Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Parkinson, Senate leaders predict mix of tax increases to solve budget crisis

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson said more cuts to program funding are not the way the state is going to get out of debt. Tax increases may be the best option to relieve the budget deficit.

March 31, 2010, 12:05 p.m. Updated March 31, 2010, 5:52 p.m.


Gov. Mark Parkinson speaks Wednesday at news conference following first adjournment of the 2010 legislative session. Parkinson says a majority of legislators oppose any more budget cuts and that a consensus is forming on the need to increase taxes.

Gov. Mark Parkinson speaks Wednesday at news conference following first adjournment of the 2010 legislative session. Parkinson says a majority of legislators oppose any more budget cuts and that a consensus is forming on the need to increase taxes.

— After six rounds of state budget cuts, the appetite to cut more just isn’t there, state leaders said Wednesday.

That means the prospect of raising taxes gains prominence as legislators adjourned the regular session and headed home for a nearly one-month break.

“There is a clear majority for no more cuts,” Gov. Mark Parkinson said. “I also believe there is a majority to raise revenue.”

Parkinson said a final tax increase would need to be approximately $400 million to bridge the revenue gap for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Legislature adjourned without producing a budget plan — an unprecedented occurrence, longtime state officials said.

Over the past year, the state budget has been cut at different times for a total of nearly $1 billion from what was once a $6.4 billion budget.

Leading legislators said they want to get a revised revenue estimate on April 16 before tackling the next budget in the wrap-up session, which starts April 28.

They got a glimmer of hope Wednesday when they learned that tax collections for March were $12 million more than expected, although for the current fiscal year, revenue estimates trail collections by $93 million.

Parkinson has proposed a three-year, 1-cent increase in the state sales tax of 5.3 cents per dollar. He has also pushed for a 55-cent per pack cigarette tax increase. But he said he is willing to consider other options.

Earlier Wednesday, Senate Republican leaders sounded in agreement with Parkinson, who is a Democrat, on the need for taxes.

“We’ve made as deep of cuts as we can in the current budget,” said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.

Morris said he didn’t know what increases the Legislature would agree on, but a package could include increases in the state sales and tobacco taxes.

“We will end up with a mix. We don’t know exactly what the mix will be,” he said.

State Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, and chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said factions of legislators are forming.

“Lines have been drawn in the sand,” he said.

Some refuse to cut education any more, some are working against any further cuts in social services, and others, including Emler, are against cuts to prisons and public safety. The Ways and Means Committee will start meeting April 19 to put a budget and tax package together.


LiberalDude 8 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm, Republicans advocating tax increases... these are interesting times.

Shardwurm 8 years, 2 months ago

'Solve' the budget crisis? It's good to know that taking what little money I have left in my pocket is going to solve something.

What the heck?!?!? Tax us all to hell and back. Everyone knows we all have unlimited resources to give. We're just being selfish is all.

"Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money."

Cammie Braden 8 years, 2 months ago

Interesting. So why were the majority of legislators saying that they would not raise taxes? Why were they insisting on further deep cuts to solve the budget deficit? Was it all a political ploy?

volunteer 8 years, 2 months ago

It's about time. Fiddling while Rome burns, this legislature. Votes on strip joints, laser pointers, and the official state grass while the state economic disaster remains unaddressed.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 8 years, 2 months ago

If they raise my taxes, I will vote them all out. Thank you, Lynn

Centerville 8 years, 2 months ago

Don't let the bias fool you, The only Republican who's rolling over is Morris. He had already caved on the first day of the session.
There are better senators and reps who were, surprise, not interviewed for this.

BigDog 8 years, 2 months ago

lawrenceguy40 (anonymous) says…

There is so much fat in state government. Cut spending another $1 billion and we will all be better off in the coming years.

The state has already reduced state sending by $1 billion over the last 18 months.

Tell me where you would cut $1 billion from? It's easy and popular to make that statement to just cut... but tell me where? Schools? Universities? Prisons? Services to the elderly/disabled? Highways? Public safety? Layoff thousands of state employees? Courts?

Many of these have already been done ..... so it's time to put up .... where do you want to take $1 billion from?

kansasmutt 8 years, 2 months ago

Start with the removal of the 4 boss 1 worker crews out on the state road crews. Next, stop buying all new equipment every 2 years, lengthen it to 4 or 5 years. Next go to a statewide flat income tax with no exemptions ( 5% ) That alone is worth several billion. Next got to a statewide sales tax of 2% and no one is exempt, churches, schools , no one gets out of paying.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

Hey every time elected officials build new roads that is a tax increase which does not pay back.

It's a tax increase that never stops and depreciates in value yet it is a daily tax increase till the end of time. Why do we need miles and miles and miles of new roadway? The Kansas population is not increasing by any measure ...... and Lawrence is losing population?

These tax increases might bring the state back to 1997 levels. If the state is going to dump out the cookie jars then the state should stop building roads.

That coal fired plant people saying build build build. That will be a tax increase to all of us. How? Because taxpayers are forking over tax dollars to build and insure that toxic high dollar beast. Banks and Wall Street do not want any part of building coal and nuke plants. A good example of big government corporate welfare.

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