Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Republicans approve tax, appropriations bills to conclude legislative session

June 2, 2013


— Republican legislative leaders mustered majorities to push through a $777 million tax increase and a state budget that cuts funding to higher education and corrections before adjourning the 2013 session early Sunday morning.

The actions ended the session after 99 days of sometimes contentious wrangling within Republican majorities.

On the tax issue, the Legislature sent Gov. Sam Brownback a bill that would set the state sales tax at 6.15 percent instead of allowing the rate to fall to 5.7 percent on July 1, as was required by law when a temporary sales tax rate was enacted in 2010. The Senate approved the measure 24-13, and the House, 69-45.

The tax package, which received support only from Republicans, would also cut itemized deductions by half, reduce the standard deduction, and ratchet down income tax rates.

"It is an absolute tax cut," said Gov. Sam Brownback, who endorsed the plan. But after five years, the bill will increase taxes by $777 million, according to legislative staff.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said the reductions in income tax rates would drive economic growth.

"People are going to look at this all over the nation," Wagle said.

But Democrats said raising sales taxes and lowering deductions to support income tax rate cuts shifted the tax burden onto low- and middle-income people to benefit the wealthy.

Some legislators said not allowing the sales tax to drop to 5.7 percent represented a broken promise to Kansans.

Under the tax bill, charitable contributions will still be an allowed deduction.

The standard deduction would be cut from $9,000 to $5,500 for head of household and $7,500 for married, filing jointly. The plan would reduce over five years the top income tax rate from 4.9 percent to 3.9 percent, and the bottom rate from 3 percent to 2.3 percent. After 2018, state revenue growth over 2 percent would go toward further income tax rate reductions.

On the budget, the measure called for cutting higher education by approximately $66 million over two years. The plan included a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut for each of the next two years, and a cap on salary expenses.

And for the next school year, the budget provides flat funding for public schools despite a court ruling that says the Legislature should increase school funding by approximately $500 million. The state has appealed that decision to the Kansas Supreme Court.

The state budget received the minimum required 63 votes in the House after Speaker Merrick kept the roll open for about 20 minutes and six Republicans switched from voting against the budget to voting for it. No Democrats voted for it. In the Senate, the budget got the minimum required 21 votes, again with only Republican support.

Some legislators criticized the budget for cutting $6 million from the Kansas Deparmentt of Corrections. State Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, said the cut would make Kansans less safe. "We are putting people's lives in jeopardy with this budget," Smith said.

During the budget debate, one of the major disputes was over a plan by the Brownback administration to place the long-term care of those with developmental disabilities under KanCare, the state's new Medicaid program that is administered by for-profit companies.

Many parents of children with developmental disabilities have opposed that move, saying they believe the assistance their children receive will suffer under KanCare.

Advocates for those with developmental disabilities wanted to "carve out" long-term care services from KanCare, but GOP leaders wouldn't allow that in the budget.


i_read_things 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Senator Tyson moved the Senate adopt the Conference Committee Report on HB 2059. On roll call, the vote was: Yeas 24; Nays 13; Present and Passing 0; Absent or Not Voting 3. Yeas: Abrams, Apple, Arpke, Bowers, Bruce, Denning, Fitzgerald, Kerschen, King, Knox, LaTurner, Longbine, Love, Lynn, Masterson, Melcher, O'Donnell, Olson, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Smith, Tyson, Wagle. Nays: Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, McGinn, Ostmeyer, Pettey, Pyle, V. Schmidt, Wolf. Absent or Not Voting: Donovan, Emler, Holmes. The Conference Committee Report was adopted.


i_read_things 10 months, 2 weeks ago

On motion of Rep. Carlson, the conference committee report on HB 2059 was adopted.
On roll call, the vote was: Yeas 69; Nays 45; Present but not voting: 0; Absent or not voting: 11.
Yeas: Alford, Bideau, Boldra, Bradford, Brunk, Couture-Lovelady, Campbell, Carlson, Carpenter, Cassidy, Claeys, Concannon, Crum, Dierks, Doll, Dove, Edwards, Ewy, Gandhi, Garber, Goico, Gonzalez, Hawkins, Hedke, Hermanson, Highland, Hill, Hineman, Hoffman, Houser, Howell, Huebert, Hutton, Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Kelley, Kelly, Kinzer, Kleeb, Lunn, Macheers, Mast, Meigs, Merrick, O'Brien, Petty, Phillips, Proehl, Read, Rothlisberg, Rubin, Ryckman Jr., Ryckman Sr., Schroeder, Schwab, Schwartz, Seiwert, Shultz, Siegfreid, Sloan, Suellentrop, Sutton, Swanson, Thimesch, Todd, Vickrey, Waymaster, Weber.
Nays: Alcala, Ballard, Becker, Bollier, Bruchman, Burroughs, Carlin, Christmann, Clayton, Corbet, Davis, DeGraaf, Dillmore, Edmonds, Esau, Finch, Finney, Grant, Grosserode, Henry, Hibbard, Hildabrand, Kuether, Lusk, McPherson, Meier, Menghini, Moxley, Pauls, Peck, Perry, Powell, Rhoades, Rooker, Ruiz, Sawyer, Sloop, Tietze, Trimmer, Victors, Ward, Weigel, Whipple, Wilson, Winn.
Present but not voting: None.
Absent or not voting: Barker, Bridges, Frownfelter, Henderson, Houston, Kahrs, Lane, Montgomery, Osterman, Peterson, Wolfe Moore.

