• P.J. Griekspoor

    First property taxes, now sales tax on equipment

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 24, 2015

    Out there in the alternate universe where eliminating income taxes for lawyers, investment bankers, financial planners and doctors seemed like a great idea, the consequences are beginning to hit home in the real world. With a budget hole approaching $1 billion to fill, the Kansas Legislature is looking for ways to find big bucks and their hungry urban eyes are falling on rural tax breaks. I remember warning of this exact consequence in editorials and television appearances, pointing out that…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Just What Is It That Constitutes Free Speech?

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 9, 2014

    There’s an interesting question being raised in Congress in regard to what constitutes free speech. The Senate on Monday invoked cloture in the debate over Senate Joint Resolution 19, which would amend the Constitution to allow Congress and the states to regulate how much money can be spent to influence elections. Cloture is a vote to end debate and clear the way for an up or down vote on the floor. The amendment would be the 28th to the Constitution. It would have to pass both houses…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Taking a Few Days of Vacation, Visiting Washington, D.C.

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 2, 2013

    I’m about to do something I don’t do very often: take vacation days. As most of you know, I really, really love my job. I love it so much, in fact, that I find myself forgetting it is actually a job and not something I do just because I want to do it. I guess that is why I often forget that I am entitled to take vacation from it now and again. This week and next I am taking a few days either side of the annual North American Agricultural Journalists spring meeting (which…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Failure to Pass Farm Bill a Disappointment

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 21, 2012

    I got an Email today from 1st District Rep. Tim Huelskamp letting me know that that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to “Stop the War on Coal” on Friday before recessing until after the election in November. As far as I know, there is no looming deadline for stopping the war on coal. In fact, if part of the legislation is, as Huelskamp’s email indicated, prohibiting coal ash from being declared a hazardous waste material, it can probably…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farm Families Could Bear Heavy Load in School Fund Cuts

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 16, 2012

    I got a reminder this week from my Farm Progress colleague Holly Spangler in Illinois that the school funding crisis is nationwide. This is a struggle that faces not just farm families but urban families as well. In Wichita, my family is faced with losing the school community of which we have been a part for six years. Our 219-student Open Magnet, Emerson, is on the USD 259 chopping block, apparently because the community of which we are made is diverse enough that no one school will be…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Immigrant Policy Provides Interesting Divide

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 4, 2012

    I can't help wishing I could be a fly on the wall when the inner circle of Gov. Sam Brownback's advisers get together to talk about immigration. The conversation has to be interesting. On the one hand we have the new Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, elected in the great Tea Party sweep of 2010 on a campaign to stop voter fraud, which until he ran for office, no one in Kansas had ever thought much about. Stopping voter fraud is the thin veil that covers his real agenda, which is driving…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Roberts, Stabenow Show Rare Quality for Today's Washington: Congeniality

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 28, 2011

    Sens. Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow demonstrated a quality in extremely short supply in today's politics in a field hearing in Wichita last Thursday. They were congenial, respectful of differences of opinion and resolute about working together to come up with the best possible 2012 Farm Bill. And comfortable enough to joke easily. Roberts said that in the first field hearing on the 2012 Farm Bill on May 31 in Michigan, he learned to appreciate specialty crops. "Now, I have a Bing…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Here's to Hoping Washington Gets the Message

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 24, 2011

    If ever there was an argument for an agriculture safety net, this year's drought devastation covering more than two-thirds of Kansas should make it. On Wednesday, Sen. Pat Roberts was the guest of Reno County farmer Chad Basinger and his wife, Cassondra, for a tour of south central Kansas, where the only thing that's green is under irrigation and most of it isn't doing too well. The temperature hit 107 degrees as the Senator's tour bus traversed the county roads. Roberts joked about…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    A Kernel of Truth in Political Rhetoric

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 23, 2011

    Just when I thought this political season couldn't get any more nuts, Michelle Bachman takes the podium and guarantees that under her presidency, prices will come crashing down. Gas will be a $1.79, maybe $1.29. Candy bars will be a nickel and a loaf of bread 15 cents. Considering the political policies she advocates -- Warren Harding is a hero -- she just might do it. Plunge the U.S. into a depression that makes the 1930s  look like good times and you'll see deflation push those…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Ag Dodges First-Round Bullet

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 2, 2011

    Agriculture cuts were not part of the debt reduction agreement pounded out in Congress at the last minute today, says Tyler Lund, an aide in the office of Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran. That doesn't mean cuts aren't coming, however, he warned. He said program reductions are very likely to come in the future when the "super committee" in charge of identifying more spending reductions gets to work. Moran voted against the bill raising the debt ceiling and reducing spending, saying it was not…

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