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Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2012

House delivers mammoth tax cut bill to Brownback, who says he is prepared to sign it

May 9, 2012

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— The Kansas House on Wednesday gave a loaded tax-cut package to Gov. Sam Brownback who said he could approve it despite projections that show the measure would produce record budget deficits.

"I am prepared to sign the bill, but I encourage Kansas legislators to continue their work on reforming our state’s tax policy and to consider some of the alternatives I proposed in my original pro-growth tax reform to off-set the cost," Brownback said in a press statement issued after bitter debates in the House and Senate.

The measure would reduce income, business, and sales taxes and produce a $2.7 billion budget shortfall in five years, according to an analysis by the Kansas Legislative Research Department.

Opponents said revenue reductions of that magnitude would destroy schools, social services and public safety.

"It would be very irresponsible," to sign the bill, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said, "It would send our state to hell in a hand basket. It's a travesty."

A group of 55 former legislators — all Republicans — issued a statement denouncing House approval of the bill.

"Rarely do voters get an opportunity to see such a spectacular failure of leadership by their elected officials," said Rochelle Chronister who has served as assistant House majority leader and chair of the Kansas Republican Party.

Chronister added, “If Gov. Brownback allows this to become law, in just a few years, nearly half of the state general fund will need to be cut. To be clear, the state will go bankrupt, property and sales taxes will increase and critical services will be eliminated.”

How the bill made it to Brownback's desk produced heated debate during a day-long game of high-stakes legislative poker.

Brownback has made major tax cuts his No. 1 priority. But a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats have called for a smaller package of tax cuts.

On Wednesday, the Senate was scheduled to debate a plan recommended by a House-Senate conference committee that would reduce individual state income tax rates and phase out non-wage income taxes for nearly 200,000 businesses. It also would provide funds for local property tax relief and allow the state sales tax to decrease from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent as scheduled.

But a larger tax cut package was waiting in the wings. This was one that the Senate in March had killed but then moderate Republicans, after lobbying by Brownback, reversed course and voted for, simply to put a bill into the House-Senate tax conference committee so that negotiators could work on various proposals.

But before the Senate could start debate Wednesday on the House-Senate conference committee bill, Brownback urged House Republicans to concur with the larger tax cut bill that had been approved by the Senate.

That produced angry words during debate in the House from moderate Republicans and Democrats but the motion was approved 64-59 with only Republican votes. At one point, House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, cut off opponents who were trying to explain their vote.

Meanwhile, across the rotunda in the Senate, President Morris, supported by a 23-15 vote, shut down debate on the conference committee tax bill, a move that raised the ire of conservative Republicans.

Later, Morris said the conference committee could continue its work.

O'Neal said the House vote was necessary to get the Senate to eventually approve the tax conference committee bill.

Supporters of the bill say it will boost the economy and create jobs. "This is without question in my mind the biggest, impactful bill that we will have passed in a long, long time," said state Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, and chair of the Senate tax committee.

But critics of that bill, including independent tax study groups, say it is tilted toward the wealthy at the expense of low-income Kansans.

Comments

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

High stakes poker is best left to those with brains. Bingo is a better game for the legislature - all of them.

DRsmith 2 years, 6 months ago

Are you serious? These cuts probably go too far but to think we need an increase is crazy.

optimist 2 years, 6 months ago

There's nothing stopping you from paying more. I'd like to see the legislature reduce spending to keep the budget balanced. Raising taxes fails to restrain spending.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

We have a large surplus - there's no need to reduce spending to balance the budget.

Similarly, there's no need to raise taxes, perhaps - simply use current revenue to provide services.

optimist 2 years, 6 months ago

It's always appropriate for Government to re-evaluate itself. Finding ways to reduce the size and scope of government should be an ongoing practice. Reducing spending is part of that. That's efficient Government, not passing more laws faster and with little public debate as our politicians would have us think. We shouldn't wait for the next crises. We should prepare for it today.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

Reducing the size and scope of government is not synonymous with more "efficient" government - it often means cutting services as well. More efficient government would provide the same services for less $, I would think.

