Government

KCUR News
1:33 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Council Cuts Back on Some Pensions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City's outgoing city council went on record yesterday as wanting to leave a legacy of fiscal responsibility when it comes to retirement plans.

The change in pension plans the council enacted will only affect new elected officials and municipal judges, and will only save about 45,000 dollars next year. But returning council member Jan Marcason says it's a step in a needed direction.

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KCUR News
3:54 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Time for the Olive Branch: Brownback

telecom bill praised by and about to be signed by Kansas Governor. Benefits disputed by critics.
photo by dan verbeck

Mission, KS – There needs to be less animosity between Kansas City, Missouri and the State of Kansas over the lure of businesses from one to the other. It was a frequent complaint during the recent K-C Mayor's race.

The Governor talked about it in Mission, Kansas this afternoon and KCUR's Dan Verbeck was there.

It's not a targeted raid to seduce companies to move, says Brownback. It's just the incentives Kansas can and does offer when approached by what amounts to corporation head-hunters.

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KCUR News
12:02 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Wyandotte County Adopts "Complete Streets" Policy

KANSAS CITY, Ks. – The Unified Government of Wyandotte County has committed to designing new roads with walkers and bike riders in mind. Mayor Joe Reardon says adopting this 'complete streets' philosophy changes the way city planners approach transit projects, and he hopes that will lead to some concrete improvements down the road.

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KCUR News
9:07 am
Wed April 6, 2011

E-Tax: No Hair's Breadth

E Tax backers intent on returns at Union Station watch gathering. Bonnie Smith (R).
photo by Dan Verbeck

Kansas City, MO – It wasn't even close!!

The vote to keep or kill off Kansas City's Earnings Tax ended in a smashing victory for the 'save it' side.

The winning margin was better than 3 to 1 and it only needed a simple majority. On the other hand, voter turnout appeared relatively low. But it was still higher than the city election last month.

KCUR's Dan Verbeck was following returns with the side that won.

The Clay County vote was crucial.

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KCUR News
12:04 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Johnson Countians Stay Home For Spring Vote On Schools, City Officials

Student election worker Susie McClannahan worked the polls from 6AM to 7PM yesterday. She doodled pictures of animals to keep from getting bored. Photo by Laura Ziegler

Johnson County, Kansas – With dozens of elections for council seats, mayors, school boards, and Community College trustees, officials reported a surprising lack of voters. While spring elections are always quiet, election commissioner Brian Newby said a lot of money and attention went toward these races. He said he expected more concern, given the urgency of city and school funding issues.

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KCUR News
9:09 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Earnings Tax Wins Big in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City voters left no doubts. They want to keep the earnings tax in place for the next five years. Maybe more. The victory margin was better than 3 to 1.

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KCUR News
2:40 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

KCK City Hall vs D.C.

EPA Region 7 Headquarters in Kansas City, Ks.
photo by Dan Verbeck

Kansas City, KS – The Environmental Protection Agency will not pack up its regional headquarters for a move to Lenexa without a fight from Kansas City Kansas.

There will be a formal protest of the newly signed lease for suburban property. The KCK mayor calls the maneuver, " federal government at its worst."

EPA's property overseer, the General Services Administration, says it can't afford to stay in the KCK building designed and built for EPA in 1999, not at 4 and three quarter million dollars a year rent.

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KCUR News
2:31 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Turnout in Johnson County Low So Far

Kansas City, Missouri – It's a spring election in an off year, and, as expected, turnout has been relatively low so far in Johnson County, Kan.

16 cities have races for mayor and or city council. 8 school districts are electing board members. Voters will elect or return 3 trustees to the board of the Johnson County Community College.

Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby says turnout is always higher in some places.

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KCUR News
10:46 am
Mon April 4, 2011

An Election in Mission Hills

Mission Hills City Hall. Photo by missionhillsks.gov

Mission Hills, Kan. – Mission Hills is doing unusually well in tough times, but it has always been an unusual place. There are only three business - all country clubs - in the whole city. It has no police department. Law enforcement, snow plowing and just about every other city service is contracted from outside the city. Clinging to the Kansas side of the State Line, Mission Hills is just a sliver of two square miles, home to just 3,500 people.

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KCUR News
9:39 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Kansas City Voters Decide Future of Earnings Tax

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Newly elected Kansas City Mayor Sly James hasn't even taken office yet, but in his acceptance speech on election night he acknowledged he's got a big job ahead of him.

