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Fri April 27, 2012
Top Stories Of The Week
Walt Bodine retired after 72 years in broadcasting. A judge let streetcar plans keep rolling. And there was progress, but not resolution on a Missouri budget. Steve Bell recaps on those & other top stories of the week.
MO Budget Progress
Chances for a Missouri budget bill seemed slim Monday as Cape Girardeau Senator Jason Crowell took the floor for a filibuster. Crowell wanted to rein in tax credits and restore funding the House cut from a Medicaid program for the blind. He got his way on restoring that funding and the Senate budget bill passed. But it will face a tough fight with House negotiators who still favor the cuts to the blind services.
Kansas Tax Cuts
Kansas House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on tax cuts. The plan reportedly lowers personal income tax rates, phases out all income tax for 119,000 businesses and reduces the sales tax come June of 2013. Though it wasn't exactly what Governor Sam Brownback had asked for, he endorsed the compromise.
Brownback Gives A Little On Managed Care
After several hundred people demonstrated against Governor Brownback's plan to turn programs for persons with disabilities over to private managed-care companies, the governor backed down and said those programs will remain unchanged for another year. His spokeswoman said the governor still has confidence the managed care system will work, but Tom Laing, spokesman for agencies that serve the disabled said the change would have been premature.
Another Chance For The Woodlands?
A Kansas Senate committee also drafted a bill that would give racetracks a bigger take from slot machines. That would encourage tracks like the Woodlands to reopen. Jeff Rutland of a Kansas horse association said the present law just costs the state money. But the bill, low on the priority list, may never make it to the full chamber's floor.
Cerner Expands Into KCK
Health IT giant Cerner broke ground on its new Kansas City, Kansas campus, near the Kansas Speedway, and co-founder Cliff Illig said those who will work at the new facilityx will be responsible for keeping 30% of US healthcare operating smoothly. The complex involved 200 millio in incentives and is expected to generate 4,000 area jobs.
Bottled Water Boon To Riverside
The new Premium Waters bottled water plant in Riverside got almost 2 ½ million in incentives from Missouri. Riverside Mayor Kathy Rose said she welcomed the new industry because her community is too dependent on the Argosy casino for its revenues. he plant will open in November.
H & R Block Cutting Back
Kansas City-based H & R Block meanwhile, announced plans to cut 350 jobs nationwide and close 200 company-owned offices despite setting a record for tax returns prepared this year. Block said the offices involved were unproductive and did not contribute to the growth.
Judge Okays Streetcar Tax District
Wrapping up the week: a judge said Kansas City can roll ahead with plans to create a special tax district for a downtown streetcar line. The streetcar proposal must pass a mail-in vote by persons who reside in the district.
K.C. Royals Break Losing Streak
The Royals finally broke their long losing streak with back-to-back victories. The losses were particularly embarrassing because of the Royals' slogan that this year was “our time.” Critics were modifying that to “our time to lose.”
Walt Bodine Retires
Walt Bodine retired after 72 years as a news reporter and interviewer. He commented on a career that included newspapers, television and radio by remarking that he had been a “multimedia nuisance. “ Walt is 91, and though no formal records exist, he is thought to have had the longest active media career in Kansas City history. The Kansas City Star is featuring a photo montage of his final show and career at its web site. The Walt Bodine Show came to KCUR in 1981.