Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Branch VP Lavonta Williams elected Vice-Mayor of the City of Wichita!!!

This morning, Lavonta Williams, who currently serves as the City Councilwoman for Wichita District 1, the Vice President of the Wichita Branch NAACP, the Secretary for the Kansas State Conference of the NAACP, and a host of other positions, was elected to her newest post. By a unanimous 7-0 vote, Lavonta Williams was elected to serve as the Vice Mayor for the City of Wichita! Her election was historic; already the first African American Woman elected to the City Council, she is now the first African American Woman to serve as Vice Mayor for the City. What's next for Vice Mayor Williams??? We'll keep you posted!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Misplaced Priorities: A new report from the NAACP

On April 7th, the NAACP released a new report, Misplaced Priorities, that examines America's escalating levels of prison spending and its impact on state budgets and our nation’s children.
Misplaced Priorities tracks the steady shift of state funds away from education and toward the criminal justice system. Researchers have found that over-incarceration most often impacts vulnerable and minority populations, and that it destabilizes communities.
The report is part of the NAACP’s “Smart and Safe Campaign,” and offers a set of recommendations that will help policymakers in all 50 states downsize prison populations and shift the savings to education budgets.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Join us April 4th for the "We Are One... Standing in solidarity with Labor" rally

On April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers who were standing up and demanding fair treatment and the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life.

Today, that same demand is electrifying people across America. It's the demand of all people - Black, White, Latino,  and Asian American: The right to join together to fight for our common dreams.

On Monday, April 4th, Join the Wichita Branch and Kansas NAACP, the Wichita/Hutchison Labor Federation, and the Kansas Chapter of the National Organization for Women as we STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH LABOR.

What: The "WE ARE ONE" Rally
When: April 4th at 7:00pm
Where: Interfaith Ministries  (829 N Market St)
The event is free and open to the public

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sign The Petition to Save our Schools


NAACP Units throughout the State of Kansas will be collecting signatures on a petition calling upon the Governor and the Legislature to respect and honor their sworn oath to "support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Kansas" by allocating 'suitable provisions for finance of the educational interests of the state' as required.

To add your name to the petition, CLICK HERE to be taken to the online form

Scan the code in the featured graphic to access the mobile form

OR if you would be willing to collect signatures, CLICK HERE to download a copy of the petition form.

Completed forms should be mailed to the Kansas State Conference on the NAACP at 829 N Market St, Wichita KS, 67214...

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Why the School funding fight is "THE" fight!


Kansas, like most States, is now dealing with a profound revenue shortfall with some estimating the gap as wide as $550 million dollars. To close that funding gap, the Kansas Legislature proposes that we 'shrink the size of Government' by cutting staff, services, and increasing privatization. Proponents of this approach argue that the worsening economic conditions necessitate this approach, and we simply can no longer afford to provide the level of services that we have become accustomed to. Proponents of this approach argue that as we begin to 'shrink the size of Government', and 'decrease the tax burden', businesses will rebound, new businesses will be attracted to our State, bringing new jobs and thereby expanding the tax base, and our State economy will rebound. And proponents of this approach argue that to solve the problem, we need to reduce funding to public schools...

What these proponents WON'T tell you is that we created this revenue shortfall by pushing corporate and business tax cuts thorough our legislature every successive year since 1997. What they won't tell you is the legislature has passed more than $668 million dollars in tax cuts since 2008! There's even a bill in our legislature RIGHT NOW (SB95) that would phase out ALL corporate income taxes over the next five years and reduce revenues even further. But they would ask that we ignore this totally reckless fiscal policy, treat these tax-cuts as sacrosanct, and allow them to make up the shortfall by de-funding our children's education.

We have fought for years in favor of reforms and programs shown to improve educational outcomes for children. We have fought for smaller class sizes - Just like the private schools and affluent districts maintain for their children. We have fought for highly qualified teachers - Just like the private schools and affluent districts maintain for their children. We have fought for up-to-date books and equipment - Just like the private schools and affluent districts maintain for their children. And now, under the guise of solving a revenue shortfall that we created through irresponsible and unaffordable business and corporate tax-cuts that have produced NO stimulative affect here in Kansas, we are now witness to our legislature acting to de-fund those reforms and do irreparable damage to our public school system. 

