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Dear Friend: 

Stop the bleeding!!!
When I was in my residency program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston many years ago, I was providing anesthesia for a fourteen-year-old boy who had been stabbed multiple times. The surgeons on the case were residents as well, and while the anesthesia staff were on site (in house) on that late Friday night case, the surgical residents were expected to handle the cases on call with staff at home. The surgery residents were made to feel like failures if they called their staff or requested that an actual board-certified surgeon come in to assist. What I remember about that night was repeatedly telling the surgeons that the patient had a “bleeder”; an unidentified source of bleeding that had not been stopped by the surgical team. They kept insisting that all was well, yet I knew, as the person responsible for the patient’s physiological well-being, that there was a bleeder. Ultimately, the boy died on the table. He had a nick in one of his arteries that was very difficult to find. It was tragic, and what I learned from that night was to keep insisting that the “staff be called in” when a patient was in a critical and potentially lethal situation.

So why tell you this story? Kansas is bleeding out!!! The revenues for Kansas continue to be below estimates; in February alone we were $53 million dollars behind! And even though the staff (Governor) has been notified, he is yelling at the residents rather than stepping in to take care of the problem. In the world of medicine, that would be called malpractice! In the statehouse, it is just politics as usual. The lack of revenue is being temporarily solved with one-time money fixes and borrowing ventures. But that will not stop the true source of bleeding: a failed tax policy eliminating income tax for certain business interests and continuing the “March to Zero” for all income tax.  And just like the night my patient died, it is beyond tragic that business as usual continues when it is clear that a new path must be taken. We must stop the bleeding!

About the 21st

Profile

Communities of the 21st: 
Prairie Village
Overland Park
Mission Hills

It was a treat to see two of my Prairie Elementary school teachers, Helen Holton and Roxy Yowell when I presented to a retired teachers group.
Don't Disagree... or Else!!!
To say that it is frustrating trying to get business done in Topeka this session is an understatement. We continue to see major legislation pushed through backroom deals and then those who call them out or disagree are punished. Efforts to silence taxpayers and anyone else who disagrees with leadership are the rule rather than the exception. Just this year 10 Republicans (myself included) have been removed from committee assignments because we dare to speak up and ask questions that present a different view. Even the Governor is making deals behind the legislature’s back, specifically a $20 million deal to demolish the Docking state office building. That was followed by trying to sell off the state’s tobacco settlement in a secretive deal. The settlement money goes to the Children’s Initiative Fund, which is used for programs such as Early Head Start and Parents as Teachers.

The good news is that those of us who disagree are standing firm. With our help, some are starting to see that the current mantra is not working for their constituents, and votes are gradually changing. Most importantly, the public is engaged, and is fighting back! People are realizing that the Kansas they know and love is threatened, and they are working to bring it back.


Election Year Do-Nothing Bills
It’s an election year so we’re seeing a lot more of what I call Do-Nothing bills. These are the bills that have a catchy title and sound good on paper, but that actually do nothing to help our economy or our families. They are simply thrown out there to get people riled up. We’ll see them again come election time plastered on postcards in an attempt to distract voters from what really needs to be done. Usually at the time of our first recess there are a huge number of bills voted out that need to be shared with you. But not this year!
Our leadership may not want to focus on the real issues, but I do. That’s why I continue to put the focus back on what really matters - like balancing the budget, funding our local schools, and getting our state back to what matters to the people. We still have a long way to go this session, and I hope that during this April recess our leadership can face reality and support some of the REAL solutions that many of us are pushing for the state.


School Funding Equity (S Sub for HB 2655)
It was only a year ago that I voted NO for a bill to eliminate the school funding formula and replace it with two years of block grants. Not only would it take funding from our schools, but I believed that block grants would not be found constitutional. My assessment was correct. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the block grants did not provide equity, and that the legislature must find a solution by June 30th or schools will close. The legislature has now passed a temporary measure that returns us to the prior funding formula that slightly changes the calculation for equitability. I voted Yes because I am not willing to risk our children’s education. We need our schools to open as scheduled and this bill should allow that to happen.
 
But significant work awaits us. We must develop a long-term solution that is both cost-effective and does not depend on what city they come from or how much their parents earn. Funding schools both adequately and equitably are essential to maintaining the true heart of Kansas. I will continue to advocate for and fight for maintaining a public education system that is recognized throughout the country for its excellence.
 
Common Core (S Sub for HB 2292)
Another year brought another attempt to interfere with the work of our State Board of Education by eliminating the Common Core Standards. This year the House Education Committee falsely identified a hearing on the evils of these standards, labeling it “The History of Education”. No opponents were part of the hearing, and the bill was then passed out of committee with the Chairman stating that “we heard enough on this last year.”
 
I believe that every major piece of legislation that we pass in Topeka should be fully vetted and carefully written. Clearly, that did not happen with the Common Core bill. Even the Education committee chair was confused by referring to the “Common Core curriculum”; they are standards; curriculum is determined by each school district independently.  I was part of the majority who voted NO on this bill. Some of my concerns included:
  • Put AP and Title 1 classes in jeopardy. A last-minute amendment was attempted, but it did not fully address the issue.
  • Dismantles our state’s school standards. This would put our kids at a disadvantage if they plan to go to college in another state.
  • Would take away any sense of uniformity, which puts the children of our military families at risk of falling behind when they transfer from one state to another in the course of military service.
Ultimately, I know that this decision lies in the hands of our elected state and local school boards and I trust them to know the educational needs for our children.
 
Taxes
As I discussed earlier, it is critical to admit that we have a problem. Unfortunately, there are many people in Topeka who still aren’t ready to admit we have a tax fairness problem.
The evidence speaks for itself. Thus far, the income tax changes the Governor passed in 2012 have:
  • Caused $1 billion (with a B) in lost revenue to our state, which is what’s driving all the cuts to our local schools and driving up our property taxes
  • The state just came up another $53 million short for the month of February, with significant losses predicted for March
  • Shifted the tax burden so that our families pay more while others pay nothing
Let me clear: keeping income taxes down is important. But, at what price? We have to find the right balance because what we’re doing now isn’t working. As I have stated in the past, we must join together and find real revenue reform. We can start with the businesses who pay NO income tax and put them back into the state revenue stream by having a limited “pass-through” income. The complete elimination of income taxes in Kansas will ruin our state. People are willing to pay their fair share while state government continues to seek efficiencies. Kansas is desperate to return to a fair and stable tax structure so we can rely on our schools, roads, and programs. The veto session will begin April 27th, and we can all demand that our legislature fixes this revenue crisis instead of cobbling together one-time monies to plug the debt hole. Kansans deserve better!
 
The legislature is “off” for the month of April so I will be available in Kansas City to meet with constituents as needed. Feel free to contact me at
barbarabollier@gmail.com.   Also, follow my FB page “Representative Barbara Bollier” to read the latest articles about legislative business. My next public forum will be hosted by the NEJOCO Chamber Saturday, April 9th, 9 AM at the Matt Ross Community Center. Rep. Jarrod Ousley (District 24) will also be presenting that morning.

We return to Topeka April 27th for Veto Session. I anticipate continued work on various bills, re-working the budget, and hopefully passing some much-needed tax policy change. Remember, anything can happen until the final gavel falls, so keep abreast of what is happening in Topeka. This is YOUR state!
Thank you for allowing me to serve. You can reach me at barbarabollier@gmail.com. I am always eager to hear from my constituents!

Respectfully,

Rep. Barbara Bollier
Kansas House District 21
Serving Northeast Johnson County
Copyright © 2016 Bollier for State Representative, Linda Manco, Treasurer, All rights reserved.
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