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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Lawrence legislators say they hope Kansans will turn the tide on current policies

April 13, 2013

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State Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, speaks Saturday during Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues meeting at the Holiday Inn. Seated beside Wilson is state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence. Also speaking at the event were state Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. The Legislature returns May 8 to work on the state budget and tax issues.

State Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, speaks Saturday during Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues meeting at the Holiday Inn. Seated beside Wilson is state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence. Also speaking at the event were state Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. The Legislature returns May 8 to work on the state budget and tax issues.

Lawrence legislators on Saturday expressed pessimism about the state budget and tax situation, but said they were optimistic that Kansans will eventually reject the conservative Republican policies that dominate the Kansas Legislature.

"People in Kansas will figure out that this model, which has never worked anywhere else, isn't going to work here," House Democratic Leader Paul Davis said at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues event.

Davis was referring to tax changes signed into law last year by Brownback that cut state income tax rates, eliminated income taxes for the owners of nearly 200,000 businesses, and removed credits aimed at helping low-income Kansans.

This year, Brownback has called for the permanent extension of the 6.3 percent state sales tax, which was supposed to decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1, elimination of homeowner tax breaks, and further income tax cuts.

Brownback has said cutting income taxes will boost the economy, while Democrats say the cuts benefit the wealthy at the expense of low-income Kansans and key state functions, such as education and social services.

The 2013 Kansas Legislature is on a month-long break before it will return May 8 to work on a state budget and tax plan.

The massive tax cuts from last year are causing legislators to scurry for revenue sources to balance the budget.

At the chamber forum held at the Holiday Inn Lawrence Hotel and Convention Center, legislators said cuts to higher education, raids on the state highway program, and continuation of the temporary sales increase were all in the mix.

At one point, the legislative panel was asked in a written question from an audience member if they could "recommend a nice state to move to."

The legislators said Kansans who disagree with the current policies need to get involved in the political process.

"We can't necessarily continue to rely on form letters and Facebook posts," state Rep. John Wilson, a freshman Democratic legislator, said. "We really need to find ways to push back."

State Rep. Tom Sloan, a moderate Republican, said if the current economic and political climate remains for the next two or three years, Kansas will see big changes in what state government provides.

He said higher education will become more privatized like in Colorado, and the public education and mental health systems will be trimmed back. He said funding for the arts and public broadcasting will also "go away."

State Sen. Marci Francisco, a Democrat, said the current state budget problems are directly linked to cuts in taxes.

"This is a situation we put ourselves in because we decided we didn't need revenue," she said.

Comments

autie 1 year ago

Whoa, Whoa...Yeoman2....calm down. Good thing I don't live west of Topeka. We sure have our share of ingorance and illiterate down here in the meth belt..but please don't lump everyone by geography, that is just stupid. My town is full of LIBERAL leftist. Sort of. Well, not very many but you get the point. My town is more full of moderates Repub's that are sickened by what is currently happening. Remember, except for the hard core Brownbackites we are all on the same team.

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Paul R Getto 1 year ago

Do not badmouth rural Kansas unless you produce all of your own food. Brave people work hard to make sure the grocery store shelves are full.

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bobberboy 1 year ago

Brownback is nothing more than a Koch robot !!

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year ago

The real problem is the existance of the State of Kansas west of Toperka. This huge area of the state is populated by a large segment of people who are anti-progressive, pro rural, anti-cooperative , pro-bucolic and generally ignorant and illiterate. As long as this segment of the population remain as they are, slugs like Brownback and Kobach will be he darlings of the people.

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Patricia Davis 1 year ago

I know that third parties have not had a great run. However, in Kansas where so many people do not THINK but simply vote Republican, it may be time for a new name party that takes the best of the two and makes it a special Kansas blend: fiscally conservative but fair and not driven by the whip masters of socially divisive issues. Keep religion out of politics. Be tolerant of differences. Invest in education and infrastructure. Repeal Brownback's tax policies.

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ProudDad 1 year ago

RESET = Republican Extremists Start Exiting Topeka

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ProudDad 1 year ago

When pushing the proverbial voting button, it is now time to push the RESET Kansas 2014 button. RESET = Republican Extremists Start Exiting Topeka!

