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  • Last modified 18 days ago (Dec. 31, 2020)

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An agenda for 2021

Once we’ve canned COVID and stored politicians’ silly slogans until next election year, it’ll be time to think about what we really want to accomplish in 2021.

Come up with your list and be sure to share it with your elected officials. Don’t let them distract you with hot button topics that don’t really address things you care about.

Here are some items on our list:

ENCOURAGE EDUCATION — To be competitive in today’s global economy, workers need to have special skills and creativity.

Whether it’s a unique trade or a broadly educated and enterprising spirit, workers of tomorrow will need more than what’s offered through grade 12.

Yet taxpayers’ willingness to invest in education often ends there, and many of the dollars devoted to kindergarten through 12th grade go not to educational essentials but to entertaining extracurriculars.

It’s time to make education after high school affordable to all by reducing tuition and increasing taxpayer support for vocational and post-secondary schools.

SUPPORT SMALLNESS — What the U.S. considers a small business is, by Marion County standards, a large one.

Businesses with up to 100 or more employees and $6 million or more in sales may be dwarfs in comparison to Walmart or Amazon, but they’re giants in Marion County.

It’s time for government to create a new class of smaller-than-small businesses and support them with simplified regulation.

It’s ridiculous smaller-than-small businesses have to pony up for costly payroll services just to figure out how much taxes to withhold from employee paychecks. And woe to the tiny business in Kansas that tries to sell things by mail. A bigger business can afford costly computers that identify and calculate rates for each of the state’s 987 constantly changing sales tax districts. The little guy does it manually.

What was designed to make sure Amazon paid its due has actually become a grossly unfair burden on businesses that try to compete with it.

DISCONNECT ROBOCALLERS — Just how hard is it to say you can’t call people when they don’t want to be called? In the past 12 months, we’ve identified 1,156 telephone numbers that have inflicted robocalls on just two phone lines we use. Why can’t they and the people they buy telephone service from be banned from connecting?

OPEN UP TO OPENNESS — Decades ago, Kansas was a pioneer in making public meetings and documents more available to citizens. Years of neglect have left it with antiquated laws that do more to encourage secrecy than they do to protect the public’s right to know.

Allow no action to be taken on items not included on agendas distributed in advance.

Make all probable-cause warrants public documents. Require that all secret sessions be recorded — and the recordings released if a judge determines the secrecy was illegal. Put a halt to government being able to briefly post public notices online, where no one can find them and they can be altered without consequence.

We admit we have a vested interest in all these priorities. You should have vested interests in yours, too. The important thing is, don’t get lulled into talking only about things that you and they can’t really change. Speak to your representatives now, and let them know what you really care about.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified Dec. 31, 2020

 

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