Archive for Friday, February 10, 2012

Brownback initiatives have problems, legislative leaders say

February 10, 2012


Leaders from both political parties on Friday said Gov. Sam Brownback’s legislative initiatives, including overhauling the state tax code and school finance system, had problems.

“The governor’s legislative agenda is basically in the emergency room right now,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.

Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag issued a statement expressing confidence.

“It’s the second quarter and we’re moving the ball down the field,” she said. “In the last year, Kansas added nearly 12,000 private sector jobs and balanced its budget. This year, we will accomplish pro-growth tax reform, control state spending for the long term through reforms to Medicaid, school finance, KPERS — and secure our state’s future with clean water.”

It’s not unusual for Democrats to criticize Brownback, a Republican, but Brownback’s plans on school funding and taxes have been criticized by Republicans, too.

Brownback’s tax proposal would reduce income tax rates, give thousands of businesses a tax break, eliminate numerous deductions and credits, including home mortgage interest and Earned Income Tax Credit, and keep in place the 6.3 percent state sales tax, which under current law is set to decrease to 5.7 percent next year.

In order to phase out income taxes, Brownback wants to cap state spending growth at 2 percent per year. House Republican leaders have also expressed support of a 2 percent cap.

But Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said funding increases in Medicaid caseloads and the needs of the public pension system alone would eat up 2 percent budget growth.

A 2 percent limit, Morris said, “makes for a permanent budget crisis every year because everything else will be cut.”

Morris said a similar measure, called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, was instituted in Colorado and was a disaster.

Brownback’s plan on school finance plan has also drawn heat.

Senate Vice President John Vratil, R-Leawood, said, “The Senate Education Committee had hearings on the governor’s school finance bill three days this week, and if you look at the number of conferees testifying in favor compared to the number testifying in opposition, the governor’s bill is in trouble.”

Brownback’s plan would eliminate state limits on local taxes for schools and give local districts more authority in spending. Another part of Brownback’s plan — posting teacher evaluations on school district websites — was removed by Republicans after the proposal sparked outrage.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said there is nothing wrong with the current school finance formula, but that the system is underfunded because of budget cuts made over the past several years. A Democratic proposal would phase in restoration of those lost dollars.

Democrats also said other centerpiece items of Brownback’s agenda — privatizing Medicaid and switching the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System to a 401(k)-style system for future workers — were raising alarms in the Legislature as legislators learn more about the issues.


George_Braziller 6 years, 4 months ago

Sam's a disaster. Can't we just fast-forward three years so he can be added to the footnotes as the worst Governor in the history of Kansas?

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 4 months ago

The problem with being "pro growth" is that not all growth is good...Cancer, waistlines, and urban sprawl come to mind as some types of growth that aren't good. Brownback really is seeking growth for Koch industries and their ilk. He is not in favor of growth in paychecks for average kansans. He is relentlessly attacking workers. The best pro growth policies favor the middle class and the working class, not the super wealthy.

JHOK32 6 years, 4 months ago

Are we sure we cannot call for a re-call vote like they did in Wisconsin for the idiot they had up there? People finally got fed up with that idiot too who is also only a puppet for the Koch brothers. So far Brownback has made it crystal clear that as long as you make less than $250,000 a year you do not deserve his attention. So 95% of us can literally take money out of our billfolds & pay it to people who make more than $250,000 a year? Does this sound like Democracy to you?

verity 6 years, 4 months ago

In a word, no.

Google recall Kansas.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

The short term fix might be removing Brownback, but how do you fix the long term problem that apparently the vast majority of voters are voting against their own best interests? Education isn't the answer as those voters going against their own best interests were educated in the years and decades prior to Brownback taking office. An unfortunate truth is that we're in the process of getting the government we deserve, given that the voters don't care enough to vote in higher numbers and they aren't interested enough to make themselves sufficiently aware of the issues to cause them to vote in their own best interests.
But following the Wisconsin model might not work here in Kansas. Their state Senate had a 17-16 Republican/Democrat ratio. An evenly divided state, apparently. I'm not sure removing Brownback would accomplish anything. The Wisconsin recall has an estimated $9 million price tag. Then there are all the recalls of Senators and Representatives, with additional costs. That money has to come from somewhere. Education? SRS? Our elected representatives won't change how they do business until we the voters change. I would recommend grass roots efforts, letters, petitions, etc. If enough people are asked to sign those things, if they make themselves aware of the issues, aware enough that they are willing to write a letter or sign a petition, then the government will eventually listen. A recall, at great expense, might just produce Brownback II.