I agree we should prepare - that's why it would be a good idea to save the money, in case we need it, rather than returning it.

Did you see the poll of likely R voters? About 3/4 of them wanted to either spend the money on education, etc. or save it - only 1/4 wanted to return it to taxpayers.

WilburM 2 years, 6 months ago

This may be single most outrageous legislative action taken by KS legislators in our lifetimes. The substance is awful, and the process is equally bad. This is blackmail and irresponsible policy-making, and the House/Brownback should be ashamed of themselves. But shame is in short supply.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 6 months ago

I am middle class, I am not rich, I pay enormous taxes (property too) for a state which offers little if nothing to I am middle class, I am not rich..............yea Brownback. Cut um more.

Could anybody build a fishing dock with easy access or two on Clinton? Missouri has hundreds which are handicapped accessible. Not here, but wow do I get hit with taxes.

Missouri has far far less in state taxes. They also have tourism.

Mike1949 2 years, 6 months ago

Typical Republican attitude. I could resort to telling the truth, but no point. Republicans live in a reality of destruction everything they touch. If you express your rights, first words out of these UN-Americans are "if you don't like it, then leave!"! As long a these farmers get paid to NOT farm their land, they don't care what happens to their kid's and grand kid's lives! I tell people I am from la la land as being a Kansan brings nothing but shame!

pittstatebb 2 years, 6 months ago

You pay enormous taxes? Really.

You pay 6.5 percent of your federal AGI, unless you are a teacher as then you pay more. Your property taxes are federally tax deductable, so you can reduce that number by a quarter. Your state sales taxes may also be tax deductable. Share your numbers and we will find your effective tax rate and then decide if you really pay as much as you say.

imastinker 2 years, 6 months ago

Property and sales taxes are very high here. The real culprit is the schools and government on the local levels, not as much the state.

Here, look at this:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/122-NW-1771st-Rd-Kingsville-MO-64061/106869002_zpid/

Property taxes on a very nice home on 10 acres are $1500/year. That's a third what you'll pay for that home anywhere near here. Sales taxes are a lot lower, gas taxes, income taxes, etc.

What exactly are we getting for the money we spend?

ashmole 2 years, 6 months ago

Property taxes are extremely low in Kansas. Compare them to rates in states like Texas and New Hampshire, which do not have income taxes. The most likely outcome of this is that state taxes go down but property taxes at the local level go way up to offset the cuts.

William Weissbeck 2 years, 6 months ago

Keep in mind, you likely can only itemize if you have mortgage interest to deduct in addition to the local taxes paid. Medical expenses for self paid health insurance premiums might also push you over. But short of one or the other, you don't itemize - you get the standard deduction.

verity 2 years, 6 months ago

Do these lovely people not realize that for the economy to grow you have to have a middle/working class that is able to buy stuff? In the end, I don't think an economy can be supported with most of the people struggling just to have a roof and food and many people with not even that much.

What was it Henry Ford said? And he was no political liberal.

Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 6 months ago

Governor Brownback is prepared it sign the bill...

But to pay for it, he suggests legislators also send him a bill raising taxes on the poor and middle class "to off-set the cost".

Good luck with that, Gov. I'm sure lots of politicians are eager to send you a bill that increases taxes on over 80% of all Kansans.

optimist 2 years, 6 months ago

Your statements are absolutely false. You intentionally misrepresent the facts.

4getabouit 2 years, 6 months ago

"Missouri has far far less in state taxes."

Hey Wissmo....Missouri loves boneheads like you. I hear they have indoor toilets now. Start moving.

Fossick 2 years, 6 months ago

Heh. I thought "Love it or leave it" was only a mantra of the right...

verity 2 years, 6 months ago

From Paul Davis:

" . . . the action taken by the House of Representatives came after Republicans cut off debate. I have not witnessed such an act in my 10 years here. We spent more time debating what would be the official State grass than we did a tax bill that will put us into a $2.7 billion deficit.

