Representative, 70th District
House Speaker Ray Merrick appointed me to serve as vice chair of the House Post-Audit Committee, which reviews select state programs for effectiveness and determines whether tax dollars allocated to those programs are properly spent.
The Capitol restoration project has finally reached completion. While the $330 million cost is rightly the subject of debate and critique, there is no argument about the restored Capitol being a stunning monument and ready to serve another 150 years.
More good news can be found in our recent labor report. Kansas unemployment has fallen below 5 percent and is now in line with pre-recession levels. Thousands of new jobs have been created. Tax policies enacted by the Legislature, along with the hard work and ingenuity of Kansas entrepreneurs are spurring our economy firmly into positive territory.
An interesting note about tax revenues — though we significantly reduced the tax burden for every Kansas taxpayer, state tax revenues are exceeding estimates. That means we are running ahead of budget, our bills are being paid on time, and our balance sheet is strong.
Regarding education, Gov. Sam Brownback announced during his State of the State Address his proposal for all day kindergarten. There are divergent views in the Legislature about the proposal, prompting the appointment of special legislative panel to examine the concept and its merits. The panel will report its findings later in the session to the full House.
Twenty-seven students from Solomon High School spent a day touring the Capitol and conversing with me. It was great visiting with them explaining many of the legislative processes, answering their questions, and hearing their ideas and opinions on things happening here in Topeka.
Please share your thoughts with me on these or any other issue of concern. I can be reached by email at email@example.com or drop me a letter at Rep. John E. Barker; 103 Wassinger Ave.; Abilene, KS 67410. I can be reached via phone in Topeka during the legislative session at (785) 296-7674 or in the district at (785) 479-7519. Thank you again for the honor of serving as your representative.