- And if any of you feel that last statement was hyperbolic, I would ask you to remember that for all the talk about running the schools more like a business - Public schools are NOT BUSINESSES. The students within them are not commodities or products - their progress is not tied to an assembly line that can be stopped and restarted. If in response to our current budget challenges, we diminish the quality of education that we provide to our children for the next year, or two, or five - Those are years that those children will not get back! They will move forward in an increasingly competitive economy with limited skills and abilities courtesy of our supply-side fetishes and real-world myopia. - 

In response to the proposed actions of the State, school districts around Kansas are making plans to increase class sizes, limit transportation, close down schools, limit access to extra-curricular and enrichment type activities to families with enough disposable income to pay for them, use older books and materials, etc. My friends on the other side of this issue say that we MUST do this so that we don't pass this crippling debt on to our children. 

But I've said, and I'll say again: It is immoral for us to pay our debts for services that we've enjoyed with money that we've taken away from our children's education.  It is wrong and we can not remain silent while our children's ability to compete in a global world economy is traded for short term corporate profits. 



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Advance Voting sites are now open for City and School Board Elections

You can vote in city and school elections at 15 sites in Sedgwick County starting today. Among the choices for voters are Wichita mayor, four Wichita City Council seats and Wichita school board seats.

You can vote in advance by mail or at the sites below. Or you can vote Tuesday, April 5, at your designated polling place.

Voters can cast ballots at the election office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday, or at an advance voting center from noon to 7 p.m. today and Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Here are the locations:
  • Bel Aire City Building, 7651 E. Central Park
  • Center for Health and Wellness, 2707 E. 21st St.
  • Church of the Holy Spirit, 18218 W. U.S. 54, Goddard
  • First United Methodist Church, 560 N. Park, Valley Center
  • Grace Presbyterian Church, 5002 E. Douglas
  • Haysville Activity Center, 7106 S. Broadway, Haysville
  • Independent Living Resource Center, 3033 W. Second St.
  • Machinists Building, 3830 S. Meridian (1-4 p.m. Saturday)
  • Maranatha Worship Center, 888 S. Webb Road
  • Reformation Lutheran Church Parish Hall, 7601 E. 13th St.
  • Sedgwick County Zoo Cargill Learning Center, 5555 Zoo Blvd.
  • Sharon Baptist Church, 2221 S. Oliver
  • St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 2555 Hyacinth
  • Westlink Church of Christ, 10025 W. Central
  • Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 431 S. Woodlawn Blvd., Derby

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Let your Legislators Hear Your Voice by calling 352 BE HEARD

Have you ever wanted to sound off and let your legislators know exactly how you felt about an issue? Have you ever really wanted an opportunity to weigh in on an issue, but you were unable to make it to a specific hearing or forum?

352 BE HEARD is an initiative designed to afford you the opportunity to speak directly to your elected representatives and to have them hear your opinions in your own voice. Simply dial 352 BE HEARD (352-234-3274) from your phone and sound off on the issue of the day. Messages are then converted into MP3 format and complied on interactive documents which are then sent electronically to Legislators, elected officials and the press.

Selected messages may even be made available through the blog or other interactive media so that we can all hear the real voices of the General Public live and unfiltered.

As the Kansas Legislature prepares to cut more than 50 MILLION dollars from our schools, leading to furloughs and increased class sizes, as they debate rolling back human and civil rights protections that we all take for granted, as they consider a push to eliminate get-out the vote type registration drives and door-to-door canvassing through a vacuous Voter ID Bill, and as they prepare to vote on yet ANOTHER Tax Cut bill - this time to phase out ALL Corporate Income taxes over the next 5 years Despite the fact we are already facing a $550 million dollar Revenue shortfall, YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER.

Please call 352 BE HEARD - and let YOUR voice Be Heard!



352 BE HEARD (352-234-3274) is a service jointly provided by the Wichita Branch and Kansas State Conference of the NAACP.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Let's tell the Truth about Kansas' budget shortfall


Gov. Sam Brownback announced his plan to cut $50 million from public schools. His proposed cut to base state aid to education will reduce annual school spending per pupil by $22, from $4,012 to $3,990. In fact the Governor's proposed Education cuts total nearly 90% of the $56.5 million in overall reductions that have been announced thus far.

The legislators and even the press have chimed in stating that while these are difficult cuts, they are in fact necessary due to our current fiscal condition.

The only problem with this is that we all seem to act as though our current fiscal condition was magically imposed on us and that we are merely reacting to circumstance... When the Truth is, many of the very same Legislators who are now looking to take an ax to public schools, created or at least exacerbated our fiscal tsunami by going to Topeka and voting to reduce revenues year after year through irresponsible tax cuts.

Our Legislature has passed some form of tax cut in EVERY successive session since 1997.

