Topeka — Here is some of the reaction to Gov. Mark Parkinson’s State of the State address, and his call for a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax and 55-cent per pack increase in cigarette tax.
House Majority Leader Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell: “With the continuing fall of revenues, the Governor’s proposed budget is unconstitutional. In a shameful change of course from when he took office last year*, the Governor has abdicated his duty to the taxpayers of Kansas by refusing to offer a balanced budget and demanding the largest tax increase in Kansas history. As a legislature we cannot in good conscience accept a budget which refuses to offer a solution to the struggling families and businesses of Kansas.
Kansas Board of Regents Chair Jill Docking: “The Board applauds the Governor’s politically difficult but fiscally responsible decision to propose a revenue enhancement package for Fiscal Year 2011. While it’s never easy to propose a tax increase, the proposal does serve two important purposes. First, it spares the higher education system from additional reductions, which, at this point, would devastate a system already crippled by budget cuts. Second, the $10 million budget enhancement represents an important and positive step in reversing what has become an extremely damaging higher education funding trend. If we do ultimately receive this enhancement, the Board will commit it to strategically targeted investments aimed at boosting the Kansas economy.”
Derrick Sontag, Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity: “Now is the time for our Governor and lawmakers to look in the mirror, not in the pockets of Kansas taxpayers when searching for answers. We have an opportunity to change the way we do business in Kansas by getting control over the reckless way we spend taxpayer dollars and ultimately, changing the reputation of our great state from being considered a high tax state to one that cultivates economic growth and prosperity through reductions in spending and tax rates.”
Mike Maddox, chairman of the Kansas Chamber board: “If Kansas is going to experience a sustained economic recovery and growth, businesses will lead the way by growing jobs. Nothing will hinder the recovery and economic growth more than increasing the tax burden on our citizens.”