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Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Brownback: Keep state sales tax at current level, cut more income taxes; change judicial selection

Governor Sam Brownback waves to lawmakers as he is escorted to the speaker's podium of the House chamber before delivering the State of the State address on Tuesday at the Kansas Statehouse. In his speech, Brownback called for a cut in taxes and changes in the way judges are selected.

Governor Sam Brownback waves to lawmakers as he is escorted to the speaker's podium of the House chamber before delivering the State of the State address on Tuesday at the Kansas Statehouse. In his speech, Brownback called for a cut in taxes and changes in the way judges are selected.

January 15, 2013

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Governor Sam Brownback is applauded by House Speaker Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle as he delivers the State of the State address on Tuesday in the House chamber of the Kansas Statehouse.

Governor Sam Brownback is applauded by House Speaker Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle as he delivers the State of the State address on Tuesday in the House chamber of the Kansas Statehouse.

Policy proposals

  • Keep the current level of the state sales tax of 6.3 percent instead of allowing it to fall as required by law to 5.7 percent on July 1.
  • Reduce the top rate of the state income tax from 4.9 percent to 3 percent and the lowest rate of 3 percent to 1.9 percent.
  • Funding to educate 50 additional medical doctors and new state-of-the-art medical training building at Kansas University Medical Center.
  • Proposal to define in the Kansas Constitution what is a “suitable provision” for school funding.
  • Proposed constitutional amendment to make Kansas Supreme Court justices elected or named by governor subject to Senate confirmation.
  • $12 million to support innovative programs to help young struggling readers.
  • Requiring third-graders to show an ability to read before being promoted.
  • Merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority and Kansas Department of Transportation.
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I’d say for me it’s education. I know in past years there hasn’t been an emphasis on education funding.

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— Despite dwindling revenues because of tax cuts, and a court order to increase school funding, Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday called for more income tax cuts, and changes in the way appellate judges are selected.

But to reduce state income taxes, Brownback wants to keep the state sales tax at 6.3 percent. Democrats said that constituted a tax increase because under current law, the state sales tax is set to fall to 5.7 percent on July 1.

In his State of the State address, Brownback, a Republican backed by large majorities in the House and Senate, said the keys to growing the economy are lower income taxes and reduced government spending.

Brownback also wants constitutional changes to give him more control over picking judges and told the Legislature to assert itself over the courts in school funding.

Democrats howled at the proposals.

"Gov. Brownback has brought us to the edge of our own fiscal cliff right here in Kansas," said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka. House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said Brownback was "treating the Kansas Constitution like a political pinata" because of his beef with the courts over school finance.

Taxing issues

Last year, Brownback signed into law cuts in the state income tax rates that also eliminated income taxes for 191,000 business owners.

Those cuts are causing revenue shortfalls, but Brownback on Tuesday proposed slicing income tax rates deeper with the endgame being the elimination of the state income tax altogether.

"Tonight we are here to take another step on our path to no state income tax," Brownback said. "This will create jobs and opportunities in our state that the current generation has left for Texas or Florida to find," he said, referring to states that have no state income tax. "Look out Texas, here comes Kansas," he said as Republicans gave him a standing ovation.

Under Brownback's plan, the bottom income tax rate would drop from 3 percent to 1.9 percent and the top rate would fall from 4.9 percent to 3.5 percent.

The previous round of tax cuts are already producing a revenue crunch. In the fiscal year that starts July 1, the state is projected to collect approximately $5.5 billion, which is about $700 million less than current spending.

Even so, Brownback vowed to protect funding to education and social services, which together make up the bulk of state spending. The details of his proposed budget will be released Thursday.

State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, was skeptical of Brownback's tax proposals.

"I grew up in politics believing that we had a three-legged revenue stool — income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes," Sloan said.

"So what we are doing is now saying we are going to have a two-legged stool, property taxes and sales taxes. I really don't know that that's a good way to fund the essential services that Kansans want — education, social safety net programs, public safety, and then investing in our future, whether that is preserving our water supplies, or maintaining a viable highway system," he said.

Judicial proposals

On the judicial front, Brownback called for either the election of Kansas Supreme Court justices, or giving the governor the power to pick justices with Senate confirmation. Currently, a nominating commission gives the governor three nominees to choose from when filling appellate court vacancies.

He also called on the Legislature to make it clear that they are in charge of public school funding, not the courts.

