansas schools are a bargain for the taxpayer as Kansas schools rank eighth in the nation in quality while the seven states above Kansas all spend more per pupil than Kansas does. Much of the success is due to the quality and commitment of teachers and educators in Kansas. We must see that they are paid adequately for their services and, just as important, that their services are recognized and appreciated.

Equitable: Kansas’ laws require that school funding be  both equitable and adequate. In 1973, the legislature passed the School District Equalization Act (SDEA)to ensure that students in districts with a low tax base would have as much chance at a quality education as those from richer districts. It also provided property tax relief for districts with a small tax base. The state picks up more of the cost of those schools according to a school funding formula designed to ensure equity. In a challenge to the SDEA in 1992, the court ruled “the duty owed by the Legislature to each child is to furnish him or her with an educational opportunity equal to that owed every other child.”

Inexplicably, in 2015 the Legislature decided to abandon the school funding formula and use a block grant system to fund schools.  That created a Constitutional crisis which could have resulted in the schools being closed. That was resolved in a special session in June where the Legislature came up with $39 million to address the equity issue to the court’s satisfaction.

Adequate: The court was also not satisfied with the adequacy of the funding. In 2018,  lawmakers added $548 million be phased into the state’s $4 billion education budget over the next four years. The court ruled that that was not adequate as it did not allow for inflation. To address that issue, the 2019 legislature added another $90 million per year over the next three years. After that, school funding will  be adjusted annually for inflation by using the CPI. The court accepted this as adequate, and the Gannon school funding lawsuit is for now settled. The court maintained jurisdiction in the case to be sure the Legislature followed through on the funding in future budgets.

Higher education has also been hit by budget cuts. State funding for higher education in Kansas has decreased by 8.6 percent, or nearly $100 million, since 2007-08. In  2016, $16 million was cut from higher education to close a budget gap for that fiscal year. In 2017, a 4% across-the-board budget cut further reduced the higher education budget by another $30.7 million. The 4% percent cut was unwise as it was based,  not just on the state’s support, but on the  schools’ total operating budgets. This cut even more from  the state’s research schools, i.e., KSU, KU, the University of Kansas Medical Center, and the KSU Veterinarian School. This year,  the 2019 Legislature approved an increase of $34.4 million for higher education. That is certainly a step in the right direction but it still does not make up entirely for previous budget cuts.

Kansas’s future: Cuts to colleges and research facilities are never wise. Where will the new ideas come from to improve Kansas’s competitiveness and economy? The Legislature even sold off the Biosciences Research Facility which was to make Kansas a leader in bioscience and genetics research. If we do not fund our colleges properly, where will we get our next generation of scientists, engineers, teachers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs? And, will our next generation of college students b prepared if we do not fund K-12 education properly?

Excellence: Equitable and adequate school funding are not really enough. The Legislature  must make it a priority  that education funding is not only adequate, but at a level to ensure excellence.

Kansas Must Pay Back KPERS

In 2014, Kansas reduced it its contribution to KPERS, the state’s pension system, by $40.7 million. It did this by dropping the employer contribution rate to 9.5 percent from 12.1 percent. KPERS, at that time,  had an unfunded pension liability of $7.4 billion which, before cuts, was projected to go down to zero over the next 20 years.The cut did not affect payments to current retirees, but it meant  that the state wouldn’t be able to pay all it owes in future pensions.

On May 1, 2016, Kansas decided it would delay another $92.6 million in KPERS payments. The money was to to be repaid no later than Oct. 1 with an 8 percent annual interest, which was KPERS’s average rate of return. On May 03, 2016 Moody’s gave Kansas an issuer rating of Aa2 and revised its outlook to negative. The rating is important as it affects the interest rate at which Kansas bonds are issued. Moody’s  Aa2 rating recognized Kansas’ stable tax base and fundamental economic capacity to balance its budget and fund its pension liabilities. The rating also incorporated the state’s financial shortfalls caused in part by large tax cuts, as well as a long history of underfunding its pension plans. The payment to KPERS was not paid in October of 2016 as promised.

The 2019 Legislature made a great step toward repaying KPERS by passing SB 9, which paid $115 million into the pension fund. That repaid  the $92.6 million payment that was deferred in 2016, but required $13 million in accrued interest. The 2019 Legislature also followed through on a $56 million payment which was promised in 2018. Going forward, these payments will save us millions of dollars in interest and shows the state’s dedication to having a solid pension fund.