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Les Blevins 1 year ago

Kansas has been suffering through a multi-year drought which is turning much of Kansas into a desert but we can't restore the Kansas climate to what it was in the mid 1900's by continuing urban sprawl and building bigger cities, more roads, more pipelines and more coal fired power plants and allowing industrial scale farming to buy out all our family farmers who's kids want to flee the rural sector for the glitzy lifestyle of the city. What we need to do is to show the nation how to build more sustainability infrastructure rather than roads, pipelines and power plants. I say we can do all that but not without also curing the Ogallala Aquifer problem and not without fixing the soils runoff and stream pollution and impoundment sedimentation problems and not without creating more jobs that lead us in the direction of fossil fuel independence and energy efficiency rather than toward more fossil fuels dependence and greenhouse emissions. That’s the choice before Kansas and the nation. Stay on the old extractive course the Republicans like Brownback and the Koch brothers want or the new course the environmentalists want to see happen and help create but don’t know how to go about it. As reported by Brownback's own words by Andy Hyland in the February 12, 2010 Lawrence Journal World; Senator Sam Brownback says "Kansas businesses need the opportunity to grow without being over-taxed. He pointed to growth in technology industries as a path out of the state’s budget woes" and "the state should seek to attract new opportunities in wind power, other renewable sources of energy" and he said "the state needs to invest in these areas to position itself well for the future, and help to recruit new businesses to the state" and he added “We need that person who has that entrepreneurial spirit who says, ‘I’ve got a dream, and I know how to get things done,’” Brownback said growth and investment in these kinds of areas would help the state emerge from its current budgetary crisis. “You can neither tax nor cut your way out of the problem you’re in,” he said. “You’ve got to grow your way out” and he is right but he has also shown us he isn't the man with the right plan.

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Paul R Getto 1 year ago

The Kochs have money, but the people have the votes if they will use them. 31% Sam hopes they won't. Why do you think they work so hard on suppressing the vote?

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Cait McKnelly 1 year ago

Looks like Charlie and David bought themselves a state. Too bad it's teetering on the brink of being another Somalia. Of course they don't care that half the state is slated to turn into a desert in the next decade or so and that outward migration is so bad that it's giving a whole new meaning to the term, "Bleeding Kansas". It just means there's a lot fewer people to whine about the toxic effects of fracking or getting in the way of the Keystone pipeline.
In the meantime, you have a governor tossing out zany ideas like tax breaks for people moving into depopulated areas (despite the fact that there's no industry or infrastructure to support them) and tourism on the Kaw (!) just so he LOOKS like he's doing something to "turn the state around".
I dunno. It looks to me like the state is on life support and the death rattle is getting worse by the day.

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toe 1 year ago

To most of Kansas the politics of Lawrence is like a zit on the plains. It needs squeezed.

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UneasyRider 1 year ago

Seems some posters don't understand that LIBERAL actually means intelligent, thinking, reasonable individuals with some common sense.

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wastewatcher 1 year ago

The LIBERAL DEMS seem to forget the years of LIBERAL SEBELIUS when budget cuts to schools, universities, and social services were made along with taxes and support for local government. It is time for the Dems to offer real alternatives and quit whining.. Elections have consequences and the LIBERALS have been soundly rejected at the polls in the last two elections, including Lawrence's own LIBERAL pride and joy, Tom Holland.

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Punt 1 year ago

There are many excellent point sprinkled throughout the comments. As a state Kansas has produced over the decades exceptional leaders for this country. We will continue to do so. Name calling is a cop-out for not wanting to take the responsibility to do the hard work ahead on behalf of the people in this great state. Regarding the wealthy and the radical right governing by fear and hate, divisiveness pitting people against each other, this bill board says it all "Republicans are too EXTREME for America." As my Grandpa use to say, "Time to through the bum out". So what is it more of the same or cooperative action drawing upon the best and brightest, no matter their political or religious identity. I wonder, where are our fellow Kansan's with the character, courage, and conscience to step forward. To remain quiet is to be a part of the problem, not the solution. We have choices.

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RCJay 1 year ago

The problem is the Democrats tax and spend policies don't work either. There needs to be some middle ground, but neither side is willing to compromise. Brownback's policies seem better than Sebelius' policies as far as getting businesses to come to Kansas and get us out of the Obama depression.

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Phil Minkin 1 year ago

Sadly, Dems can't beat Brownback with good wishes. When will a viable candidate appear? It's not too early for some one to emerge and start raising money to somehow compete with Koch dollars.

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