Governor Brownback endorsed this plan and bullied the House and Senate into passing it."

I just emailed the governor and asked him to veto the bill. Not that it will change his mind, but he needs to know how many citizens oppose not just the the irresponsibility but also the methods used.

E-mail him through his website at www.governor.ks.gov.

Alceste 2 years, 6 months ago

Tweedledum and Tweedledee Agreed to have a battle; For Tweedledum said Tweedledee Had spoiled his nice new rattle. Just then flew down a monstrous crow, As black as a tar-barrel; Which frightened both the heroes so, They quite forgot their quarrel.

Alceste 2 years, 6 months ago

Paul Davis is Frick to the Frack of Kansas house Republicans (Tweedledee and Tweedledum if you prefer). He's taking the "after the fact" payoff in his KPERS retirement for his "work" (cough) in the legislature. So far, that'll be over $1200@month for the rest of his natural born life. He has a lot of nerve to even suggest Republicans are any different than his very own personal choices.

Has Paul Davis said word one to the Public about how he's paying himself via KPERS? Has he led by demonstration, having his own KPERS benefit calculated with actual days worked and money received, or is he taking the sweetheart deal of a 372 work year....he working each and every one to the point where(?):

For the legislator listing all income - the daily rate, subsistence and allowance - this is how annualization is calculated:

•$88.66 (daily rate) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $32,981.52

•$123 (subsistence) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $45,756

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

Altogether, that equals $85,820.52, and that's the pay figure that would be used for that legislator retiring now.

Now then, Davis is pretty much defending this obscene payout because legilsators work for "...so little money...." given his silence is rather deafening. He's just another bought and paid for political hack lawyer looking out for himself and himself only.....and he's not alone in this regard. NONE of the Douglas County "state legislators" are doing diddly about this absurd 372 year OR being able to claim they're working all 372 days. Not a one.

In calendar year 2010, employer contributions for legislators in KPERS slightly topped $900,000.

A legislator retiring with an annualized pay of $85,820.52, and with 10 years' service, would have an annual KPERS benefit of $15,018.60, for a monthly benefit of $1,251.55, according to KPERS. If the retiring legislator had 20 years' service, the annual benefit would be $30,037.20, and monthly, $2,503.10.

chootspa 2 years, 6 months ago

Go ride that hobby horse in some other thread. Sheesh.

John Hamm 2 years, 6 months ago

"produce a $2.7 billion budget shortfall in five years" But the tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend Liberals of Lawrence didn't quite see (or understand) that or care.

pittstatebb 2 years, 6 months ago

????????????????

You do understand how our state government works and the difference between the R party that voted for this pos and the D party that did not vote for it.

akhmatova 2 years, 6 months ago

Do you not realize that Brownback's plan will cause this 2.7 billion deficit? Maybe you needed more liberals in your life to teach you how to read.

MyName 2 years, 6 months ago

Awesome, now every single House Republican can say they were for massive tax cuts... until they were against them:

"Oh wait, you mean we have to actually pay for things that are allocated in the budget?? My bad!"

Katara 2 years, 6 months ago

Don't they know that mammoths are extinct?

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

Sure blame the House - they deserve it but keep in mind it is a Senate tax bill they concurred with. Moderates and conservatives in the Senate passed it.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

It was a strange process - the vote on that bill was intended to bring the various versions to committees, and work on reconciling them, and coming up with some sort of compromise.

Then, the governor pulled a slick move.

Politics at it's worst, I'd say.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

The senate was playing games and now everyone will suffer. The senate doesn't get a pass in my book.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree, after hearing more about it, that the Senate should never have passed the bill if they didn't like it - that makes no sense at all.

JackMcKee 2 years, 6 months ago

Kansas GOP, some wise words. Be careful what you wish for.

Fossick 2 years, 6 months ago

"we know who to blame"

You have encapsulated exactly why a radical right GOP and a radical left Dem Party is a good thing rather than a bad thing. When moderates from both parties agree to pass crappy bills, who gets the blame? There's no way for the voters to change anything, because they have a choice of Moderate Blue and Moderate Red. Either way, they get a moderate.