During this segment of his 30-minute speech, Supreme Court justices listened quietly while Republican legislators at times stood up to applaud Brownback's statements.

Last week, a panel of three state district court judges ruled the Legislature had shirked its constitutional responsibility to adequately fund schools, ordered a $440 million increase in funding, and criticized the state's position of cutting taxes while breaking previous funding commitments to education. The state has appealed the ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Childhood poverty

In his speech, Brownback also said he wants to tackle childhood poverty. He proposed an initiative aimed at increasing the number of children who can read at grade level by the fourth grade.

Under his plan, third-graders who can't read "at a basic level" will not be promoted to fourth grade.

"Passing children up the grade ladder when we know they can't read is irresponsible — and is cruel," he said.

Davis called Brownback's words on childhood poverty "very empty" because the governor has signed into law the repeal of several tax credits that were designed to help low-income families.

In higher education, Brownback said his budget will provide funding to educate 50 additional physicians each year "at a new, state-of-the-art medical training building at the Kansas University Medical Center."

In response, state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said, "I'm looking to see the budget for the universities of the state, but certainly a priority is medical training. The models have changed and we do need to be educating additional doctors. So that is good news."

And Brownback called for putting the Kansas Turnpike Authority under the Kansas Department of Transportation. Asked if that meant he was proposing the sale of the Kansas Turnpike, his office said no.

Comments

bobberboy 1 year, 3 months ago

browncraked is nothing but a copy cat - he's "starving the beast" - and old reagan idea. it goes like this - continue to cut taxes so you in effect increase the deficits so you can scream that the sky is falling to justify smaller government. This is an old republican trick !

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

ALEC/KOCH agenda

In fact, public sector membership dues account for only around one percent of ALEC’s annual revenues. ALEC's pro-corporate, anti-consumer mission is clear.

Few have ever heard of it, but the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is the ultimate smoke filled back room.

On the surface, ALEC’s membership is mostly comprised of thousands of state legislators. Each pays a nominal membership fee in order to attend ALEC retreats and receive model legislation. ALEC’s corporate contributors, on the other hand, pay a king’s ransom to gain access to legislators and distribute their corporate-crafted legislation.

So, while the membership appears to be public sector, the bankroll is almost entirely private sector. In fact, public sector membership dues account for only around one percent of ALEC’s annual revenues. ALEC claims to be nonpartisan, but in fact its free-market, pro-business mission is clear.

The result has been a consistent pipeline of special interest legislation being funneled into state capitols. Thanks to ALEC, 826 bills were introduced in the states in 2009 and 115 were enacted into law.

Behind the scenes at ALEC, the nuts and bolts of lobbying and crafting legislation is done by large corporate defense firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon. A law firm with strong ties to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, it has long used ALEC’s ability to get a wide swath of state laws enacted to further the interests of its corporate clients.

ALEC’s campaigns and model legislation have run the gamut of issues, but all have either protected or promoted a corporate revenue stream, often at the expense of consumers. For example, ALEC has worked on behalf of:

  • Oil companies to undermine climate change proponents;
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers, arguing that states should be banned from importing prescription drugs;
  • Telecom firms to block local authorities from offering cheap or free municipally-owned broadband;
  • Insurance companies to prevent state insurance commissioners from requiring insurers to meet strengthened accounting and auditing rules;
  • Big banks, recommending that seniors be forced to give up their homes via reverse mortgages in order to receive Medicaid;
  • The asbestos industry, trying to shut the courthouse door to Americans suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases; and,
  • Enron to deregulate the utility industries, which eventually caused the U.S. to lose what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimated as $5 trillion in market value.

http://www.justice.org/cps/rde//justice/hs.xsl/15044.htm

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HootyWho 1 year, 3 months ago

how did he get elected i didn't vote for him,,,but dowg gone,,,somebody must have

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bobberboy 1 year, 3 months ago

Browncrack is a nutcase and sales taxes hurt poor people the most !!!!

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bobberboy 1 year, 3 months ago

State of Kansas Voters - get rid of the smug browncracked !!

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

I have thought of a way to increase tourism in Kansas.

Arrest brownback, place in a public cage next to a silverback. Place a sign saying feed the biggest monkey. Then sell peanuts and count the votes.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 3 months ago

Texas and Florida generate a lot of money through tourism and property tax and are able to offset not having an income tax.......

