Topeka Gov.-elect Sam Brownback — and apparently most Kansans — oppose a proposal to repeal the 1-cent state sales tax increase.
Brownback, a Republican, faces a move from some Republican House members to try to repeal the tax increase that went into effect July 1.
But Brownback told reporters on Thursday that repealing the increase would make the state budget situation worse.
“Our fiscal situation is not stable,” Brownback said.
A statewide survey showed that 47 percent of Kansans oppose repeal, 38 percent support it, while 14 percent were unsure.
The survey of 500 Kansans was conducted for television station KWCH.
And the survey found that 67 percent of those who supported the repeal changed their minds when asked if they would still support it if the repeal meant cuts to education, social services and public safety.
In stating his opposition to the repeal, Brownback noted the increase from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents per dollar goes down after three years to 5.7 cents per dollar, and then a portion of that is used to fund the state highway program.
But Brownback rejected the notion that it was a good idea for the Legislature to pass the tax increase.
Asked if the tax increase, which was passed during a bruising legislative session earlier this year, was necessary, Brownback said, “I'm not going to say that.”
He added, “I'm not for raising taxes. When you raise taxes, you send a signal that you are a high-tax state.”
The 1-cent sales tax increase is projected to raise approximately $300 million in new revenue. Even so, the state faces a budget deficit in the $500 million range because of increased costs and the expiration of federal stimulus funds.
Brownback is working on a proposed budget for the Legislature to consider when the 2011 session starts in January.
But next week, Brownback, a U.S. senator, will return to Washington, D.C., for the lame-duck session of Congress, which may consider repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which bans gays from openly serving in the military.
After giving a speech during a Veterans Day observance, Brownback told reporters that he would oppose repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” saying the policy “has worked relatively well.”
On the issue of a proposed federal biodefense lab in Manhattan, Brownback said Kansas will do whatever it takes to ensure that the facility is safe.
A study is due Monday on the $451 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Critics have said the facility shouldn’t be built in the nation’s heartland.
“We’re just committed to making it safe. Period,” Brownback said.