Government

KCUR News
12:55 pm
Mon November 23, 2009

Congressman Moore Won't Seek 2010 Reelection

Washington, DC – Kansas Congressman Dennis Moore won't seek re-election next year.

Moore, a Democrat who represented Johnson, Wyandotte and a portion of Douglas counties for six terms, is expected to finish out his term, which ends in January 2011.

Spokesman Brandon Naylor said Monday that Moore will issue a statement later in the day explaining his decision.

The move likely will open a rush by both parties to succeed him.

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KCUR News
2:05 pm
Fri November 20, 2009

Council Reacts To Sudden Dismissal Of KCMO City Manager Wayne Cauthen

Kansas City , Mo. – Up to Date follows up on the big news from Kansas City Missouri City Hall on the removal of City Manager Wayne Cauthen.

In a 6-6 vote yesterday, the Council removed Cauthen after Mayor Mark Funkhouser suddenly suspended Cauthen just hours earlier.

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KCUR News
9:42 am
Fri November 20, 2009

Missouri's State Retirement System Looking To Cut Bonuses

Jefferson City, MO – The board that oversees Missouri's State Employees Retirement System, or MOSERS, is crafting a proposal that would bar employees from receiving bonuses during years when the pension fund loses money.

Earlier this year, MOSERS staff members received around $400,000 in performance incentives, even though investments made by the system lost money in 2008. Democratic State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sits on the board and voted in favor of ending that practice.

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KCUR News
3:09 am
Fri November 20, 2009

Council Talks Tough To Power & Light District

Councilman John sharp tells his colleagues he has declined a seat on the Cordish-proposed dress-code review committee.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

Kansas City, MO – In the early afternoon business session on Thursday, the city council endorsed a city study released last week that strongly implies that the Power and Light District has discriminated against blacks and Latinos.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser started the discussion with a strong statement: "In my estimation, civil rights of individuals were violated, and that is not in this city going to be tolerated. We are going to enforce the public accommodations law."

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KCUR News
4:39 pm
Thu November 19, 2009

Kansas City Mayor Suspends City Manager

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser has suspended the city manager.

In a letter to City Council members Thursday, Funkhouser said he was suspending Wayne Cauthen immediately. He didn't give a reason except to say he was exercising his authority as mayor and had asked Cauthen to leave City Hall immediately.

Relations between Funkhouser and Cauthen have been strained for years. In 2007, the mayor said he wouldn't support a city ordinance to extend Cauthen's contract.

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KCUR News
8:38 am
Thu November 19, 2009

Kansas Secretary Of Revenue Calls For Examining Tax Exemptions

Topeka, KS – The Kansas secretary of revenue is calling for lawmakers to look closely at many of the tax exemptions in the state, because she believes they are hurting the state's revenue picture.

KCUR News
3:07 am
Thu November 19, 2009

KC City Council Fires City Manager Wayne Cauthen

photo courtesy of KMBC TV Channel 9

Kansas City, MO – Mayor Funkhouser dismissed the city manager Thursday afternoon, and asked him to leave the City Hall immediately. Six Kansas City council members supporting Wayne Cauthen said they were shocked today when they were notified that they'd be voting on his termination at today's council session. Councilman Ed Ford characterized it as a lack of respect.

MR FORD : "Government by ambush, is not the appropriate way for us to make what is probably the most important decision we make, which is the hiring and firing of a city manager."

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KCUR News
1:55 am
Thu November 19, 2009

City And ATA Plagued By Larger Shortfall Forecasts

Kansas City, MO – A city council committee got the financial reports it asked for Wednesday, and it didn't brighten Kansas City's budget future.

The latest, most accurate figures show the city has pared expenses by an actual five percent or so, but the general fund balance trails last year's by about six million dollars and as revenues continue to lag, the prediction is now that at current service levels spending in next year's budget will have to be cut by another sixty to sixty-five million dollars.

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KCUR News
9:24 am
Tue November 17, 2009

Kansas Looks At How To Pay For Transportation Plan

Topeka, KS – Kansas is currently without a transportation improvement plan, after recently wrapping up a 10-year project. Lawmakers are looking at ways of funding a new long-term, statewide plan.

The two previous 10-year plans had real benefits, says Senate President Stephen Morris, a Hugoton Republican, and member of the Special Committee on Transportation.