KDOT: How to Really Create Jobs (2018 Version)

 t-works
Many of Kansas’ failed economic  policies were justified as “creating jobs”. They often had the opposite effect. Kansas’ long tradition of good, safe roads and the thousands of jobs necessary to build and maintain them, was crippled by the diversion of funds from KDOT.
In 2010, the Kansas Legislature enacted a  10year highway/transportation program to ensure job growth, economic development, safety and overall prosperity for our state. The  $8 billion, 10 year  program was funded through a variety of sources, including dedicating four– tenths of a cent in state sales tax to the highway fund and bonds.  About half was to maintain the state highways and half was was targeted for transit, air, rail, and transportation infrastructure.
To plug budget holes caused by the 2012 pass-through tax cuts, the state began“temporary borrowing” from state highway funds. That soon turned into seemingly endless transfers from KDOT to shore up the state’s general fund, as shown in the chart. Eventually, the legislature transferred a total of $2.4 billion from KDOT to plug budget holes. Dr. Michael Babcock, from the Department of Economics at Kansas State University, estimated that for each one million in construction value, 41 jobs are created. As a result, the borrowing from KDOT cost about 130,000 good paying Kansas construction jobs.
The dedicated four– tenths of a cent in state sales tax originally generated $570 million for the highway fund. The Legislature has now restored $378 million from sales tax, but that is certainly not adequate. The 2019 Legislature put an extra registration fee on EVs which is expected to raise about $600,000 annually, which is an insignificant amount. It is also not entirely fair as EV owners pay  in other ways such as sales tax on electricity, additional personal property taxes, and a reduction in pollution and its associated costs. The most reasonable way to fund our roads into the future would be to restore the 0.4 cent in sales tax diverted from KDOT. The Legislature should then  add the additional amount necessary to insure good roads, which would come partly from sales taxes and partly from the additional taxes paid by electric vehicle owners.

We Must Expand Medicaid

Health1

Thirty-seven states have expanded Medicaid, but Kansas has not. Our failure to expand Medicaid has so far cost Kansas $3.4 billion, which is mostly our money since we paid it in federal taxes. But the greater cost is that 150,000 of our working citizens do not have health insurance. This has greatly hurt our working poor, our hospitals and our medical care providers who are often not paid for their services. This has hit rural areas particularly hard as they do not have the resources to make up for the loss. Rural  hospitals and clinics have been forces to close and it is estimated that 30% more are at risk .

The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas has a plan to expand Kancare, Kansas’ Medicaid program. Federal dollars will pay for 90% of the cost and Kansas will be responsible for 10% of the cost, making it a great bargain. If the plan is adopted:

  • It would provide medical care coverage to 150,000 low-income working Kansans who cannot not afford it. They do have enough income to receive subsidies from the Affordable Care Act but make too much to qualify for the present Kancare system.  It would cover preventive medical care and greatly reduce the spread of communicable diseases.
  • It would inject $5.3 billion into our economy in just the first 10 years.Those funds would have a multiplier effect on consumer spending,  business activity,  jobs,  personal income, and  state tax revenue.
  • It would create jobs. A study by George Washington University found that expanding KanCare would create 3,500 – 4,000 new jobs in the next five years.
  • It would cut the unpaid bills for emergency services.  Emergency room care is very expensive compared to preventive care. Emergency rooms are required by law to treat everyone, and those without medical insurance often wait until they are very sick and then go to the emergency room for care. Unreimbursed costs drive up costs for everyone and endanger the financial stability of medical care providers and hospitals.
  • It would reduce bankruptcies.  Many of us are just one major accident or illness away from a bankruptcy. A Harvard study found that about 50% of all bankruptcies in the United States are caused by illness and unpaid medical bills. Bankruptcies affect everyone because the health providers, banks, businesses, and credit card companies who lose money in the bankruptcy pass the cost on to the rest of us.
  • It would improve everyone’s health. Your family’s health depends on the health of everyone in your community. You and your family will likely come into contact with thousands of people during this next year. People without health insurance are much less likely to receive immunizations and preventative care – and are much more likely to have untreated communicable diseases.

Much of the opposition to expanding Medicaid is related to opposition to the Affordable Care Act. A study by the Brooking Institute found that 37 states who have so far expanded Medicaid are satisfied with results  and none wish to withdraw from the program.

The 2019 House of Representatives passed Medicaid expansion by a vote of 69 to 54, and there were enough votes in the Senate to pass it, but the Senate leadership refused to let it come to the floor for a vote.  The Senate leadership promised that they would have a bill ready for vote in January 2020, and we are hoping their word is good. That delay will cost Kansas about  another $665 million. It is time we tapped into the Federal funds available and made health insurance available to the 150,000 Kansans without medical coverage.

 Gov. Kelly and Sen. Denning met over the summer and put together a compromise Medicaid Expansion bill which had 22 cosponsors in the Senate, more than enough to pass it. However, Senate President Susan Wagle,  who opposes Medicaid expansion,  sent sent it  back to a committee whose chairman is also opposed Medicaid expansion. It would have taken 24 votes to bring it back to the Senate for a vote, and so it died in the the committee.

It is likely the makeup of the Senate will change in the next election, making passage more favorable. Unfortunately, many legislators are now concerned about the federal government paying its share of the cost or that funds from Medicaid expansion might be used for abortions. To get Medicaid Expansion passed in 2021, it will need an amendment which will cancel the program if the federal match falls below 90%, or if  money from is used to fund abortions.