But when one party is in charge, fully in charge, and implements their ideas, there can be no hiding behind "bi-partisanship" - which is another fancy way of avoiding responsibility - and no passing the results off on others. If this works, the GOP will be proven genius. If not, voters have three chances in the next 5 years to kick them to the curb.

I rather think it will be modified - after all, we have five legislative sessions before the dreaded $2.7b deficit. But at least we know whose idea this is. There is no hiding from it. Voters know whom to blame or whom to reward.

Fossick 2 years, 6 months ago

Dude, spare me. You've never seen me write anything nice about W and never will. I was dancing in the streets as much as any Democrat when the voters laid down that 2006 baby seal beating on the GOP.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 6 months ago

Right on!! Damn the damned torpedoes!! Off the cliff without a bungie cord!!!

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

Unbelievable. I guess we are getting what we deserve. We elected these S.O.B.s although I didn't vote for any of them...

Fred Mertz 2 years, 6 months ago

I am a registered Republican and lean conservative but I don't support the bully politics we are seeing today. I want my party to be professional transparent follow the rules of order and act with integrity.

We did not see this today.

pittstatebb 2 years, 6 months ago

Email the governor and tell him so. I have already asked him to veto this bill.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

Brownback and O'Neil just want to watch the world burn. They are harbingers of doom. One of them rides a pale horse and his name is death.

obamasocks 2 years, 6 months ago

Why doesn't brown back just declare his candidacy for 2016 now...this is 100% politics at its worst. I wish all teabaggers would just secede and be done with it. Let them have their own debt free, anti-gay government of one on there own turf.

4getabouit 2 years, 6 months ago

I guess we now know the content of the secret dinner meetings held by our deceitful Governor. After he destroys Kansas he will try move on to destroy what is left of a once great country. He will be able to gut Kansas but will fall short in his attempt to screw up the U.S. The rest of the country sees him for what he is: A dimwitted clown who thinks he talks to God. What a pathetic excuse for a human being. Good thing he married money as there is no way he could make an honest living.

kansasredlegs 2 years, 6 months ago

All those complaining about tax cuts stop it since all you have to do is look to local gov'ment. One thing our local city & county officials have proved is that they are always prepared to raise our taxes. Now with less money being provided by the state, perhaps our local elected officials will now have to decide between the nice to have & have to have services; however, I doubt it.

Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 6 months ago

So your argument ends in 1929? Funny, most arguments about the Bush tax rate end in 2007.

Nobody ever wants to talk about 1930 and 2008. Maybe because those were the two worst economic crashes of the post income tax era, each coming after massive shifts in tax policy towards "job creating" income tax reductions.

BigAl 2 years, 6 months ago

Great point Bob. However, most far right folks and the corrupt far right media tend to overlook your point. In fact, they simply ignore it because it doesn't fit in with their playbook.

pace 2 years, 6 months ago

I never thought I would be sorry to see tax cuts, Brownback and the house is determined to let a tornado loose on every infrastructure and program that generations of Kansans have built.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

This will not reduce the cost of state government to anyone. Gutting public education funding is a tax increase = public tax dollars will be given to private operator. Privatization does not reduce the cost of government. It merely transfers tax dollars to corporate bank accounts.

House Speaker O'Neal is among the spineless.

Kansas House sends massive corporate tax break bill to Governor's Desk

In a series of unprecedented procedural moves today Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal and House conservatives sent a massive corporate tax break to Governor Brownback for his signature.

The tax break specifically exempts all business income passed through on individual income tax returns by corporations large and small.

Meanwhile, the poorest Kansans will actually see a tax increase.

Not that details like those were actually discussed on the House floor as Speaker O'Neal shut down debate abruptly and even refused to let some House Democrats explain their votes.

But the impact of this reckless plan will reach far beyond the offshore accounts wealthiest Kansans and the executive boardrooms of the Kansas corporations. After Governor Brownback signs this bill the other shoe will drop. Under this plan Kansas is projected to be billions of dollars in the hole within three years.

