Commentary

Wed
12
Apr

Legend of Skunk Johnson

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

They say he seemed to appear out of nowhere about 1869 or 70. No one is certain where he came from, “except that his dialect indicated that he was a native of Hoosierdom (Indiana).”

That was how the legend began.

Tales of his exploits became one of the traditions of the frontier and was told years afterward in newspapers across the country. A story in 1911 noted that, “For years his story was told by campfires, and always with boisterous laughter” ... over the origin of his name.

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Wed
12
Apr

Tax of the One Percenters

By Josh Hoxie

After the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the Trump administration has set its sights on its next big project: so-called “tax reform.”

And the “reform” they seek appears guaranteed to elicit disdain from all sides — with the notable exception of the ultrawealthy.

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Wed
05
Apr

Beyond border strife

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

Captain Eugene Millett and his brothers, Hiram and Alonzo, returned from the Civil War to the devastation of the family home northeast of San Antonio near Seguin, Texas.

Their father had died in 1863 during their absence and thieves had stolen nearly everything. The Millett brothers joined with the neighbors to round up scattered stock that had escaped the raids.

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Wed
05
Apr

Fair Tax for Favored Few

By Jerry Marsh

Last week in his regular legislative column in the Indy, Rep. Steven Johnson gave readers an important heads up: “We will be working on a single bracket or flat income tax ... .” The flat tax is a proportional tax that after a standard deduction taxes all income levels at the same rate.

Proponents like to label the flat tax a “fair” tax. The concept rests on the false premise that Joe Sixpack earning a median income or less and paying the same income tax rate as Richard Rich constitutes tax fairness. One might fairly ask where was this fairness concept when the legislature exempted the Favored Few from paying any state income tax at all?

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Wed
29
Mar

Taming the Texas cattle

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

When Joseph McCoy opened his cattle market at Abilene in 1867, he brought a solution to a vexing situation for everyone in the cattle business. The shortage of beef in the northern states created a great demand for cattle. At the same time, Texans had an abundance of cattle. However, Texas was a long way from lucrative markets in the north.

McCoy’s “cattle depot” on the Union Pacific in Abilene brought the Texas cattlemen and the northern buyers together in a way that had not been done before. The early trickle of 35,000 head of cattle in 1867 rose to a reported 190,000 head on the range around Abilene in 1871.

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Wed
29
Mar

Tax system lacks fairness

By Jerry Marsh

It has been a winter without snow, at least until the snow job from Sen. Richard Wilborn appeared in last week’s issue of the Independent Reporter, Page A12, for those who would like to verify my summary of his remarks.

Asked why he voted against HB2178, a bill that would have helped repair some of the damage Kansans have suffered with Gov. Brownback’s fiscal policy, he claimed to support a “fairer tax code” and one that did not add “a surprise payroll tax increase to hard working Kansans.” It was his expressed concern for tax fairness for hard working Kansans that I most want to call to readers’ attention.

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Wed
22
Mar

Dream City

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

If one was to step back in time to walk the streets of Lawrence, Kan., early in 1858, there was a very good chance of being asked the question that was on the lips of many of its inhabitants.

“Have you come to purchase stock in Minneola?’ One might ask, “What about Minneola?”

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Wed
22
Mar

Faith takes work

By Lee Hamilton

Public confidence in government can be regained only through exemplary performance.

With so much turmoil in Washington and around the country these days, it’s easy to get caught up in the crises of the moment. These are, indeed, worth our attention, but so are longer-running developments that threaten the health of our representative democracy. I want to lay them out in one place, so that the most serious problems confronting our system don’t slip from our attention.

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Wed
15
Mar

A county called Peketon

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

In 1857 Dr. Abijah Beach, a recent graduate of Cleveland Medical College, ventured out on the Santa Fe Trail to the valley between the Little Arkansas and the Arkansas Rivers with some college friends on a buffalo hunting adventure.

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Wed
15
Mar

On the road to fiscal hell

By Jerry Marsh

Last week Duane Goossen, former Kansas budget director currently with the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, sent an email to subscribers entitled “evacuating from fiscal hell”. He complimented Kansas legislators for working hard to claw their way out of our fiscal hell and urged voters to support their efforts. One should note that our senator, Richard Wilborn, was not among those legislators.

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