puddleglum 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't understand all the complaining. I'm really rich so I don't really care if everybody else has to pay more taxes. who really needs education anyway? I mean lets face it; without education You will be more likely to end up working for min wage at one of my factories. And since none of you can exist without me supplying you your job, its only fair that I shouldn't have to pay taxes. Besides, gas is kinda expensive these days, and I need to fill up the boat. So if you all would kindly stop trying to take what I've rightfully stolen, I would appreciate it.


Larry_Local 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The only thing the legislature and Brownback accomplished this year is to give everyone - republican or democrat - a reason to vote Brownback out of office next year. Regardless of political affiliation, I'll be happy if anyone is elected as long as its not him! And if he thinks what he's doing to this state will benefit his presidential future, he is sadly mistaken...


Lynn731 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Funding for the KU medical school should not be cut under any circumstances. We need more doctors, not less. I feel the same about nursing and pharmacy schools. With Obamacare we need more of these healthcare professionals.


Floyd Craig 10 months, 3 weeks ago

well they impeachd Nixon why cant the people of Kansas do that to old brownie n his cronies its all about them who have a lot not for the ones who have very little and I do mean little im not reach by no means I use to be a state worker and it wasn't that good to make very little plus the retirement thng they have and invested in faild they use to have the works put into their retirement n the starte matchd it that's a crok they didn't any way they need to be voted out NOW


nocrybabies 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I feel sorry for the people who are stuck here and cannot afford to leave Sasnak.


SpeedRacer 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is no such thing as a temporary sales tax; they always become permanent. That includes the "temporary" hikes Lawrence voters have passed.


kernal 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Have patience; after all is said and done, the legislators who wrote and supported these bills will go down in Kansas history among the most ignorant and deluded we've ever elected.

Things will really get interesting once their constituents realize they've been screwed by the flim flam tea party.


DScully 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The SoB would like nothing better than too see the poor pay more taxes to support the rich. I am poor, and will be poorer still living in this hell hole called Kansas. I feel ashamed to have friends who voted for this douche' bag.


kateomoore 10 months, 3 weeks ago

whether one calls this a tax increase or a tax cut---what it clearly is, is a shifting of the tax burden from the more affluent to the less affluent. This governor and this legislature do not care about anything that serves the vulnerable, the working class, safety nets, infrastructure, or education. It cares about dictating social agendas and pandering to the Koch brothers et al. The parties have proven themselves. Look at the voting record and vote accordingly. Do not expect help or concern from right wing legislators. They are looking for a cheap labor force and cannon fodder.


deskboy04 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The bad part is they aren't done yet! Just for this year. Who knows what they are capable of next session?


Patricia Davis 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It will take decades for Kansas to recover from this insanity. Yes, I agree there are many efficiencies we should undertake. My priority would be reducing the number of Kansas counties by half. We have more counties than freakin' California.

The carve out on managed care for those with disabilities will be a nightmare of incompetence and people being underserved or even dying.

I think that people will very soon get their eyeballs pried open when the property tax in Kansas goes crazy.


Kate Rogge 10 months, 3 weeks ago

From today's Wichita Eagle: Joseph A. Aistrup: Kansas pursuing wrong tax policy

"We are attempting to implement a solution – elimination of income taxes – that has no chance of producing its advertised effect, producing jobs, population growth and tax revenue beyond what we would have experienced without it."


Steven Gaudreau 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is an attack on the rich.


yourworstnightmare 10 months, 3 weeks ago

A $777 million increase in revenue is a tax increase, despite the desire of some in the GOP to call it a tax cut. Black is white. Up is down.

The fact is, lower and middle income people will see more of their income go to taxes, and wealthy and businesses will see less. This was how it was designed and was the point of Brownback tax bills of the last two years.

This is a shift of the tax burden, away from the wealthy and businesses and onto the lower and middle income groups. This was by design.

Brownback and the GOP rationalized this by suggesting it would stimulate the economy and produce jobs. I am highly skeptical. We shall see.


selective_memorizer 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Good to see more Repub fiscal responsibility at work. And I thought libs liked higher taxes. Guess not a sales tax though that hits them in the pocket too.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 months, 3 weeks ago

If there is any economic growth over the next few years, there will be absolutely no way to know to what degree it can be attributed to a reduction in the income tax on the wealthy and the businesses they own (and let's face it, that's all this is so far.)

Pretty much all such economic growth will be the result of economic conditions that have nothing to do with Kansas income tax rates, simply because economic conditions in a state of 3 million people are driven much more by what happens in a world of 7 billion than any relatively trivial tinkering with methods of taxation can achieve.

But the quality of life within the borders of Kansas is most definitely affected by the way tax monies are collected and then spent. And the actions of this legislature and this governor mean that taxes on the poor and the middle class will go up significantly, while the quality of services to those same people will go down equally significantly.

