Kansans for Quality Communities coalition urges Gov.-elect Sam Brownback to reject attempts to repeal state sales tax increase

? A coalition of social service, education and health organizations on Friday urged incoming Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature to reject attempts to repeal the 1-cent state sales tax rate increase.

In a news release, Kansans for Quality Communities said state budget cuts since 2008 have hurt many Kansans, and the sales tax increase approved during the last legislative session “kept things from getting even worse.”

The group said, “This is a time to be cautious. It is not the time to cut revenues and put the budget back into crisis.”

Brownback, a Republican, takes office Monday as the 2011 legislative session starts amid an estimated $550 million revenue shortfall.

Many new House Republicans have said they would like to repeal the sales tax increase, but Brownback has voiced opposition to that idea. Repeal of the levy would cost state government another $300 million per year.

The coalition urged the Legislature to preserve Kansas’ quality of life.

“Our strength lies in our commitment to communities that support a quality of life that is second to none,” the group said.

“It is that quality of life — education, infrastructure, public safety, and care for our neighbors who need our help — that is the best tool for economic development and prosperity,” the coalition said.

The coalition includes the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Disability Rights Center of Kansas, InterHab Resource Network for Kansans with Disabilities, Kansas Area Agencies on Aging Association, American Federation of Teachers–Kansas, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas Citizens for the Arts, Kansas Families for Education, Kansas Health Care Association, Kansas National Education Association, Kansas Organization of State Employees, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Olathe Schools First, Oral Health Kansas and Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas.