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Archive for Friday, March 23, 2012

Brownback pushes for tax cuts, denies heavy-handed pressuring

March 23, 2012

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Topeka — Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday said he lobbied hard to advance legislation cutting income taxes but denied making political threats to get votes in the Senate.

Democratic leaders, who oppose the tax plan by Brownback, a Republican, said they heard differently.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said Republicans who initially voted against Brownback “were threatened with all kinds of things.” He said the pressure was “real heavy-handed,” such as threatening to veto bills if the senators didn’t change their votes.

Asked if he or members of his administration had threatened legislators with holding up state projects in their districts or vetoing legislation that they wanted, Brownback said no.

“We were pushing every bit we could. And I have been for about two years pushing on tax reform. We’re not doing those things (threats), but we are pushing every bit we can,” he said.

Brownback has proposed a plan to reduce income tax rates and eliminate income taxes on nearly 200,000 businesses. His proposal would also keep in place the 6.3 percent state sales tax, which is set to decrease to 5.7 percent, and eliminate numerous tax deductions and credits aimed to help low-income Kansans.

Brownback says his plan will improve the economy. The business tax cut, he said, is “like shooting adrenaline in the heart of the growth possibilities of Kansas.”

But critics say the Brownback plan benefits mostly wealthy Kansans and businesses, at the expense of the poor and middle class, and will deprive the state of needed funds for schools and social services.

During debate Tuesday, the Senate put back into the bill the deductions and the scheduled sales tax decrease.

On Wednesday, all eight Democrats and 12 Republicans, including Senate GOP leaders, teamed up to kill the bill on a 20-20 vote.

But within two hours, Senate Republican leaders moved to reconsider the vote.

The bill then passed 29-11, Brownback hailed the decision, and now a House-Senate conference committee is scheduled to start negotiations Monday on a final tax cutting plan.

Hensley said the reversal in the Senate left him stunned.

Nine Republicans changed their votes including Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.

Morris said the Brownback administration wanted to get a bill into conference committee, but he declined to discuss what kind of pressure was put on legislators.

Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, spoke against the bill, but then made the motion for the Senate to re-vote on it.

Brungardt said he was convinced by Senate leaders, whom he said he respected, that the Senate needed to have a position for the conference committee.

Brungardt said he heard some of his colleagues had been in discussions with Brownback staffers and “felt like they were getting beat up a little bit.”

But Brungardt said he wasn’t one of them. Of the Brownback administration, he said, “They don’t even talk with me. They don’t even know my name.” Brungardt is one of a group of Republican senators who have been targeted by the Kansas Chamber and other Brownback supporters in the GOP primary in August.

Other Republican senators who switched their votes could not be reached for comment on Friday. The Legislature adjourned Wednesday evening until Monday.

Brownback said he would continue to push for the income tax cuts. “I believe strongly in tax reform. I think it’s important that we do it. And we’re going to keep pushing to move through fundamental tax reform.”

And, he said, he would like to see all tax proposals put together in a comprehensive bill.

On Friday, Brownback vetoed legislation that would have changed the procedure for distributing funds from the Kansas Oil and Gas Valuation Depletion Trust Fund.

Brownback said that while the policy of the legislation may have merit it should only be considered as part of a comprehensive budget and tax plan. Separately, a House proposed state budget relies on $5 million from the fund.

The vetoed bill was approved by the Senate, 40-0 and the House, 124-0.

Comments

Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 11 months ago

BROWNBACKISTAN! ~ Even threatening his own party! What a Jack....!

Richard Heckler 2 years, 11 months ago

THOSE republicans should show some guts and backbone. Sam Brownback,Koch money,Wal-Mart Money,Club for Growth and Kansas Club for Growth money and turd blossom money will be going after their butts in the next election. More than likely Kansas Chamber of Commerce will be going after them as well.

Sam Brownback does not take kindly to opposition. Sam Brownback is a one party government man aka dictator mentality.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 11 months ago

Study says lower state income taxes will lead to higher property, sales

A recent study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that lower income taxes lead to higher property and sales taxes and undermine funding for schools, roads and public safety.

“If Kansas gets rid of the income tax, the state will likely find itself both raising other taxes on middle- and low-income families and making massive cuts to vital services that will badly damage the state’s economy,” said Erica Williams, policy analyst and co-author of the report done by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

What this means for working Kansas families: giving tax breaks to wealthy corporations will lead to crime-ridden, broken down communiites where studnets can't read or write and families can't afford a home or groceries.

We need to stand up and tell state leaders to get their priorities straight. Our focus should be on funding our schools and creating good jobs - not giving even more tax breaks to wealthy corporations.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 11 months ago

Robin Hood in Reverse: Kansas Bill Raises Taxes On The Poor While Cutting Them For The Rich

In what one state Democrat has called “Robin Hood in reverse,” Kansas’ tax committee this week approved a bill that would cut taxes on the wealthiest Kansans to the tune of $1,500, while raising taxes on those residents making less that $25,000 per year. About half a million of the state’s poorest residents will see their taxes hiked under the plan:

A Kansas House tax committee passed a bill in which anyone making less than $25,000 a year — roughly half a million of the state’s 2.9 million residents — will pay an average of $72 more in taxes, while those making more than $250,000 — about 21,000 people — will see a $1,500 cut, according to Kansas Department of Revenue estimates cited by the Kansas City Star.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 11 months ago

The House 2013 budget puts no new money per child into Kansas public schools. Not providing some kind of cost of living increase for schools puts pressure on local school boards to raise property taxes to cover the cost of inflation and improving schools.

Public schools have endured more than their fair share of budget cuts over the last few years.

Last year alone, Gov. Brownback asked for a $104 million cut to public schools - the largest cut to public schools - the largest cut to public education in Kansas history.

In total, public education has been cut nearly $270 million since fiscal year 2009.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 11 months ago

House Republican 2013 fiscal year budget

Community Health Centers were cut $1.8 million for screenings for non-Medicaid patients. Right now, even if you are not Medicaid eligible, you can go to a local community mental health center and talk to someone for an initial screening. Now those people will be turned away.

· Family Centered Systems of Care was eliminated. This provides mental health services for families with children with serious emotional disturbances.

· Family Preservation Reduction was cut by $654,000. This program helps families stay together and cuts about 600 families from the program.

· Children’s Initiatives Funds were cut about $15 million. This includes a number of early childhood education programs.

· $157,000 was cut from Addiction and Prevention Services grants, cutting services to about 100 Kansans.

· Cut foster care contract rates by $2.3 million and foster care reimbursement rates by $3.4 million.

· Cut child support enforcement contracts by $1.4 million.

· Cut funding by $2.1 million for children over the age of 13 in SRS custody. This will mean more kids over the age of 13 who were in foster care due to out-of-control behavior, truancy, overwhelmed parents, etc., will not be covered. They will have to stay at home.

· Cut support for Centers for Independent Living by 18%. This supports Kansans with developmental disabilities.

· Reduce foster parent training by 13 percent or $111,000.

· State employees get no raises and their longevity pay (for employees with 10 years or more service) is reduced.

tomatogrower 2 years, 11 months ago

His buddies, the Kochs and the Chamber of Commerce, have already targeted those who don't follow lock step behind Brownback, so now the gov. is a liar too.

Jan Rolls 2 years, 11 months ago

You can tell when he is lying his mouth opens.

Jimo 2 years, 11 months ago

"On Friday, Brownback vetoed legislation that would have changed the procedure for distributing funds from the Kansas Oil and Gas Valuation Depletion Trust Fund...The vetoed bill was approved by the Senate, 40-0 and the House, 124-0."

What sort of egomaniac vetoes a bill passed unanimously by a legislature wholly controlled by his own political party?

So our new Governor uses taxpayer money to monitor comments about himself and then pursues a vendetta against naysayers, is not only is obsessed with the vaginas of every woman in the state but insists on medically raping any of them who exercises their constitutional right to an abortion, and throws what must be the mother of all temper tantrums when his own party colleagues don't do exactly what he says to bring about his dystopian survival of the richest future.

In short, we have a devil's bargain: deliver massive tax cuts and a regulation-fee atmosphere to his political buddies in return for him reigning as Guardian of the Sacred Vagina.

JackMcKee 2 years, 11 months ago

Forget attracting businesses to Kansas. We're going to spend the next 10-15 years fixing Brownback's screw ups. How much you want to bet that Sammy moves far away from Kansas, and never returns, once his stint at ruining the state is over.

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