Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Roundup: Those Peterson Boys

12/05/2012

The Peterson brothers are back.

Remember that these Assaria, Kansas, guys did a YouTube rap song, "I'm a farmer and I grow it." Got over 7.7 million views. 

Now they have another about the glories of farming. Above.

Check it out.

The Kansas Cliff — Who said Washington, D.C. and its fruitless debate over deficits is unique?

Last year Kansas cut income taxes. As a result, the state will bring in $705 million less in revenue this coming year.

However, the Kansas legislature and the Kansas governor (all led by Republicans) didn't pay for the tax cut. Now the state is facing a deficit. It has to raise more money or cut programs.

So far, it's done neither, according to the Kansas City Star's Brad Cooper. Gov. Sam Brownback tried to keep a penny on the state sales tax that's due to expire next July, but the legislature wouldn't agree. Brownback says he won't cut education or programs for the poor, but there is no indication how the state is going to make up for the lost revenue from the tax cuts.

Is this beginning to sound familiar?

Fiscal analysts say the tax cuts will cost $3.7 billion over five years. The governor and legislature say the cuts will pay for themselves by spurring growth. So far, that hasn't happened.

Rural Drivers and the Gas Tax — On the table in the budget talks is a rise in the federal gasoline tax

The 18.4 cent per gallon tax hasn't changed in 20 years, Politico reports. But as a way to raise money without raising income tax rates, it's still being considered.

Trouble is, the gas tax hike would hit rural residents more than urban.

Farmland in Mass. — A service helps people looking for land to farm find it in Massachusetts. 

Statewide Vouchers in Tennessee — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says any school voucher program should be available in every county in the state. 

The governor and legislature are mulling voucher legislation, where students could opt to take public money and enter private schools. 

Rolling Their Own — The town of Otis, Massachusetts, is raising money to pay for its own wind energy production. 

The town wants to produce enough electricity from wind to power city facilities — and to sell excess to neighboring communities. It would cost $6.5 million, which the town would finance through a bond.

"It’s pretty innovative for a small town out in the boonies," said Town Administrator Christopher Morris.

Hearse Etiquette — One of the great things about rural communities is that people still show respect for others. In particular, when a funeral party comes by, we pull over and stop. We pay our respects. 

Washington Post writer Ashley Halsey III tells us what happens in the city to a funeral procession:

Drivers cut into the procession, they block its passage, they lean on their horns.

They ignore the “Funeral” signs on each car. They pay no mind to the blink of emergency lights or shine of headlights. They show no interest in making way for the passing of the dead.

“People do not give respect to the funeral as they did years back,” Wilson said. “Everybody’s busier, and there are more cars. But people should still be showing respect.”

Hunters Beware — Don't shoot yourself in the foot.

That seems obvious, right. But Iowa reports a disturbing trend: hunters accidentally shooting themselves, mostly in the foot. 

There are many fewer accidents than 40 or 50 years ago, but an uptick recently in foot shootings.

Compromise on Farm Bill? — DTN's Jerry Hagstrom reports that Sen. Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican, said he was ready to compromise with Southern legislators who disagree on the commodity title of the Farm Bill. 

Oil Boom Fuels Rural America — The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. crude oil production is at its highest level in 15 years, 6.5 million barrels a day. 

The largest increases were in the Eagle Ford formation in Texas and in the Bakken Shale region of North Dakota. The Journal says the "revolution in U.S. energy production is due mostly to hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. When coupled with horizontal drilling techniques, fracking has allowed energy companies to tap into shale formations and release pockets of oil and natural gas that had been considered unreachable."

Keystone Report From Albion — Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality held a hearing last night on the route planned for the Keystone XL pipeline. There was a standing-room-only crowd at the Boone County Fairgrounds for the event, the Omaha World-Herald reports

The hearing collected the pros and cons. You can read about them here. 

One note, Omaha attorney Brian Jorde said that 40 percent of Nebraska landowners had denied access to the pipeline builder to even survey a route across their land.

Missouri River Diversion — One long-range proposal to solve the West's water shortage problems is to run a pipeline from the Missouri River to Colorado. Water would be stored in Front Range reservoirs.