Governor Sam Brownback, speaking at the joint meeting of the Beloit Lions and Beloit Rotary Clubs Monday noon, stressed the positive things going on in the State of Kansas. The Governor admits the National News never has anything good to say about what is going on in Kansas and continually focuses on the down side of things.
In his speech to those gathered in the NCK Technical College Conference Room Brownback talked about the positive things he has been able to accomplish since taking office that have started a turnaround in the state's economy.
The Governor said the only way he can counteract these negative reports is to get out and tell the story so that the people of Kansas can hear and understand what is really happening. "There's lot of positive things going on in Kansas that are worth hearing about," Brownback told his audience.
When he took office the State of Kansas had a $500,000 deficit and the state can't operate with a deficit so there were a lot of things that needed changing, the Governor said, and to put it bluntly the States economy was in the ditch. He advocated cutting taxes to help promote the growth of business. At the end of that year they turned in a positive balance of $876.05. While this isn't a very large amount it was on the plus side instead of a deficit and proves the State is headed in the right direction to solve some of it's problems.
Brownback congratulated Ron Harris, Vice President of Operations at AGCO LLC and Eric Burks, President of NCK Technical College of Beloit, for their success in encouraging students to enroll in classes at NCKTC while still in high school since the State of Kansas will pay for 100 percent of their education at the college during that time. Students need to get the skills they need to succeed and be able to move forward with their education wherever they choose to do that.
The Governor has been faulted for cutting the budget for Education in K through 12 but he said this isn't so because one-half of the State's budget goes to that area of education. About the time he took office the base state aid to schools from the federal government went down and jobs were lost. At the present time, there has been a gain of over 40,000 jobs in the state and people will come where there are jobs. Seventy-seven percent of jobs in Kansas are for small businesses.
Kansas needs a strong agricultural base and for this reason the Governor said, he started a program for rural opportunities. There has been a lot of population decline in rural areas. Kansas has lot ten percent of its population over the last decade. He wants to see this grow and the population be brought back up. For this reason, Brownback offered an income tax rebate for a period of five years to resident who move back to Kansas from out of state in a program called the Kansas Rural Opportunity Zone or the ROZ program. About 900 people have taken them on this program since it started, he said.
"It is a good time to be in Kansas," the governor said. Kansas agriculture is striving and is feeding more people, manufacturing is coming back, the service section is picking up and unemployment is down."
Hospital Administrator, David Dick thanked the Governor for his interest in helping Critical Access Hospitals in the State. Brownback said he sees huge problems with "ObamaCare" right out the Gate. It has had a rocky start already and is a heavily mandated program and Kansas is basically a Medi-Care state.
"When you put more government into a program there is always more cost involved. I don't know how this program is going to work out. I feel the country works better with more freedom than with more government. If you tell people, here's the playing field, go play ball they usually make it work. I think at some time in the future our country is going to go through a rough time. WE all need to pray for the future of our country and of our state."
Dignitaries present at the luncheon event included North Central Kansas Technical College President, Eric Burks, who introduced the rest of the head table including State Representatives Susan Concannon and Trey Waymaster, Rotary Club President, Eldon Koepke, Lions Club President, Stewart Porter, Glennys Doane, NCKTC Board Member, Ron Harris, Vice President of Operations at AGCO LLC, and Father Keiffer who gave the invocation.
Beloit Lions Club President, Stewart Porter, gave a short background of Lions Club member, Hal Steiner. Porter presented Steiner with a plaque commemorating his 50 years of continued service to the club. The NCK Tech College staff served the meal. Following the meeting the Governor was taken on a brief tour of the North Central Kansas Technical College led by President Burks.
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