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Legislatures need to use common sense

Kansas legislators will return to their posts in Topeka next week, hopefully ready to take on the seemingly insurmountable issues for the coming year.

A budget shortfall of more than a half a trillion dollars remains a concern for constituents — or at least this constituent. Less spending and more common sense will be necessary to squeak through another year. The state should be run like a business or a home — if the money’s not there, you can’t spend it. When times are lean, positions may need to be cut, benefits may be reduced, and for sure, there are no pay raises — and that goes for legislators as well.

Another challenge facing lawmakers this session will be funding education — another no-brainer. Education is one of the most important tools we can offer our youngsters. When funding is cut to our school districts, it means school officials have to figure out another way to continue to provide education that meets a high standard.

And what will legislators do with the oil pipeline exemption issue? It appears the oil company does not qualify for the exemption so it should be denied. The pipeline is already in Kansas. What are they going to do? Dig it up and cart it back to Canada? Keystone never asked for the exemption — it was given to them on a silver platter for unknown reasons. The state could certainly use the tax dollars to help the budget.

And then there’s health care, unemployment, immigration, and a whole plethora of other issues for lawmakers to consider. They certainly have their work cut out for them and it’s our job to let them know what we think.

Get involved this session. Share ideas and concerns. Otherwise, we can’t complain when decisions are made resulting in programs and benefits being cut if we weren’t involved.

— susan berg

Last modified Jan. 5, 2011

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