In fact, if you just look at the tax cuts passed since 2005, to include the Corporate rate cut in the Omnibus Tax bill of 2008, the phase out of the Franchise tax, the phasing out of Estate taxes, the various sales tax exemptions, and others included in the 18 tax cutting bills we've passed during this period, the cumulative reduction in State revenues that can be DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTED to the passage of these bills is $668,086,000.00 as of 2011.

668 Million dollars in tax cuts since 2005 and now we're faced with a 550 million dollar revenue shortfall...

And each time business taxes are cut we are told that this is good for us, because by cutting business taxes, we'll entice more businesses to come to Kansas and our tax base will actually grow as jobs and revenue floods the State. We're told that by cutting business and corporate taxes, Corporations and business leaders will reinvest their windfall profits into their companies and expand, creating more and more jobs... But the economic Shangri-La we've all been promised never actually materializes. Our Corporate and Business leaders increase their handsome portfolio's while the rest of us trod along with frozen pay scales and worsening benefits, while trying not to get sick.

We've invested 668 million dollars in State Revenues since 2005. Where are the jobs that money was supposed to generate?

But of course, the answer to this question is - we simply need to cut more... Like SB95, now in the Committee on Assements and Taxation, that calls for a 5 year phase out of ALL income taxes for Corporations, or HB2284 which would make it a misdemeanor for any lobbyist paid with public funds to even ask for a tax increase.

So how do we dig ourselves out of this hole? - Well the legislature's answer seems to be that Step 1. we keep digging, and Step 2. we attempt to plug the hole on the fly by undermining the public schools.

Now I'm sure my friends on the other side of this argument will sharply disagree with my assessment. I'm sure they would all argue that these cuts are absolutely necessary so as to protect our children from inheriting a crippling debt.

But it is intellectually inconsistent to claim you are protecting the children's future by paying your bills with money you've taken from their schools. It is also morally wrong.

Bills like HCR5010 which would amend the State's constitution, eliminating the requirement for providing the necessary funding to offer a "suitable" education to all children, along with HB2193 to redefine At-Risk and redistribute Title I funds aways from the youth who need it most, reductions to Supplemental State Aid, and reductions of weighting factors are shortsighted and will ultimately prove destructive. And they are even less palatable when we consider that the money saved will be used to fill the shortfall caused by an irresponsible tax cut policy which our legislature has yet to abandon.


We've got to do more than just be angry...

We've got to put down our petty divisions and disagreements, stand together, and go up there and say HELL NO.

Now who's with me?


