Money dominated the last of the MainStream Coalition’s legislative series Thursday: how are we going to pay for state government, what gets cut and how much tax are we going to pay. It has been a constant theme in the discussions this year.
With the Legislature still in session and still grappling with tax and budget plans, it was no surprise. Emporia State University professor Michael
Smith told the group that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback finds himself at odds with some conservatives he helped elect. Brownback, Smith said, believes sales or property tax should fund government and income tax should be phased out because it hurts job growth. The more conservative legislators want to phase out income tax and not replace it with anything – just cut more spending from government.
Some of the job growth that the income tax reductions count on is just moving jobs across the state line, Smith contended, calling it “phony” economic growth. Medicaid and K-12 education dominate the state budget, Smith said, making it hard to cut government spending without hitting those two areas.
The poorest school districts in the state are in rural Kansas, Smith said. The Kansas school aid formula redistributes money from places like Johnson County to those rural districts. If school funding is shifted to property tax, those districts will have difficulty and it might not “pass muster with the courts,” he said.
State Rep. Melissa Rooker said local school districts are fighting back against an attempt to ditch Common Core standards for schools. Schools have been training for three years to move to the new standards and away from the assessments tied to the No Child Left Behind Act. Conservatives have branded Common Core as a federal takeover, but Rooker said in Kansas local boards choose textbooks and teachers are in control of lesson plans.
Common Core sets standards for achievement that have been agreed upon among several states. Using the Common Core math and English standards is the basis for the NCLB waiver, Without it, schools will be subject to penalties if they do not meet proficiency standards.
Question: Should I refinance my home? How much could I save.
When interest rates dropped so low, and the housing market was declining, refinances were the hot topic. Now that the market is in a state of recovery, it seems that “refis” have lost their spot in the limelight.
But now is still a great time to refi — for most homeowners. I say most because there are a few general rules to follow if you are considering a refi.
Most lenders would tell you that you need to plan to stay in your home for at least two more years if you are considering a refi. There are closing costs that a homeowner must pay when refinancing, so it is important to make sure that you will recapture the cost and then see some savings before making the investment.
Also, if you purchased in 2005 or 2006 before the market declined, there is a chance that the market value for your home today is not as much as you paid for it back then. That could stand in your way when it comes to refinancing. Just like when you purchase a home, the lending institution will perform an appraisal on your home to insure that it is worth the refinanced amount. If you did purchase around that time, you should probably first contact a Realtor to perform a preliminary market analysis for your home. He or she should be able to give you an idea as to whether a refi might be an option or not.
Now, the up side. A lower interest rate can make a huge impact in your payment and overall equity position. For example, let’s say that you have a mortgage on your home of $240,000 and your current interest rate is 5.25 percent. If you were to refinance today into a 30 year conventional loan, you would save approximately $25,000 in the first eight years between interest savings and equity improvement. Yes – I said $25,000! That is not to mention what would happen to that $25,000 it it were then invested elsewhere: a 529 plan for your kids college education, down payment for an investment property, etc…
If you are considering a refinance, I would like to make an endorsement. Jim Yarrington with Peoples Bank has been a long time partner of ours. He handled our refinance on our first home, and the home purchase loan on our current home. Not to mention that our clients love him. If you would like to make an application for a refinance, just got to ApplywithJim.com. It is a very user-friendly site and I am confident that Jim can provide you with the best options for you and your family.
This weekly sponsored column is written by Chad Taylor of the Taylor-Made Team and Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC. The Taylor-Made Team consistently performs in the top 3 percent of Realtors in the Heartland MLS. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email. You can find out more about the Taylor-Made Team on its website. And always feel free to call at 913-825-7540.
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When last we left the saga of the Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop on Johnson Drive, Sandi Russell (one of the sister owners) was wrestling with what to do about the legal threat she received from Twisted Sister, the heavy metal band.
You may recall that a lawyer for a band founder John French had notified the coffee shop sisters that the band holds a trademark on its name. The letter to the sisters suggests that the coffee shop name is “likely to cause a dilution of our client’s famous mark.” Change your name, the letter suggests.
As you might guess, PVPost.com readers thought the odds of mixing up a Mission coffee shop and a 1970s heavy metal band to be slight and the demand far-fetched. The story went viral. It hit talk radio and popped up around the country on sites like CNet with some real national exposure. And people called and came into the shop to show support.
