Top Stories Of The Week
Wyandotte County elected a new mayor. Kansas City voted “yes, yes and no.” And a council committee voted to give wings to plans for a new airport. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
New Airport Plan Headed For Takeoff
A city council committee endorsed moving ahead with the planning phase for a single-terminal-concept KCI airport. The new airport would cost more than a billion dollars – to be paid by the federal government and the airlines. But the project would involve municipal bonds, and Aviation Director Mark VanLoh tried to reassure critics that the new design keeps the access characteristics so popular at the present KCI.
The city would not be responsible for paying bond investors, but state law mandatess that issuing municipal bonds requires voter approval.
KC Voters Raise Taxes, Won't Diss Nukes
Tuesday's elections came out just the way Kansas City, Missouri city leaders had hoped. Voters approve extending the health levy that supports Truman Medical Center and ended exemptions to the city's “convention tax” on hotel rooms.
But a third ballot question was defeated 3:1. It would have banned any future city incentives for facilities that are involved in nuclear weapons.
Holland Wins KCK Mayor Spot
Voters in Wyandotte County chose Mark Holland as mayor. He won what had been predicted as a close race with a comfortable 56 percent of the vote, after being endorsed by outgoing Mayor Joe Reardon and his predecessor, Carol Marinovich.
Holland promised a quick start on a city budget, commenting that one of the biggest challenges will be cuts to education and aid to cities by the Brownback administration.
Nixon Seeks Compromise On Medicaid Expansion
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon talked with the state Republican caucus about a compromise Medicaid expansion built on their alternative to his proposal. Nixon said he likes several features of their plan, including the “free market”focus. But he asked that the maximum qualifying income be raised from the GOP's 100 percent of the federal poverty level to the 138 percent required to get full federal participation.
Kansas City Democrat Kevin McManus sponsored an amendment to that effect, but a House committee rejected it . GOP members said support for the original alternative plan was not strong.
Missouri Lawmakers Continue To Talk Tax Cuts .
GOP lawmakers seemed to have more enthusiasm about proposals to reduce the state income tax while increasing sales taxes. They contend the state needs to follow the example set by Sam Brownback's Kansas to stay competitive with the neighbor to the west.
The proposals drew the opposition of educators, who questioned why Missouri would cut taxes when it has not been able to meet the school funding formula amount for K-12 spending.
The Missouri Budget Project, advocates for the poor, launched its first-ever ad campaign – against changing the tax structure. GOP leadership called their campaign “misleading” and “distasteful.”.
Brownback Signs Bills ON Union Limits, Rape/Incest Prosecution
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed the bill prohibiting political-cause payroll deductions for state and local government union employees..
The governor also signed legislation extending the statute of limitations on crimes of rape and incest,. Childhood victims will have until they are 28 to come forward and charge their abuser. Law enforcement officials applauded the changes to the limits, especially those applying to child rape and incest.
Legislature Passes Abortion, Guns And Wages Bills Before Break, But Not Taxes Or Budget
Before heading home for a month, legislators sent Brownback a controversial abortion bill that defines life as beginning at fertilization, one invalidating local “prevailing wage contract” requirements, one opening more public buildings, colleges and schools to concealed carry, and a bill making it a felony to enforce any federal gun control on firearms made and kept in Kansas. They have not agreed on tax or budget bills.
Hawks And Cats Home, Shockers At Final Four
Kansas sports surprise of the year: in post-season basketball,KU and K-State fans watched as “that other Kansas team,” Wichita State University went to the final four. The Shockers play Louisville tonight (Saturday) at 5PM CST for a shot at the championship.