Selected Tax Cuts since 2000

Sales tax exemption for grain storage extended – SB 59 (2000);
“Telephonestead” income tax credits – SB 226 (2000);
Use of farm net operating loss carrybacks expanded – SB 226 (2000);
“Integrated plant” sales tax exemption codified, refunds provided – HB 2011 (2000);
Tax incentives for independent power producers – HB 2266 (2001);
Tax exemption for eligible electric generation facilities – HB 2245 (2001);
Income tax credit for abandoned-well plugging made permanent – SB 45 (2001);
Property tax exemption expansion for farm storage and drying equipment – SB 138 (2001);
Expansion of Job Investment Credit Act – SB 146 (2001);
Income tax credit for business research and development – HB 2055 (2001);
Income tax credit for historic preservation – HB 2128 (2001);
Certified capital formation company tax credits – HB 2505 (2002);
Business machinery and equipment tax credits expanded – SB 39 (2002);
Tax credits made available to railroads for first time – SB 39 (2002);
Special apportionment formula for investment funds service corporations – SB 39 (2002);
Diversion of tire manufacturer employee withholding tax – SB 39 (2002);
Low cost ($250 to $400) exemption expansion for business machinery – SB 39 (2002);
Agricultural land capitalization rate change lowers property tax value – SB 39 (2002);
Increase in sales tax from 4.9 to 5.3 percent – SB 39 (2002);
Increase in cigarette tax from 24 to 79 cents per pack – SB 39 (2002);
Reimposition of succession/inheritance tax on certain heirs – SB 39 (2002);
Historic preservation credits expanded – SB 39 (2002);
Various taxpayer fairness provisions – SB 39 (2002);
IMPACT program expanded yet again – SB 565 (2002);
Tax credit for port authority debt retirement – HB 2586 (2002);
Motor fuel tax increase 2 cents per gallon – HB 3011 (2002);
Sales tax rate of 5.3 made permanent – SB 265 (2003);
Statewide STAR bond (sales tax diversion) authority expansion – Sub HB 2208 (2003);
Employee withholding tax diversion (bonds) for major manufacturers – SB 281 (2003);
Tax amnesty – HB 2005 (2003);
Streamlined sales tax compliance provisions – HB 2005 (2003);
Succession tax repealed retroactive to enactment – HB 2005 (2003);
Estate tax filing exemption threshold to mirror federal in 2007 – HB 2005 (2003);
Retailers given temporary choice re sourcing (streamlined) – Sub SB 147 (2004);
Increase in franchise tax – Sub SB 147 (2004);
Imposition of presumptive sales tax on certain private car sales – Sub SB 147 (2004);
Diversion of revenues authorized for biosciences industry – HB 2647 (2004);
Further expansion of IMPACT program – HB 2647 (2004);
Rural business development tax credit – HB 2647 (2004);
Angel investor tax credit – HB 2647 (2004);
Sales tax exemption for computer software customization services – Sub SB 147 (2004);
Decelerated sales tax remittance schedule for certain retailers – Sub SB 147 (2004);
Repeal of presumptive sales tax on private care sales – SB 23 (2005);
Tax credits for employment of math/science teachers – SB 138 (2005);
Qualified manufacturer act authorizes diversion/return of withholding tax – HB 2265 (2005);
Further expansion of IMPACT program – HB 2265 (2005);
Six-year extension of sales tax exemption associated with enterprise zones – HB 2164 (2005);
Expansion of rural business and community entrepreneurship tax credits – SB 324 (2006);
Reaffirming phase-out of estate tax – SB 365 (2006);
Tax credit for employment of ex-military personnel – SB 432 (2006);
Property tax exemption for business machinery and equipment – HB 2583 (2006);
Extend rural business development tax credit sunset by five years– HB 2004 (2007);
Tax credit for certain film production activities – HB 2004 (2007);
Expansion of angel investor tax credit act – HB 2004 (2007);
Extend sunset on STAR bond authority by five years – HB 2005 (2007);
Phase out and ultimate repeal of corporation franchise tax – HB 2264 and SB 215 (2007)
Income tax exemption for certain social security benefits – HB 2031 (2007);
Single-factor apportionment formula for certain manufacturers – SB 240 (2007) ;
Homestead program expansion – Sub HB 2476 (2007);
Earned income tax credit expansion – HB 2031 (2007);
Property tax exemption for nuclear generation facilities – HB 2038 (2007)
Income tax incentives for biofuels – HB 2038 (2007)
Income tax incentives for renewable electric cogeneration – HB 2038 (2007)
Property and income tax incentives for waste heat utilization systems – HB 2038 (2007)
Expansion of certain incentives to all biomass-to-energy plants – HB 2038 (2007)
Sales tax exemption for certain storm-damaged business purchases – HB 2240 (2007)
Corporate rate cut and various apportionment provisions – S Sub HB 2434 (2008)
Disaster relief income tax credits for business investments – S Sub HB 2434 (2008)
Safe Senior Property Tax Credits – S Sub HB 2434 (2008)
Disaster-related sales tax exemptions – S Sub HB 2434 (2008)

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Coalition of Kansas Civic Organizations to March for Civil Rights Protections on 3/19


On Saturday, March 19th, at 12:00pm, the Kansas NAACP, the Topeka Center for Peace and Social Justice, Kansas Equality Coalition, the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, Kansas National Organization for Women, and the Kansas League of Women Voters will stand together in an historic alliance to oppose the systematic dismantling of civil and equal rights protections in Kansas.

These organizations, their members, allies, and supporters, will meet at Monroe Elementary School in Topeka (the Brown Vs Board Historic site), and we will march to the Capitol Building. Put on your walking shoes and meet us at the Capitol!!!

Contacts:
Reverend Ben Scott, President, Topeka NAACP
785-266-5688 / naacptopeka1@att.net

Jim McCullough, Director, Topeka Center for Peace and Social Justice
785-232-4388 / topekacpj@aol.com

Thomas Witt, Chair, Kansas Equality Coalition
316-683-1706 / chair@kansasequalitycoalition.org

Holly Weatherford, Program Director, ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri
816-756-3113 x 234 / hweatherford@aclukswmo.org

Kari Ann Rinker, State Coordinate, Kansas NOW
620-245-4904 / coordinator@ksnow.org

Ernestine Krehbiel, President, Kansas League of Women Voters
316-652-9229 / ekrehbiel@cox.net

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Jung/Myers Briggs

INTJ - "Mastermind". Introverted intellectual with a preference for finding certainty. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. 2.1% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

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