"I need you to tell your friends, I need you to educate your neighbors. We need to make sure we renew that earnings tax," said James.

Kansas City, Missouri voters will decide the future of the earning tax on Tuesday. Both sides of the debate say the vote is critical to future growth of the city.

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KCUR News
9:55 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Examining the Earnings Tax in St. Louis and Kansas City

Kansas City, Mo; St. Louis, Mo. – On Tuesday, voters in St. Louis and Kansas City will have their first chance to determine the future of their cities' 1 percent earnings taxes, which are imposed on the wages of everyone who lives or works in the cities.

It's on the ballot following statewide approval last November of Proposition A.

The lead-up to the vote has been very different in the two cities.

Today, we have two reports.

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KCUR News
9:36 am
Tue March 29, 2011

Miles Apart: E-Tax Pro and Con

Baptist Ministers' Union supports retention of one percent earnings tax for K.C.
photo by Dan Verbeck

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Some forces for an against Kansas City's earnings tax almost agree on a lack of fairness in its collection, but for different reasons. Both sides remain firmly entrenched.

The city's Baptist Ministers Union came out today encouraging congregations to vote for the E Tax April 5th. Doctor Reverend Wallace Hartzfield II responded to a suggestion the tax could be considered unequal, millionaires paying the same rate as the working poor, for whom a dollar has more meaning.

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KCUR News
1:28 am
Fri March 25, 2011

New City Budget Keeps Spending Flat

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City officially has a budget for the coming fiscal year, and it looks a lot like the one for this year.

The only change from the budget plan the council reviewed earlier this month is a small increase for neighborhood clean-up programs and bulky item pick-up.

Finance co-chair Deb Hermann the plan as "really a continuation of last year's budget"

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KCUR News
2:26 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Sly James Victorious in Mayor's Race

Family and friends surround Sly James during his victory speech.
Photo by Elana Gordon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City voters have chosen Sly James as their next mayor.

James ran on a platform of uniting Kansas City. Speaking to a crowd of several hundred inside the atrium of the American Jazz and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last night, James said he'll work tirelessly with residents, with the new council and city manager, to create jobs, reduce crime, and make city government more accountable.

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KCUR News
12:36 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Defeated Burke Gracious

Well wishers went this way at Westin Crown Center. They left disappointed.
photo by Dan Verbeck

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Mike Burke was gracious in defeat as he watched Sly James take the lead to become Kansas City's next mayor . KCUR's Dan Verbeck watched the Burke team in its final hours of political life and filed this account.

Analysts were unhappy from the outset, sitting in a windowless room positioned right underneath the waterfall in the Westin Crown Center, one floor below. Not a sound permeated to muffle sentences like " If we can't pull 75 percent in the center city .."

He didn't.

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KCUR News
2:15 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Final Kansas City, Missouri Mayor's Debate

Mike Burke and Sly James at Up to Date's primary debate, February 2011.
Photo: Michael Crane/KCUR

Kansas City, Mo. –

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KCUR News
11:28 am
Mon March 21, 2011

KC Weeklies Weigh In on Mayor's Race

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sly James and Mike Burke appear to be neck and neck going in to Tuesday's election. For some added perspective, KCUR's Susan B. Wilson sat down with three reporters who have distinct takes on local politics - KC Hispanic News editor and publisher Joe Arce, the Call reporter Eric Wesson and David Martin, of the Pitch.

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KCUR News
10:50 am
Mon March 21, 2011

Missouri House Passes Late Abortion Ban

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House passed legislation on Thursday to ban so-called "late term" abortions in the Show-Me State.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that a fetus is either not viable or is a medical threat to the mother.

The sponsor, House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka), called abortions after 20 weeks a "barbaric practice that puts mothers at risk."

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KCUR News
10:14 am
Fri March 18, 2011

City Council Candidates' Final Push Before Election

Kansas City, Mo., City Hall.

Kansas City, Mo. – Pundits are saying the election of Kansas City's mayoral race could be the most important in a generation. But we have what's called a "weak" mayor system here, so almost as important are the 12 city council members. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross takes a look at the six at-large races, in which all Kansas Citians vote.