But the wealthiest among us will be just a little more wealthy, and I'm sure some of them will be glad to cut Brownback, et al, in on a little bit of that additional lucre.


tir 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Some of those working and middle class conservatives who voted for Brownwhack and these conservative legislators are probably kicking themselves right now, because they are going to be paying for that mistake big time, through higher taxes. Meanwhile the Kochs are laughing all the way to the bank.


deec 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It appears they didn't fiddle with the charitable deduction. Apparently all those good religious folks will stop supporting their houses of worship if they can't get a kickback from the government in return.


Stain 10 months, 3 weeks ago

KU has already become a rotten place to work, with the budget cuts and wage freezes Brownback has created. People haven't gotten a raise in 5 years.

Now the higher taxes and no mortgage interest deduction.

How will KU attract good people? They won't.


Stain 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Brownback = TAX MAN and he's coming for your family.


JuanValdez 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Brownback and the republican legislature are going to succeed in driving KU out of the AAU.


Brock Masters 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I support getting rid of the mortgage deduction. Streamlining the tax code and removing loopholes is a good thing. However, I am not in favor of raising taxes. Removing a tax deduction without an equal and corresponding reduction in the tax rate is a tax increase.

This is what the legislature did with this tax plan. It is a tax increase and will hurt the poor the most.


Stain 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Brownback hates the working class.


Bob_Keeshan 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Do not forget -- last year's tax shift bill also raised taxes on low and middle income Kansans.

In the past two years, Brownback and the GOP have raised taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars in order to cut taxes solely for high-income Kansans.

Yes, it is a tax cut, but only for 10-20% of Kansans. For everybody else, it is an immediate tax increase and a guarantee of future tax increases.


Stain 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Regardless of how this will REALLY affect the economics of Kansas and Kansas, they will keep up the LIE that it is going to spur economic growth.

We want to downsize - sell our paid-for home and buy a smaller one here in Lawrence. With no mortgage interest deduction there is no way that I will buy another home here, ever. This is going to drive me and my family right out of here, and my money along with it. I'm looking at different states - at the very least, to move over to the Missouri side.

Brownback's Kansas isn't a good place to live. He has ruined the state.


2stuffedtojump 10 months, 3 weeks ago

How about a link on how they voted?


Richard Heckler 10 months, 3 weeks ago

On one side were economists and politicians who wanted to increase government spending to offset weakness in the private sector. This "stimulus" spending, economists like Paul Krugman argued, would help reduce unemployment and prop up economic growth until the private sector healed itself and began to spend again.

On the other side were economists and politicians who wanted to cut spending to reduce deficits and "restore confidence." Government stimulus, these folks argued, would only increase debt loads, which were already alarmingly high. If governments did not cut spending, countries would soon cross a deadly debt-to-GDP threshold, after which economic growth would be permanently impaired.

---- The argument is over. Paul Krugman has won. The only question now is whether the folks who have been arguing that we have no choice but to cut government spending while the economy is still weak will be big enough to admit that. -----


Richard Heckler 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said the reductions in income tax rates would drive economic growth."

This is such a dumb thing to say unless there is extremely hard evidence of which Supply Side Economics has never produced in the past 34 years.

Zillions of USA jobs and thousands upon thousands of USA industries are still elsewhere in the world enjoying USA tax breaks. Which means USA economic growth is still in other countries.


Richard Heckler 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said the reductions in income tax rates would drive economic growth."

Wrong again.

Jobs jobs jobs that which pay no less than $17.50 per hour or $64,000 salaried will produce economic growth. None of this average wage nonsense that could actually represent a lot of people at minimum wage.

The state and national GOP are soooooo much alike. A lot of time spent stonewalling and zero jobs programs. Tax cuts have never driven the USA economy and produce the same results as big time layoff's and job outsourcing = a tanked economy.


Kris Norton 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Like I said a week or so ago. It's a tax INCREASE.

forealzies 1 week, 1 day ago

Agreed. Whatever the republicans do'll be a tax increase because they'll keep it from going back to what it was supposed to be. What's funny is if they don't keep it at 6.3%....say maybe to 6.25% or near there....they'll spin it as a tax decrease. Put it back to 5.7% like it's supposed to be by law...and rethink the income tax disaster coming.


question4u 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"'People are going to look at this all over the nation,' Wagle said."

Of course they are.

They will be asking, did they really raise taxes on workers so that business owners don't have to pay state income tax? Do they really believe that raising $777 million in new taxes is not a tax increase? Did they really make no provision for K-12 education funding when a lawsuit is pending and there is every reason to believe that the state will lose just like before? Did they really cut funding for prisons? Did they really cut funding for their universities, none of which is among the top 100 nationally? Are they really as backward as they look?

They will see what the Kansas Legislature has done and will ask, who wants to live in a third-world state? If the rest of the nation wanted to be like Kansas, we'd have President Rick Santorum making it so.

Sorry Ms. Wagle. but your implication that people nationally will be envious of Kansas is about as convincing as your prediction of an 80-day legislative session.


Mike1949 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"People are going to look at this all over the nation" and laugh at the stupidity that elected people by the people can really be!


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