A small but passionate tax-rights group met with Kansas Speaker of the House Doug Mays Wednesday night in Lawrence, commended him for holding the line on taxes and complained about efforts by others to increase taxes, especially for education.
About a dozen people met with Mays, a Topeka Republican, during a meeting of the fledgling Douglas County chapter of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation.
Bob Simmermon, who attended the group's first meeting more than a month ago, said he hoped the AFPF group's numbers would increase, but said it would happen "only when people get fed up with schools wanting more money."
Mays was among allies at the meeting when he gave a glowing account of the state's handling of the school finance lawsuit now before the Kansas Supreme Court. The Legislature allocated $127 million for education without raising taxes.
"I don't understand why education wanted us to raise taxes," Mays said. "Anytime you can help the economic environment in Kansas and not raise taxes I think you're doing good."
The Legislature is in recess now but will return for a wrap-up session Wednesday. Mays said he expected that session, which will be used to complete the state budget, to take no more than four days.
Mays also said he wasn't concerned about questions regarding the school finance plan raised by the Supreme Court. Those questions will be addressed by the Legislature's attorneys during a hearing May 11.
"What we expect the court will do is hang onto the case for a while, and we hope the court doesn't decide to do anything that might bring about a constitutional crisis," Mays said.
The Supreme Court can't force another branch of the state government -- the Legislature -- to do something any more than the Legislature can tell the court how to resolve its cases, Mays said.
"I congratulate you guys in the House," Jim Mullins, who is heading the organization of AFPF in Lawrence, said of the school finance bill. "Nobody thought you could do it, especially in this community."
In addition to Mays, Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, and Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, attended the meeting.
Assisting Mullins with starting AFPF in Lawrence and attending the meeting were Alan Cobb, AFPF state coordinator from Topeka, and Chris Hanna, associate state coordinator.
Mullins and Cobb said they weren't disappointed in the low turnout for the meeting. Cobb said the group was just getting started.
"We have a lot of people around town, but not all of them could make it," Mullins said.
AFPF is a nationwide organization of people committed to advancing every individual's right to economic freedom and opportunity, Mullins said. AFPF believes reducing the size and scope of government is the best safeguard to ensuring individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans, he said.
Gary Hamon, a Lawrence resident who owns a business in Topeka, said he was attending the meeting just so he could talk to Mays. He complained to Mays about the Legislature's previous passage of the streamlined sales and destination tax system. He complained about the increased paperwork businesses must handle because of the system, which figures sales taxes on where goods are delivered rather than where they are sold.