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KCUR News
10:01 am
Fri November 13, 2009

Jackson County Belt Tightening Helped Avoid Tax Increases

Kansas City, MO – Three years of planning against rough economic times have paid off for the Jackson County government. That is the assessment county executive Mike Sanders gave in his "state of the county" address yesterday. He says that without years of belt tightening, county government would have shut down.

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KCUR News
10:02 am
Thu November 12, 2009

Pledge For Lower Property Taxes Marks Annual Address

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders
kcur photo by dan verbeck

Kansas City, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says his administration will hold the line in 2010 and lower property taxes. He made the remarks in his November 12th State of the County Address.

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KCUR News
9:59 am
Thu November 12, 2009

Without More Money, Kansas Courts Will Close Temporarily

Topeka, KS – The state court system is facing a $15 million shortfall in Kansas, and courts are scheduled to be closed for several weeks to save cash. The courts will be closed for a total of six weeks between February and June of next year, if lawmakers don't take action to fund the shortfall.

Ron Keefover is information officer for the Kansas Judiciary. He says the courts won't be scheduling cases for those weeks, but judges will likely still be available for some duties like signing search warrants.

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KCUR News
12:09 pm
Wed November 11, 2009

Rancor V. Logic Over Great War Site

In preserved WWI uniforms, (L) LTC Edwin Kennedy, US Army ( ret), Leavenworth, Ks. (R) Sgt Reed Rupp, US Army Reserves, Tonganoxie, Ks.
kcur photos by Dan Verbeck

Kansas City, Mo. – Only the U.S. Senate stands in the way of making the World War One Memorial in Kansas City the official, national memorial. Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver chose Veterans' Day to note House passage of the measure by a vote of 148 to 1.

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KCUR News
10:02 am
Mon November 9, 2009

Kansas Educators Worried About Possible Budget Cuts

Topeka, KS – Last week a group of Kansas budget officials lowered the state revenue estimate for this fiscal year, which will likely mean additional cuts to state government. K through 12 education makes up around half the state budget. This has some school officials concerned education could be facing cuts.

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KCUR News
8:34 am
Fri November 6, 2009

Former Kansas Governor William Avery Dies

Topeka, KS – William Avery, a one-term Republican governor in the 1960s and former U.S. House member, has died, the governor's office said Thursday. He was 98.

Gov. Mark Parkinson's office said Avery died Wednesday and ordered flags across the state lowered until Nov. 14.

"Governor Avery led our state during a time of tragic loss and national attention. Kansas honors his long life and service to our state. Our thoughts and prayers are with his children and family," Parkinson said in a statement.

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KCUR News
8:27 am
Fri November 6, 2009

Kansas Revenue Projections Slashed Again

Kansas City, MO – A group of economists and policy-makers slashed Kansas tax collection estimates Thursday by $235 million, reflecting signs of continued weakness in the state economy.

The new forecast for the remainder of the state's 2010 fiscal year through next June 30 means Kansas government will have 4.2 percent fewer tax dollars to finance services, including public education, than previously estimated in April. Kansas began its fiscal year July 1.

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KCUR News
2:54 am
Fri November 6, 2009

Citizens Again Not Satisfied

Councilwoman Beth Gottstein implores her colleagues to work to end the perception that City Hall leadership is ineffective and unethical.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2. Click to enlarge.

Kansas City, MO – City Auditor Gary White presented the latest quarterly citizen satisfaction survey to the city council yesterday, and it was no cause for celebration.

Overall, there wasn't much change from the preceding quarter.

Maybe there was another slight gain in satisfaction with the way streets and public facilities are being maintained. Definitely more people were unhappy about bulky item trash pickup and difficulty reaching a representative at the 3-1-1 city services number.

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KCUR News
4:53 pm
Thu November 5, 2009

I Can't Hear You...Over!

Kansas City, Mo. – Radio communications between fighters and paramedics are a vital connection for public safety. And a faulty system is getting keen attention before a special Kansas City council committee.

Fire Chief Smoky Dyer reports to the panel after a first transitional meeting this week, bringing MAST ambulance into the fire department. Focus is on six issues including staffing of the reorganized ambulance sector.

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KCUR News
9:48 am
Thu November 5, 2009

Armored Cars Slow Traffic

Kansas City, MO – Early last evening, rush hour drivers along Bruce Watkins Freeway had to head to shoulders of the road to make way for what appeared to be two armored cars. The heavy trucks had police cars leading and following, with flashing lights and sirens.

