A couple of announcements from Kansas officials contained some positive economic news, a rare event in recent years. Revenue projections are higher; the unemployment rate is lower. For the first time in three years, the state's revenue forecast is optimistic. The unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, its lowest reading since 2000. These reports don't obviate the serious economic problems the state still faces--a looming budget crisis and school finance issues, but might they be a harbinger of improving conditions? Do these reports suggest there's reason for optimism? This year's budget shortage was fixed by a one-time solution. What about the $900 million deficit over the next couple of years? How will that be resolved? Democratic legislators (and probably more than a few Republicans) say tax hikes are mandatory. There's no other solution. Are they right? What's going on in the economy that's allowing the improvements mentioned above to occur? Is it the resilience of American business? The ebb and flow of the marketplace? The Brownback policies being redeemed?
Without endorsing either a new KCI or revamping the existing one, the Kansas City Star editorial board is calling for a November election to resolve the question. Columnist Steve Rose, however, is solidly supporting the one-terminal approach and believes the idea can be sold to potentially skeptic voters. This is in sharp contrast to Rose's earlier views that no amount of money or advertising will convince voters to adopt the one-terminal idea. Do you agree with Steve that the November 4th election results in Kansas City will affect the way voters view the KCI question? Have you seen a perceptible change in the way people are thinking about KCI? Until recently, the prevailing view seemed to be that people only wanted modifications, not a completely new facility. Is it primarily the civic and business community that wants a new airport? Should the city council just make a decision and not submit the question to voters? What will the council do? Will it put both options on a November ballot or just submit the one-terminal idea? What is your preference? Should the airport be designed for local users or out-of-town travelers? Are their interests different? The same?
Leaders of Missouri's two largest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, now seem willing to work together for mutual benefit, a contrast to historic precedent. At the invitation of the newly elected St. Louis mayor, Sly James traveled there and spoke at Lyda Krewson's inaugural. Krewson is the first woman ever elected mayor of St.Louis. Both seem willing to give cooperation a try. What would it mean if these two cities joined forces? How much of an impact might a Kansas City-St. Louis coalition have on state government? Could they form an alliance to lobby legislation deemed beneficial to both? Beyond the state legislature, where might cooperation be important? Is there a natural rivalry between the two cities? If so, is it better to stay that way? Beyond the state legislature, where might cooperation be important? Do the two cities have common concerns? What are they?
Ruckus offers viewpoints on top stories from four different panelists each week. The Ruckettes, who are public newsmakers and officials, provide a diversity of opinion through debate and discussion on issues affecting the Kansas City metro. Moderator Mike Shanin leads this ensemble of conservatives and liberals who provide lively round table talks about issues that face our community today.
Watch Ruckus Thursdays at 7 p.m. Join the conversation at @KCPT by using #RuckusKC and KCPT.
Mike Shanin’s been hosting Ruckus since the program’s debut in 1995 and in recent years, has also served as Managing Editor. A veteran Kansas City radio broadcaster, Shanin has worked as a talk show host, political analyst, news anchor and in management. Since leaving radio in early 2012, he’s done freelance pubic speaking and commercial radio and television projects. A graduate of both Northwest Missouri State University and Park University, Shanin’s academic emphasis was on Political Science, Social Science, and Public Administration. He served in the U.S. Army as a Broadcast and Information Specialist between1968 and 1970, stationed initially at Ft. McPherson, GA., and later with the First Infantry Division in Vietnam. @MikeShanin
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