So in order to cut $3.7 Billion out of the budget before 2018 to give away in tax cuts 40% of the State General fund will be cut.

Public education will be gutted, costing teachers their jobs, forcing more schools to close and increasing class sizes for Kansas children.

State agencies will be slashed, costing state employees their jobs and asking those who remain to do more - and serve more Kansans - with dramatically less.

And absolutely nothing in this tax bill will address the tax that impacts more working families than any other: property tax. In fact this tax bill guarantees that property and sales taxes will go up across Kansas.

Look-up your representative on our website and find out how they voted on this tax giveaway to corporations and wealthy Kansans.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 6 months ago

I pay enormous amounts in taxes you bet.

Kansas also gets you with fees as well. We have nothing in this state that compares to Missouri in relation to the amount of taxes we pay.

Go Brownback go, less in taxes more money to spend, more money to spend tax receipts go up.

Oh I do boat and vacation on Missouri lakes. Spend a lot of money there every year. As soon as the Kansas DNR pulls it's collective head out of rear and realizes how underused our lakes are, well then maybe I will start dropping more tax money here at home.

Alceste 2 years, 6 months ago

Paul Davis is Frick to the Frack of Kansas house Republicans (Tweedledee and Tweedledum if you prefer). He's taking the "after the fact" payoff in his KPERS retirement for his "work" (cough) in the legislature. So far, that'll be over $1200@month for the rest of his natural born life. He has a lot of nerve to even suggest Republicans are any different than his very own personal choices.

Has Paul Davis said word one to the Public about how he's paying himself via KPERS? Has he led by demonstration, having his own KPERS benefit calculated with actual days worked and money received, or is he taking the sweetheart deal of a 372 work year....he working each and every one to the point where(?):

For the legislator listing all income - the daily rate, subsistence and allowance - this is how annualization is calculated:

•$88.66 (daily rate) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $32,981.52

•$123 (subsistence) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $45,756

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

Altogether, that equals $85,820.52, and that's the pay figure that would be used for that legislator retiring now.

Now then, Davis is pretty much defending this obscene payout because legislators work for "...so little money...." given his silence is rather deafening. He's just another bought and paid for political hack lawyer looking out for himself and himself only.....and he's not alone in this regard. NONE of the Douglas County "state legislators" are doing diddly about this absurd 372 year OR being able to claim they're working all 372 days. Not a one.

In calendar year 2010, employer contributions for legislators in KPERS slightly topped $900,000.

A legislator retiring with an annualized pay of $85,820.52, and with 10 years' service, would have an annual KPERS benefit of $15,018.60, for a monthly benefit of $1,251.55, according to KPERS. If the retiring legislator had 20 years' service, the annual benefit would be $30,037.20, and monthly, $2,503.10.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 6 months ago

The new wealthy..........government workers.

Liberty275 2 years, 6 months ago

Lowering my taxes? That's a nice positive change. I hope it continues.

Alceste 2 years, 6 months ago

One needs income of some sort to have a tax obligation, Liberty275.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 6 months ago

I guess from Brownback's point of view this is a win-win to sign the bill because he is putting all the money on the roulette table to win or lose but he doesn't have to pay for it if he loses and if he wins, this is his last shot at political success on a national level.

He will have stroked his benefactors well. The Koch brothers love him, get their big tax payoff and Cargill is firmly in charge of agriculture business in Kansas and now they have their man in charge at the Kansas Bioscience Authority. All the Koch graduates are moving into control of now the House and soon the Senate. It is a beautiful world if you are a right wingnut.

The single issue Pro-Lifers are getting all the love they can handle and for them, Brownback is on his way to Sainthood.

The one good thing I like about this bill is that manufacturers will get a boost and they will be happy about that, but at what cost? Is this the kind of boost that will actually help manufacturers over the next 10 years of is it more of the same political nonsense. Mismanagement of people and resources. Massive amounts of money being played with by special interest groups and in the end, the American people on the losing end...again.