The fast moving vehicles were heading for Kansas City's far southeast side and beginnings of an Operation 100, so-called because it takes about that many officers to work and support the siege of a crime scene.

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KCUR News
9:34 am
Thu November 5, 2009

Gingrich Calls For Tax Breaks For Businesses

Lawrence, KS – Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich talked politics on the University of Kansas Campus. Stephen Koranda was there and filed this report.

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KCUR News
10:12 am
Wed November 4, 2009

Kansas Looks To Powerlines To Become Wind Powerhouse

Lawrence, KS – Kansas is one of the windiest states, and state government and power company officials are trying to capitalize on that. Officials met in Lawrence to talk about ways to make that happen.

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KCUR News
11:04 pm
Tue November 3, 2009

Wide Majority Approves Renewal Of COMBAT Anti-Drug Tax

Former Councilman and Drug Commission member Alvin Brooks and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders celebrate the tax's renewal at the Westport Flea Market. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – Jackson County voters approved the renewal of the Community-Backed Anti-Drug Tax by a wide margin yesterday. The COMBAT sales tax raises about $20 million a year to fund drug enforcement and treatment programs.

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KCUR News
10:05 am
Fri October 30, 2009

COMBAT Anti-Drug Tax Up For Renewal Tuesday

Street Crimes Unit Sergeant Chip Huth outside a raid location. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – It's been 20 years since Jackson County residents first passed the Community Based Anti-Drug Tax to fund drug enforcement, treatment and prevention. The sales tax was an unusual response to the crack epidemic and high homicide rate of the late 1980s. Since that time, drug use and violent crime have decreased and come back up again, leaving some voters wondering if Combat has made a difference. The quarter-cent sales tax is up for a renewal in a special election on Tuesday.

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KCUR News
8:17 am
Fri October 30, 2009

Future Of Kansas City Overhaul Base Uncertain

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City Aviation Director Mark VanLoh gave the city council a report on American Airlines' planned closing of its overhaul base at KCI yesterday.

VanLoh said there are no immediately pressing environmental clean-up issues, and that the airline assured city officials it will continue to pay its rent and environmental monitoring costs.

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KCUR News
10:05 am
Thu October 29, 2009

Kansas Governor Says He'll Make More Budget Cuts

Kansas City, MO – Kansas' governor Mark Parkinson said Wednesday that he's prepared to make additional spending cuts this year to keep the state's budget balanced, and key legislators predicted he'll be forced to further trim aid to public schools.

Parkinson wouldn't speculate during a news conference about what steps he'll take to close any projected deficit for the fiscal year that began July 1. But he said he won't leave the job of closing a shortfall to legislators when they reconvene in January.

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KCUR News
9:54 am
Thu October 29, 2009

One-Time Revenue Paying Kansas City's Bills

Kansas City, Mo – Kansas City's Finance and Audit Committee got a wake up call yesterday, in the form of the latest revenue and expense figures. For one thing, revenue may be starting to lag behind projections by several million dollars. But there was more.

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KCUR News
9:48 am
Thu October 29, 2009

Nixon Slashes $204 Million From Missouri Budget

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced more cuts to the state budget, due to the ongoing decline in state revenues.

Nixon is slashing nearly $204 million out the current budget. He's eliminating nearly 700 state jobs, most of them part-time, and shrinking numerous programs within state agencies.

The governor says the cuts don't include reductions to education funding, scholarships, or to crucial public safety needs.

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KCUR News
3:11 pm
Wed October 28, 2009

State Cuts Impact The Arts

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced an additional $204 million dollars in spending cuts on Wednesday due to declining state revenue. The cuts in the fiscal 2010 state budget include $4.4 million from the Missouri Arts Council and $2.2 million from its cultural partners, including public broadcasting.

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KCUR News
12:24 pm
Wed October 28, 2009

Up To Date: COMBAT Tax On November Ballot

Kansas City, MO – This November voters have to weigh in on what's most important: a weak economy where more people are less likely to approve new taxes versus a law enforcement program that requires tax dollars to operate. COMBAT-Community Backed Anti-Drug-Tax is the tax on the ballot looking to fund programs that address drug addiction and drug-related crime in the community.

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