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Headlines for Saturday, February 20, 2016

Proposals Address State's High  Grocery Taxes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas lawmakers are discussing two separate proposals for lowering the state's sales tax on groceries. The Kansas City Star reports 12 Kansas senators are sponsoring a proposal to offer voters a constitutional amendment that would reduce the sales tax to zero over three years. One of the sponsors, Democratic Senator Tom Holland, says voters need to have a voice in how the state is handling its tax policies. Unlike many other states, Kansas charges its full state sales tax rate on groceries. The rate was increased last year to 6.5 percent.   The Kansas City Star reports another proposal would reduce the grocery sales tax to 2.6 percent while also ending an income tax exemption for 330,000 businesses.  The House Taxation Committee plans to hold hearings on that proposal.


KSU Veterinary Laboratory Proposal Approved 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A proposal to build a new veterinary laboratory at Kansas State University is one step closer to reality.  On Wednesday,The Kansas Board of Regents approved the university's proposal for a Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, with an estimated cost of $43.2 million. The project still must be approved the Kansas Legislature.  The Manhattan Mercury reports the university plans an 80,000-square-foot facility. The new building will allow the university to consolidate its diagnostic and research labs with offices and support facilities.  Regent Bill Feuerborn said Kansas State will seek $10 million in private donations for the project.  A timeline for the construction, if the project is approved, has not been set.  


A Facelift in the Future for State Fairgrounds

 HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas State Fair officials are considering a major redesign of the fairgrounds in Hutchinson. The Hutchinson News reports that all of the current proposals are long-range ideas but the goal is to make the fairgrounds a more modern attraction. Chip Overton, with Keffer/Overton Associates, presented six concepts to the fair board this week.


U.S. Oil and Gas Exploration Down

 HOUSTON (AP) _ Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Incorporated says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 27 this week to 514. The Houston based firm says Kansas shut down one rig this week, while Texas shuttered 12 and Oklahoma closed down two.



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