SnakeFist 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree. If our elected government sucks its our own fault.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 months ago

"Our elected representatives won't change how they do business until we the voters change." === Good point. It would help IF voters actually voted. 30-some percent of Kansas' eligible voters put Muscular Sam in office. Perhaps the 800,000+ who sat it out last time are starting to pay attention? They better show up in August so the usual 10% don't pick the winners who go on in November. As for recall? Forgetaboutit. Ain't gonna happen.

Getaroom 6 years, 4 months ago

Shame on you Mr. Manners, you did not say, 'Governor' Brownback. Tisk, tisk, tisk. So" _math", practice what you preach and stop whining about President Obama, he is not going anywhere either and especially with this bunch of GOP SuperPACin yahoos vying for the badge of "Most Conservative TeaPacker". Some badge. Sarah Palin who? wink wink

And may one of the GODS bless America, we need all the help we can get while this GOP electile dysfunction plays out.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 4 months ago

Isn't it great when a bunch of people who only know what it is like to stand on the end of an assembly line with a hangover know everything about how to run the state?

Come on guys, put on your helmet and join the rest of us.

Getaroom 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh look, it's Farther Knows Best, stepped right out of a 1950's TV set.

Might want to remove that silver spoon from of your mouth before you speak, it's impolite to talk with your mouth full of platitudes. Time for your Social Security to kick in yet, Medicare perhaps? I bet you just hate those awful dirty Socialist things.

If only there were assembly lines to stand on, Mr. infinity loop of hubris. Your heroes have shipped them all out of the country, taken the tax dollars they owed here and squandered the proceeds on personal wealth. I know I know, can't tax our way out of debt so don't tax the very wealthy! So you are what, standing in the 1% lineup and pontificating about how great the cronyism has been for you? Pulled yourself up by your boot straps did you, all proud of doing it all by yourself and with no help from anyone? Ya sure. More likely you are too busy shooting yourself in the foot to notice it and being so busy going about business as usual. Listen to the Network of Lies much? Rupert would be proud of you.

How about you recuse yourself from the conversation until some sensibilities have returned to your conservative consciousness and you are able rejoin the real world. You and out-of-touch Mitt too.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago

At least the people who do those things have jobs...I thought you were all for people having jobs and taking care of themselves...

We can't all be Wall Street brokers...

Kookamooka 6 years, 4 months ago

12,000 private sector jobs---Yes...but they eliminated nearly three times that in public sector jobs including teachers, firemen, policemen, and public health care workers. Bad for Kansas.

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

He wants to turn us into Texas, Alaska and Tennessee where there is no income tax, but lots of unemployment. How can someone enjoy no income tax, if they have no income?

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Is there somewhere that does a good analysis of both, and comes up with net numbers?

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 4 months ago

Maybe the Kansas Legislature should grow a pair and write some of their own bills. Imagine, guys, you could come up with your own proposals for reforming education spending and the tax code. And, occasionally, you could even stand up to the governor!

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

Remember this: He is the man God wants to be President!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

12,000 new long term jobs so implies the Brownback admin?

Where are these jobs?

esteshawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Maybe attornies representing western power companies or wichita moving companies?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

The Sam Brownback agenda may be in jeopardy which is why Koch/Wal-Mart money and Brownback are planning to unseat democrats of course and a host of republicans.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce will also play a role in this seedy activity. I say get rid of the Chamber of Commerce for it has become a PAC for the radical right wing.

Let's call in the mortuary to dispense of the the dead body which no longer functions as a body performing commerce.

Lenette Hamm 6 years, 4 months ago

How many cuts can he make and still call the budget "balanced"? Doesn't our income tax help pay for some of these programs that are becoming a thing of the past? Then there's the issue of taking away deductions for mortgage interest, and the earned income credit. Poorer families with children will be devastated by the latter when tax time rolls around, and many of us who just squeak by annually would likely end up paying at year-end without the mortgage deduction. I don't get the logic or lack there of, and please don't get me going on the reorganization BS!!!

weeslicket 6 years, 4 months ago

Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag issued a statement expressing confidence. “It’s the second quarter and we’re moving the ball down the field,” she said. “In the last year, Kansas added nearly 12,000 private sector jobs ....."

i was not able to find this report. if someone does know how to get it, please pass along the link. this is as close as i got. don't forget to compare jobs gained with jobs lost. and don't forget to read the initial unemployment information towards the bottom of the page. this is the report from last year.

parco814 6 years, 4 months ago

It's not just his initiatives--Brownback himself is the problem. Our problem. Let's redeem ourselves, for the sake of Kansas and for the sake of Kansas' image in the eyes of the country and the world, and rid ourselves of this creature as soon as possible.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 months ago

Just a 'fool for god' as he describes himself. This is going to get interesting, folks. His tax plans are likely to work in the future. In another couple hundred million years Pangaea will reform and Kansas will have oceanfront property again, just like our 'heroes' Texas and Florida do now.

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