Good points. We will have ocean-side property in Kansas in 250 million or so years when the continents reform into the new Pangea. Maybe Sam is taking the long view. Short term, we need to move Florida Disney World, Epcot and Miami Beach to Kansas for a few million years.

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whatupdown 1 year, 3 months ago

Somebody has to stick up the poor for the rich, I mean somebody has to stick up for the rich, Scammy is the man.

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RoyalDon 1 year, 3 months ago

Hey Governor Poopback. Newsflash: Texas and Florida generate a lot of money through tourism and property tax and are able to offset not having an income tax, because more people want to visit Texas and Florida or want to live there. Most people don’t want to visit or live in Kansas unless they have to. What politicians in Texas or Florida are you looking to impress or emulate?

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 3 months ago

Brownback said that Kansas was on the path to becoming Texas. May the gods go with you.

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/2013/jan/16/247838/

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toe 1 year, 3 months ago

Excellent agenda. Pass it all. A constitutional fix for an education funding error is long over due. Add this in the mix.

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HootyWho 1 year, 3 months ago

He's running for President already couple of years early i think

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Liberty275 1 year, 3 months ago

Cut income tax to zero and pass a constitutional amendment that any further income tax must be approved by the citizens in a ballot initiative by a 2/3rds margin.

On a side note, I've not heard Brownback whining about the guy that served as governor before he took office. Too bad all our executive politicians can't figure out where the buck stops.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 3 months ago

I applaud Gov. Brownback for cutting my state taxes. With Obama and the Democrats confiscating more federal tax dollars from productive Americans and redistributing it to the unproductive in order to further their socialist utopia, it's refreshing that Kansas is headed the opposite direction. Confiscatory tax policy punishes achievement and slows economic growth. Thank you Gov. Brownback for your leadership with the ultimate goal of a zero state income tax rate.

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naturalist 1 year, 3 months ago

Brownback eliminated property taxes on equipment (trucks, tractors, etc) owned by KS businesses (but we individuals still pay it on our cars, trailers, etc). This money went directly into county coffers to fund county services. Now KS counties such as Jefferson Co, which has Hamm's, have lost a huge part of their operating budgets with nowhere to come up with the $, and many were running on a shoe string as it was. This is supposed to bring more business to KS I presume, but I suspect the biggest beneficiary of this is Koch Industries.

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patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

head doctor, I really didn’t think this was the place to air your laundry But since you insist, I will jump in. first you may claim to know me But not very well, if you did you would know I turn down more business than I do because I only do what suits me. I can do that after working for over 40 years, and not blowing my paychecks. You on the other hand are one of the typical ljw mysteries, with a high profile job, so you are unable to post your name, that’s a load of bs but that is what Everyone hides behind so go ahead on. I think the ljw should ban all of You gutless wonders that cant post under your own name if you really had a high profile job you would be smart enough to keep your mouth shut in the first place

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consumer1 1 year, 3 months ago

I really don't know that that's a good way to fund the essential services that Kansans want —T sloan Not all Kansans want to fund people who don't want to work, and dumping money into schools with no accountability for that money.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 3 months ago

Why is anybody surprised at this? George Santayana said "Those who fail to remember the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them" Hitler did not take over Gemany. The clueless, spineless citizens of the Reich gave it to him. Brownback was elected by his religion soaked-western Kansas and Koch consortium. He wants fervently to prevent educated citizens in Kansas, he hopes to rule unfettered over a state of willing dupes and hayseeds who wull not oppose his facist policies. Why is anyone surprised at this??

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kujayhawk7476 1 year, 3 months ago

Seems to me these judicial moves by gov Brownkoch are setting the stage for abortion and school voucher issues. He and his merry band of right-wing whacko buddies will certainly take Kansas to the brink of bankruptcy and frankly that may be the only way to defeat them in 2014.

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tanaumaga 1 year, 3 months ago

Never, Ever , compare us to Texas. Mr. Brownstain, you are the devil. Please go back where you came from. Thanks.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 3 months ago

The C Street's Muscular jesus would be proud of Sam.

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Hooligan_016 1 year, 3 months ago

Article forgot to mention that Brownback also wants to merge KDOT and KTA.

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ElwoodTSuggins 1 year, 3 months ago

I guess the concepts of separation of powers and a system of checks and balances are foreign to the Governor.