I hope the roulette wheel that Brownback is playing with turns in our favor and he ends up a winner because if he loses this gamble, this state will be a far worse place in which to live.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 6 months ago

Kansas House sends massive corporate tax break bill to Governor’s Desk

So in order to cut $3.7 Billion out of the budget before 2018 to give away in tax cuts 40% of the State General fund will be cut.

Public education will be gutted, costing teachers their jobs, forcing more schools to close and increasing class sizes for Kansas children.

State agencies will be slashed, costing state employees their jobs and asking those who remain to do more – and serve more Kansans – with dramatically less.

And absolutely nothing in this tax bill will address the tax that impacts more working families than any other: property tax. In fact this tax bill guarantees that property and sales taxes will go up across Kansas.

http://www.workingkansans.com/2012/05...

Tracy Rogers 2 years, 6 months ago

So glad my daughter only has two more years of school. As soon as she graduates, I'm out of this state. They are going to destroy the education system. I feel so sorry for the kids coming up.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 6 months ago

Brownback is destroying our education system. Oh my, no mi compadre 50 years of Washington direction already has ruined the best system in the world.

somedude20 2 years, 6 months ago

"Rarely do voters get an opportunity to see such a spectacular failure of leadership by their elected officials," said Rochelle Chronister who has served as assistant House majority leader and chair of the Kansas Republican Party"

Wow and that did not even come from a liberal. Funny though as many who post on here would rather live on the street than to admit that they, and their leader were dead wrong. Too bad they did not have that drive and join the military and go fight.

You are wrong. Stop being blind. Even your own people are saying this is wrong. Keep on messing up your own life and stay out of mine

JackMcKee 2 years, 6 months ago

Prepare for more lawsuits the state AG isn't competent to defend.

Few Kansans wanted this tax shift. Brownbacks approval rating is tanking. This is going to be the dead chicken around Sammy's neck.

Mission accomplished Brownback. You suck.

Patricia Davis 2 years, 6 months ago

When Brownback signs this bill setting the state up for bankruptcy, is that grounds for impeachment?

JackMcKee 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for contributing nothing. As usual.

JayhawksandHerd 2 years, 6 months ago

Considering Brownback's dismal approval rating, either Kansas is suddenly teeming with liberals, or maybe - just maybe - he's managed to tick off a number of folks regardless of their political persuasion.

Jimo 2 years, 6 months ago

Quite frankly, the largest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy in Kansas history.

I wonder: is there a means to place an entire state in receivership, or will Congress have to amend the bankruptcy code? Will the bankruptcy court get to appoint a trustee for Kansas?

But then what did you expect from a Governor who worships the atheist Ayn Rand? Will Archbishop Joseph Fred Naumann now ask that Brownback no longer receive Holy Communion or does Sam get an anti-abortion pass? Does the Roman Catholic Church stand with Caesar or Jesus?

verity 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't think anybody is against government being more efficient and less wasteful. Very few people just want to be handed a livelihood without working for it. People want jobs and a fair wage for their work so they can take care of themselves.

The situation we have now with one side only trying to block the other(s) by any method, however illegal or unethical, so that they can retain power and push a radical agenda is, in the end, not good for anyone. This is NOT how democracy is supposed to work and I don't think what the founders had in mind.

We need sensible reform, not slash and burn. We need to be thrifty but also to realize that just making spending cuts without looking at the effects can actually hurt the economy. We need to look at the real bottom line.

When there are few people left to buy goods, even the very wealthy will not have much income. And when people are pushed too far and have nothing left to lose, they tend to push back.

We need to demand that the legislature and governor work for us. We certainly need to educate ourselves so that we know what works and not what some ideology tells us. We need to be open-minded. Sometimes we may even need to admit that we are wrong.

It will be a long, tough road back, but the other alternative may be armed revolution and that never ends well. Moderation is a good thing, cooperation is a good thing. Altruism and self-interest, in my opinion, are the same thing.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 6 months ago

The Obama upper middle class will be made of government workers who take down the true Americans who drive the country.

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