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KCUR News
5:06 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

For Mayor: Labor Pro and Con

Jobs creation is only part of labor interest in mayoral race. Cranes over downtown KC.
photo by Dan Verbeck

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Kansas City organized labor has always heavily engaged in the battle for the Mayor's office. The ardor is strong with the election next week. This time there is a division of forces; labor is split between candidates. KCUR's Dan Verbeck was once actively involved in labor as a volunteer shop steward for a broadcaster's union. He no longer has that association. Here is his report on the making of the Mayor via labor.

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Government
8:08 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Senate Votes on Kansas Arts Commission

The Kansas Senate on Wednesday afternoon takes up a resolution that could determine the fate of the state arts agency. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

Kansas City, Mo – The Kansas Senate on Wednesday afternoon takes up a resolution that could determine the fate of the Kansas Arts Commission. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

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KCUR News
2:13 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Big Donor Draw Drips Dollars in KC Mayor Quest

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Barely a week before Kansas City's municipal election the two candidates for mayor are showing the money." Sly James has the bigger campaign coffer.

One thing that's the same between candidates accounting files: law firms. Both Mike Burke and James' input reports show more lawyers and law firms donating than we have space to mention here.

Overall, James has taken in a little more than $800 thousand to Burke's 440 thousand. Burke is in debt on his campaign by some $120 thousand whereas Sly James doesn't owe anything.

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KCUR News
3:21 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Kansas Legislature Wants More Accountability From Kansas Bioscience Authority

 

Kansas City – Salary, expenses, and marketing records reveal excessive spending on the part of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. At least that's what some on the Commerce Committee feel.

The Committee has been holding hearings in recent weeks to address perceptions of fiscal irresponsibility, and has a bill on the Senate floor to put the Secretaries of Commerce and Revenue on the Board of the KBA.

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KCUR News
6:35 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

Water, Sewer Increases in New KC Budget

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City city council has set the wheels in motion for adoption of next year's city budget. And it will include some higher fees for basic services.

Many details of next year's spending plan are still not finalized. But it's for certain that proposed increases in sewer and water rates will be part of it.

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KCUR News
5:45 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

Mayor Hopefuls Emerge as Own Men

Candidates for KC Mayor emerge into debate as polite but definite in views.
photo by dan verbeck

KANSAS CITY, MO. – No longer do Kansas City's two mayoral candidates appear to be virtual clones on issues facing the city. Clear definitions surfaced during a debate before the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and The Kansas City Business Journal.

On the mid town hot button issue of the Highwoods Properties high rise in the Country Club Plaza, James would mediate between those who want it and those who don't, fearing loss of jobs to Kansas.

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KCUR News
1:12 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Missouri Legislature Looks at 'Right to Work' Bill

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Federal law prohibits unions from requiring workers to belong. But in most states, workers in union shops can be required to pay some fees, because the union is obligated to represent them in collective bargaining. In the 1950s, states began passing "right-to-work" legislation (the term is controversial), which means workers didn't have to pay dues or fees to the union. Twenty-two states now have these laws, including Kansas. Many are in the Deep South and the West.

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Government
8:56 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Kansas Arts Commission Update

Lots of states are facing huge budget deficits this year, and many are considering drastic steps to address them. Kansas could be the only state, or at least the first, to completely eliminate the state agency that supports the arts.

Kansas City, Mo – Kansas could be the only state, or at least the first, to completely eliminate the state agency that supports the arts. KCUR's Laura Spencer gives us this update.

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Government
10:08 am
Thu March 3, 2011

Senate Committee Recommends Keeping KS Arts Commission

The Senate Federal and State Affairs committee has recommended rejecting Governor Sam Brownback's plan to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. Brownback has signed an executive order to replace the Arts Commission with a private, non-profit group.

Topeka, KS – Governor Brownback says his plan will save the state around 600 thousand dollars during a tough budget crunch. KPR's Stephen Koranda has more.

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KCUR News
12:38 pm
Thu February 24, 2011

Ks. House Advances Abortion Bills

TOPEKA, Ks. – The Kansas House has given first-round approval to bills that would place more restrictions on abortion in the state. The heated debate lasted nearly two hours Wednesday. Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda was there and has this report.

 

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KCUR News
1:25 am
Thu February 24, 2011

Missouri House Committee Backs Income Tax Repeal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It's an attractive sounding proposal: no more income tax. --just a simple sales tax of 7 percent, not quite twice the present rate.

But Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project is concerned that a House committee has endorsed a constitutional amendment to do that.

She says it would take a 12 percent sales tax to maintain state services, even if the tax extends to services including medical care... and it would reduce total taxes paid only for the wealthiest 5 percent.

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