One of the people who came into the shop was a lawyer who offered to represent Twisted Sisters pro bono in the dispute. Russell is meeting with the attorneys next week. In the meantime, she drafted a response to the band’s lawyer.
Russell’s letter begins: “Quite honestly when I first received your letter I truly had to go to the site you provided to learn of this band. Sorry. After Elvis, the Beatles and the Beach Boys my love of music leans to country.” She recounts the history of the shop and the name’s origin in a nickname hung on the sisters by their late brother. And she closes: “Right now I am at a loss as to what we could possibly call ourselves that could emulate why we are ’Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop’ with our logo of a tornado coming out of a ruby red coffee cup. We are open to Mr. French’s ideas for us.”
Russell does not plan to give in. Her Facebook site is still up, although she took her Website down for the moment. She is holding off on putting up a permanent sign until this is behind her. And she wonders how those Twisted Sisters, the Virginia competitors on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” are making out with the band.
We were recently hanging out with some former Texans when they mentioned Kansas City’s dearth of breakfast tacos.
Screech! went my brain as I tried to wrap my head around the concept of a breakfast taco. I didn’t understand how I, someone who deeply loves both tacos and breakfast, had never heard of such a thing. I also needed an explanation of how a breakfast taco differs from a breakfast burrito. In short, I needed to get my hands on some breakfast tacos, STAT.
Fast forward to the next day. Our friends had recommended Fuzzy’s (at 101st and Wornall), and the timing worked out perfectly for our post-yoga Saturday brunch. Their doors had barely opened when I stormed in and demanded some breakfast tacos. Luckily, the staff was quite lovely in the face of my hostility, and the tacos were pretty darn good. So good, in fact, that we went back the next week, and the next.
So how do breakfast tacos differ from breakfast burritos? Honestly, I’m still not really sure (other than that they are smaller). All I know is that they are really, really delicious. Breakfast tacos can include potatoes, refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese and chorizo.
So what will we be making for our Saturday breakfast? You guessed it – breakfast tacos. This recipe has the added bonus of being gluten-free (all the better for Jay’s gluten-free aunt Nan Meyerdirk. We’re lookin’ out for ya, Nanny!).
Anyways, I hope you are as excited about breakfast tacos as I am. Or maybe you’ve known about them for years. If so – why didn’t you tell me?
The following is a basic recipe that we’ll be using this weekend (multiplied by 10) — after the jump:
By Chris Heady
A talented group of SM East thespians received some metro-wide recognition Thursday at Starlight Theatre’s 11th Annual Blue Star Awards Ceremony.
SM East’s February production of The Drowsy Chaperone garnered the theatre department 10 nominations — including Outstanding Overall Production — heading into awards night. And when the envelopes were opened, four Lancers won awards in three categories for their acting abilities. Senior Lily Kaufmann won Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role, sophomore Abby Cramer won Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role and juniors Alec and Justin Armer, twins, won Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role.
“We’re shocked,” the Armers said simultaneously.
“I think people like the twin factor,” added Alec.
The 10 nominations for Drowsy Chaperone were six more than for last year’s musical, Bye, Bye Birdie. The nominations included Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Overall Production. Senior Maggie Niven, who directed The Drowsy Chaperone, was also nominated for Outstanding Artistic Contribution by a Student. Kaufmann led all Lancers with three overall nominations. Kaufmann was nominated in the Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role as well last year.
As the Outstanding Actress winner, Kaufmann earns the right to represent Kansas City in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards July 1 in New York.
Because with the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, you’d better believe pool season is here.
I know, I know…it’s been a li’l chilly these past couple days. But the weekend forecast has us hitting 79 degrees on Saturday and 77 on Sunday (and maybe a chance of thunderstorms…)
Anydoodle, the Prairie Village pool opens for the season Saturday at 11 a.m. Daily gate admission is $7 this year.
Fairway’s public pool opens Saturday at 11 a.m. as well.
An observant and understandably curious reader noticed the following flier on a lamppost at 91st and Delmar in Prairie Village:
We haven’t been brave enough to call the numbers to find out more. But I can tell you this: With a reward of two shillings on the line, that sloth isn’t going to stay lost for long!