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average 1 year, 3 months ago

Texas and Florida. Two states with higher unemployment rates today and every single month of the recession than us. HERE COMES KANSAS! Two states with more childhood poverty than us. HERE COMES KANSAS! Two states with worse schools, roads, prison overcrowding, and a hundred other things than us. HERE COMES KANSAS!

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Les Blevins 1 year, 3 months ago

It's obvious our very brazen Gov. Brownback is out to make his own fiefdom out of Kansas. A fiefdom, by the way, is defined as an area that someone controls completely for those without a dictionary.

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thuja 1 year, 3 months ago

The look on the dude's face in the red tie says it all.

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oldexbeat 1 year, 3 months ago

Make sure the working poor -- and those with the large (no birth control allowed) families -- to pay for the state. Sounds right, huh ? And then we'll get rid of science in the schools -- and with the hand appointed court judges, all will be right in the world. Officially. They'll rule it so.

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question4u 1 year, 3 months ago

According to a 2010 poll 30% of Texans believed that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, and another 29% didn't know. Yes, Texas is a great model to follow for policy on funding education.

Look out Texas, here dumbs Kansas!

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Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

Great news, but the cuts don't go far enough. I suggest the following:

1) Eliminate ALL income tax in Kansas now.

2) To make up for lost revenue, lower mandatory school attendance to the 8th grade. Make our high schools competitive by requiring application and limiting admission to the top 25 per cent of students. Since sports are an essential part of high school life, create an exception for the dumb athletes so each school can have a football team. Athletes with lower academic functioning can remain in school as long as they remain on the team. Starters would have their tuition waived. Second stringers would be allowed to do janitorial work to pay for their school. fees.

3) Charge each family 500 per year per student for primary and secondary school tuition. Low income students accepted to high school would be elibigle for tuition waivers based on income. At the primary grade level, parents would be able to work off the tuition as night janitors.

4) Reduce the per pupil state reimbursement to $3.000 per student, to be adjusted for inflation. Allow local school districts to raise and spend more through local property tax.

5) Vouchers at 1/2 the state reimbursement level for home schooling or private schools. Good Christian families should not have to be double taxed for providing home schooling, which offers a superior education and minimizes the tax burden for all of us.

6) Offer huge tax incentives for business to bring low wage, low skilled jobs to Kansas. Subside the minimum wage for businesses hiring 14 to 18 year old kids. If they are not smart enough to be in high school, they should be off the streets doing something productive. This way they can help support their families, and would reduce welfare costs.

7) Sell the Kansas Turnpike. With highways costing millions and millions of dollars per mile, it should bring a pretty penny. Things don't happen overnight. Its going to take a few years for our dear governor's great plan to bear fruit, and we will probably need a cushion until the new business and industry starts rolling into Kansas. As an added incentive for new businesses, the state would pay the school tuition fees for the children of all new management jobs above $50,000 per year, and/or give each kid of the new management team private school vouchers up to the cost of tuition, but no more than 6,000 per year.

Hey, education is overrated. Reading riting, and rithmetic is all that is needed, except for those capable of becoming community leaders and truly productive citizens.

And one more thing: Mandatory sterilization for single non-Christian mothers receiving public assistance. No more welfare babies.

Our dear governor is doing great. But he's moving way too slow for my tastes. Lets stop all that mooching by the 47 per cent here and now.

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markoo 1 year, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Dan Eyler 1 year, 3 months ago

No income tax, I cannot wait. Thank you governor. I am good with leaving the sales tax at the current level. I agree more with his policy suggestions. I'm not rich, in fact the taxes are killing me and my family. We need jobs, and opportunity, not higher taxes. A friend of the family is just starting a small business and they are excited about the opportunity lower taxes will mean for them. A much better change that she can make it work. Lets get it done this year.

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patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

sure i sell, but i dont hide behind a secret name when i post on line.. ok, i know you are black ops, and cant reveal your identty, i really get tired of gutless wonders on the jw

1

NewYorkLilly 1 year, 3 months ago

Brownback is going to prove to be the worst thing to happen to Kansas since the Phelps family. He can "pray on it " all he wants but the policies he suggested today regarding taxes and education are absurd. Why dont we consider actually funding our educational system adequately instead of " holding third graders back " to repeat 3rd grade for a second time Anyone with an education themselves can tell you that there is NO research to support that as being an effective solution for students with reading problems . It is that type of backward thinking that contributes to keeping businesses out of Kansas......Must we always be the laughing stock of the nation ???!!!!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 3 months ago

"I grew up in politics believing that we had a three-legged revenue stool — income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes," Sloan said.


