The Agri-Business Council of Wichita is urging its members to organize and fight against a bill that has just moved out of the Kansas Senate Taxation and Assessment Committee that would drastically impact funding for county programs offered by Kansas State University Research and Extension.
Senate Bill 411 would remove the taxing authority of the Extension District elected officials and transfer it to the county commissioners of each of the counties that are a subset of the Extension District. Many Kansas agriculture groups are implementing a Call to Action, saying they believe that the bill, if it became law, would damage Extension districts and the Research and Extension program in general.
Call to Action
Farmers and business people who support them are being asked to contact their Senators by phone or in person and encourage a "no" vote on the bill. Without this personal information and first-hand knowledge the lawmakers could believe local citizens cannot adequately manage their own taxing authorities.
If you have questions, talk with your colleagues who are currently in Extension Districts. They can explain the burden and the inappropriateness of having multiple governing bodies within a district collectively responsible for the budget of the district.
At the Statehouse, several people spoke and provided written testimony to the Senate Committee in opposition to the bill. The Kansas Association of Counties has voiced its opposition to SB411, clearly indicating Commissioners trust the work of the elected officials of the Extension Districts and do not want those budgets back on their collective laps.
Those providing testimony on behalf of Extension in opposition of SB411 include:
Teresa Jones, Meadowlark Extension District #7 elected official; Cloud County Commissioners; Osage County Commissioners; Gary Thompson, Frontier Extension District #11 elected official; Bill Pannbacker, DVM, Washington County, Kansas Ag Producer; Washington County Commissioners; Republic County Commissioners; Clay County Commissioners; Dick Works, Allen County Commissioner; Tom Claussen, Mitchell County Commissioner and Post Rock Extension District #1 elected official; Kansas Association of Counties; Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn, President – Kansas Association of Counties, Coffey County Commissioner; Mark Nelson, Miami County citizen and former Extension Board member; Brad Carter, Miami County Extension Board Chair; Allen Warren, Bourbon County Commissioner; Ken Kuykendoll, Osage County Commissioner; Bob Standage, citizen member of Kansas Citizens for Extension Education, Thomas County; Dean Fitzsimmons, Pratt County Extension Board Chair and chair of Kansas Citizens for Extension Education; Lyle Wobker, Past Miami County Extension Board Chair and Past Kansas County Commissioners Association President; Deb Hadachek, Cuba KS (Republic County), Editor-Belleville Telescope; Bill Garrison, River Valley Extension District #4 elected official, chair.
To read the bill, follow this link.