Archive for Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sales tax proposal rejected

Senate approves Medicaid cuts; Republicans spike Parkinson’s sales tax hike

State Sen. Jeff Colyer, R-Overland Park, on Wednesday explains his amendment to repeal a 10 percent cut in Medicaid that was imposed by Gov. Mark Parkinson to balance the budget. Colyer's proposal was defeated by senators who said it would make the budget hole deeper. Lawmakers face a $400 million revenue shortfall in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

State Sen. Jeff Colyer, R-Overland Park, on Wednesday explains his amendment to repeal a 10 percent cut in Medicaid that was imposed by Gov. Mark Parkinson to balance the budget. Colyer's proposal was defeated by senators who said it would make the budget hole deeper. Lawmakers face a $400 million revenue shortfall in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

January 27, 2010, 10:17 a.m. Updated January 27, 2010, 5:36 p.m.


— Gov. Mark Parkinson’s proposal to increase the state sales tax rate by one cent was rejected Wednesday by Republicans in a House committee.

Later in the day, the Kansas Senate approved a bill that ratifies several decisions made by Parkinson, a Democrat, to balance the current fiscal year budget.

One of those is a 10 percent cut to health care providers for Medicaid services.

State Sen. Jeff Colyer, R-Overland Park, tried to restore the Medicaid cut, saying the $22 million reduction would put Medicaid recipients, especially those in nursing homes, in jeopardy of losing care, and also meant the loss of federal matching funds.

“The governor’s choice is a wrong choice for the health care of Kansas and the economy of Kansas,” Colyer said.

But opponents of Colyer’s amendment said it would make the budget hole worse because it borrowed funds from federal dollars earmarked in the next fiscal year without replacing them.

“We cannot sit and vote to increase spending without finding some way to pay for it,” said state Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita. Colyer’s amendment was defeated 24-16, and the final budget bill was later approved 36-4 and sent to the House for consideration.

Lawmakers face a projected $400 million budget deficit in the fiscal year that starts July 1. In 2009, the Legislature and Parkinson cut nearly $1 billion from a $6.4 billion budget.

Earlier Wednesday, the House Tax Committee voted 12-7 along party lines to essentially kill Parkinson’s plan to raise the state sales tax from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents dollar for a three-year period.

Republicans voted to spike it, while Democrats said that while they didn’t support the measure, they thought it should be tabled so that it could be worked on later, and possibly changed.

“None of us want to see a one cent sales tax increase, but perhaps when push comes to shove we may need,” a smaller increase, said state Rep. Julie Menghini of Pittsburg, who is the ranking Democrat on the Tax Committee. Menghini said rejecting the bill was “at best, premature, at worst, irresponsible.”

But Committee Chairman Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said the committee would continue to consider tax bills throughout the session.

“The opportunities are not lost at this time,” Carlson said. He said the committee may spend a week of hearings on proposals to remove sales tax exemptions.

Parkinson said the sales tax increase was needed to help bridge the budget gap. Parkinson has said bridging that shortfall through budget cuts alone would do serious harm to education, social services and public safety.

A tax increase has been supported by public schools and advocates for Kansans with disabilities, but opposed by business interests and the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity.

Parkinson has said he is willing to consider other possible tax increases to provide additional revenue.


mr_right_wing 8 years, 4 months ago

Read our lips... We don't want no stinkin' tax increases!

We've already been bled dry!

Keep your nasty hands out of my wallet!

kansasmutt 8 years, 4 months ago

I was a hardcore democrat, but I think I am going to watch the republicans close and may make a change. I am dam% proud of them on the tax committee for standing up against the 1% sales tax increase. Thank you very much. Now stomp out the cigarette tax please. Small businesses in our state cannot afford any increase in the near future. Down the road, we might be game for some sort of increase, but right now, trim the state staff and budget please. I own a small business and i think i can speak for most small businesses , we are all hurting.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

I've heard of a new Republican proposal-- it'll provide families with help in taking their old and/or infirm family members out to the wilderness to die in dignity.

imastinker 8 years, 4 months ago

Bozo - do you believe that the constitution provides a person the right to die in dignity?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

Now that corporations can speak freely, I'm sure we're going to be hearing from them that in order to keep their taxes low, when someone gets to a point in life that they are no longer productive for these corporations, they should be allowed the right to die with dignity.

Aren't you glad that corporations now have civil liberties?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey, do you suppose that ACORN will now be doing voter registration drives for corporations, given that they've been deprived of their right to vote for so long?

Randy Leonard 8 years, 4 months ago

Kansasmutt, how well do you think your small business can compete against the big business that Republicans support. They could care less about your business unless you can provide the same financial support to them that the big guys can.

If any of you have better ideas about how to finance our government let's hear them. Or maybe you think it would cost you less if we privatize all of society. Just compare the cost of using the KTA to the cost of using a state highway. It is approximately 3 times as much per mile to use the turnpike as any other road in the state and the KTA is one of the best run and cheapest turnpikes in the country. I suppose you think your water and sewer services could be provided better by the private sector too. Businesses exist for one reason, to make a profit. That is a good thing, but services that benefit the community like roads, water, education, and care of the sick, elderly, and poor should be provided by the community through the government.

funkdog1 8 years, 4 months ago

Let's not forget about schools. Schools are suffering more than ever right now. I'd be happy to pay the extra penny if it meant that neighborhood schools would be left alone in Lawrence.

avoice 8 years, 4 months ago

funkdog1: Then go ahead and start giving that extra money that you have to the schools. There is a fund for that already set up, you know.

Jimo 8 years, 4 months ago

"Read our lips… We don't want no stinkin' tax increases!"

How is it that those who complain the loudest about taxes pay little if any of them?

For someone obsessed with spouting religious bigotry, you seem to have a strange interpretation of it in your die and go to hell attitude toward the needy in this state.

Verily, I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for miserly scrooge to enter the Kingdom of God.

MyName 8 years, 4 months ago

Right, we've cut the budget by 16% and there's still a shortfall. How exactly are they planning on balancing the budget without raising revenue?

andyk 8 years, 4 months ago

I still have this idea I think will work. STOP WITH THE ROAD CONSTRUCTION. And nobody bring up the infrastructure problem. Fix the bridges, I agree. Then stop for a bit. With I think of a crap economy, brand new, beautifully textured roadways do not come to mind. There is going to be construction in north lawrence until August and they want to start more. That's BS. I have to drive through that crap daily, and leave for work 45 minutes earlier now than I use to because the trains and traffic absolutely suck. In addition, every time I drive by a construction site, I see at least a dozen people standing. Start here.

justthefacts 8 years, 4 months ago

So it's just fine to have a sales tax on baby aspirin, but not viagra? There are tons of tax exemptions for special interest groups that would ONLY impact those who use those types of products or services, but could bring BILLIONS more into the state coffers. So we cut back (even more) on government services, or we find a new source of reveune.

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