Legislators, Crowd Salute Charlie
Jeff Garretson - Sat 12:42 PM 06/16/2012
Outgoing Representative Charlie Roth took time to reflect on eight years of service in the Kansas Legislature - and soak in some applause from those in attendance at Saturday's Legislative Update.
Roth was joined by Representative Steven Johnson, Senator Pete Brungardt and a crowd of about 35 Saline County residents as they gathered Saturday morning at the Chamber's Visit Salina Annex on W. Ash, for the final 2012 update from Topeka.
Roth was upbeat as he looked back at his part in making state policy, "We passed some meaningful legislation I think," he said.
"The clean indoor air act is what I enjoyed the most, improving the health of Kansans."
However, Roth along with Johnson and Brungardt were cautious about what lies ahead in the 2013 session.
During the 90-minute meeting, legislators fielded questions on the budget, tax code, education, KPERS, and partisan politics in Kansas.
Representative Steven Johnson told the gathering that working together in Topeka had its share of brick walls built by partisan politics. "Too many will hold answers walking in - and don't want to have a discussion," he said.
Senator Pete Brungardt called the current tax plan, which the nonpartisan Legislative Research Department estimated a reduction in Kansas government revenues by $4.5 billion over the next six years, wishful thinking.
"We have the irony of somebody running the company who's getting their income tax free, all the people who work for them, paying taxes - which is inequitable on its face and not a good plan," he said. "It doesn't translate to more jobs or more economic development."
Tip of the hat to Charlie
During their closing statements, both Representative Steven Johnson and Senator Pete Brungardt praised Roth for his service to the state and thanked him for his commitment to the people of the 71st District.
Brungardt told the crowd, "Kansas is a better place because of the work Charlie has done."
Charlie Roth announced in early April of this year that he would not seek reelection for the next legislative term.
Roth tells KSAL News, "I didn't get in this to have it be a career," he said. "I thought it was a good opportunity to be of service, it was - and I got more out it than I put in."