In the Teapublican new math, that all grade school kids will be learning from now on, 3 minus 1 equals 4.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 3 months ago

Ho hum. All I have to say is BOHICA.

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Jean Robart 1 year, 3 months ago

no no no, Brownie---cut the sales tax on July as scheduled---we pat 8.85% in Lawrence, and i'm sure rates in other areas of the state are even higher.

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patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

katara, i have never bought anything from amazon, or much else on the internet,, one of the many reasons i dont care, this is the same reason people support taxes that do not affect them

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gccs14r 1 year, 3 months ago

It isn't taxation that is sending our youth to other states, it's the gutting of education and culture that's doing it. I wouldn't raise a kid here on a bet. Not any more.

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GUMnNUTS 1 year, 3 months ago

Leave the turnpike alone, it's the one decent road in the state.

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patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

start taxing those pecky internet sales , of course remember to excempt baby food from internet sales taxes

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Slowponder 1 year, 3 months ago

Governor: Why stop at zero income tax? Why not have anyone who makes less than $X a month be responsible to pay half of their income to the state so the State can fund the Koch Bros latest boondoggle. Put your money where your mouth is, Sammy.

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1 year, 3 months ago

So I guess he's going to balance the budget with a state take-over of Kansas Turnpike Authority?

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

Is it a co-incidence that his healthy ending balance is almost exactly the same as he has cut from school funding?

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought the State of Kansas address was to tell us the condition of the state now. All I heard was about how good it used to be and there will be pie in the sky in the future.

He bragged on Kansas' 5.4 unemployment rate. The only reason it's dropped is because of people dropped off of the unemployment rolls and no longer count,

He claims he will protect schools from cuts. Any further protection would leave shools using abacus', if they can afford those. The kids might have to take their shoes off to count to 20.

He had to dig at the KSC that the legislature control the purse strings, and ignore the fact that the numbers for a suitable education came from the legislaters themselves.

He told Texas to move over because Kansas is going to zero income tax. But he sure did mention where the funding of the state will come fromto replace it. Watch local taxes soar!

The only fun part of the broadcast was watching wagle trying to get her face in the camera.

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63BC 1 year, 3 months ago

The Governor also noted that unemployment has dropped from 7 percent to 5.4 percent on his watch, 2012 was a record year for new Kansas business filings (over 15,000) and Wichita State projects another 24,000 new private sector jobs this year.

A growing economy is very good for the budget...

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speedy47 1 year, 3 months ago

OMG! What's he smoking? How can we have a deficit and still be cutting taxes? Where is the money coming from? I'm thinking Sam's 3rd grade teacher at Parker should have held him back until he passed Math.

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JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm surprised he hasn't proposed changing his title from governor to "emperor for life" that's the path he's laid out...consolidating all power in his hands. This new legislature will probably grant him these new dictatorial powers to thunderous applause. Kansas, the new Mississippi.

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kansasbirddog 1 year, 3 months ago

The governor is right. I am a business owner who left Kansas and moved to Florida to get out from under Kansas taxes. The savings in taxes from leaving Kansas pays the entire cost of my Florida home, mortgage interest, taxes, insurance and utilities - and I have a very nice house on the water and am enjoying the weather.

It is no accident that the low tax states are growing and the high tax states are stagnating. Those who have "options" regarding where to live will exercise them. And, those that have those options are the entrepreneurs who employ people.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 3 months ago

He's going to eliminate child poverty by giving the wealthy tax breaks, and finance that by raising the taxes on baby food. He's going to raise reading scores by stacking the courts with judges who'll allow him to dismantle the public school system, but he'll punish those lazy slacker third-graders who don't read up to his standards by doing something actual educators know to be a really bad idea.

Is this guy that clueless, or does he think we're that stupid?

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Orwell 1 year, 3 months ago

Brownback admits he didn't know that Kansans used to elect judges, but we chose to change that system and move toward judicial competence and independence. The only reason Brownback and his allies want to return to the Bad Old Days of political selection is so they can control the judiciary and eliminate independent restraints on implementation of their extreme ideology.

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