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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Capitol Report: Brownback on higher ed, taxes; and KU’s well-connected lobbyist

March 31, 2013

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Brownback on tax and spend

As House and Senate budget and tax negotiators meet to work out agreements in their plans, Gov. Sam Brownback has kept his public statements generally vague, except in two important areas: sales tax and higher education.

On the spending side, Brownback has repeated at least twice to reporters that he wants to keep higher education funding at the same level it is now. The House has proposed a 4 percent cut and the Senate, 2 percent.

On the tax side, Brownback wants to make the 6.3 percent state sales tax rate permanent, instead of allowing it to fall to 5.7 percent on July 1, which is how state law is now set.

Brownback says without the additional revenue from the increased state sales tax, the Legislature is going to have make big budget cuts.

Former Brownback assistant, Senate president son-in-law on KU lobbying team

Riley Scott, who worked for Gov. Sam Brownback, when he was in Congress, and then was deputy chief of staff and state director for U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, is now working as a lobbyist for Kansas University in the Statehouse. KU says he is being paid with private funds.

He joins Kathy Damron and Mandy Miller who lobby on behalf of KU.

Scott also is lobbying for Crossland Construction, whose chief executive officer is Ivan Crossland, who also is chairman of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Crossland is pushing for a bill, opposed by unions, that would ban local government from having contracts with a "prevailing wage." Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, has become a champion of the bill, and her son-in-law is Riley Scott.

Quote of the week:

"We've got to get our heads out of the sand. There are guns and there are people with evil intent and law enforcement is not always the first responder. The first responders at Sandy Hook are all dead." State Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, on his bill to expand concealed carry of guns.

What's next:

Most action will be in conference committees and the floor of the House and Senate.

Monday

10 a.m. — The Kansas Senate is scheduled to debate House Bill 2253, which states that life begins at fertilization, tells doctors to provide information about a link between abortion and cancer, which many say doesn't exist, and removes any tax breaks for medical expenses related to abortion.

Comments

konzahawk 1 year, 9 months ago

These lobbyists seem to work for many different organizations fighting for the same money. I'm in healthcare and was fairly active in the Kansas Health Care Association. I found it odd that Kathy Damron worked for the KHCA and KU at the same time. She was fighting for money for seniors in the morning and fighting for the same money for KU in the afternoon.

63BC 1 year, 9 months ago

Then why did Rothschild run a front page story in December saying Brownback was recommending an 8% cut to higher ed?

Was that...gasp...wrong?

srothschild 1 year, 9 months ago

63BC -- I've replied to you about this before. I never reported the governor recommended an 8 percent cut, but that his budget office did. The story was accurate.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Budget update 3/31/13 The House has approved the FY 2014 budget bill. Here are the specifics:

No new funding for public education; Cuts higher education by $29 million; Robs the state highway fund of $300 million; Cuts $49 million from the Department on Aging/services for seniors; Cuts $6 million for early childhood programs; Runs down a $536.6 million surplus, but still fails to balance. This budget would still leave a $156 million deficit by the end of next year.

In addition to the significant cut to higher education, what strikes me about this budget is the lack of new funding for public education. A few days after debating the budget, the House passed another tax plan (more on that below). If we can afford new tax cuts for big businesses and the wealthiest of Kansans, we should be able to afford to properly fund public education and essential state services.

Rep. Paul Davis

AlbertEqualsmc2 1 year, 9 months ago

Oh, Senator Knox...all the first responders are dead at Sandy Hook? No... Time to get our head out of the sand? Yours needs to have some fresh air instead of where you have been breathing... WWJD? Arm the apostles? Once again, both intelligent design and evolution have evidence of being flawed theories when compared to the values and actions of the Kansas state legislature.

Tristan Moody 1 year, 9 months ago

So.... if life legally begins at conception, does that mean that miscarriage is murder?

deec 1 year, 9 months ago

It's a jobs bill. Kansas will need to hire dozens of inspectors to check out every fertile woman's hygienic products monthly.

Thomas Bryce 1 year, 9 months ago

I want to see the Social Security Administration Application for Benefits for a Fertilized egg.

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 9 months ago

Kansas's obituary from the Hutch News Kansas 1861-2013

The Great State of Kansas passed away on March 31, 2013, after a long and difficult battle with extremism that became markedly more aggressive in 2010. The struggle left the state so weakened it could no longer fight against the relentless attacks by the fatal disease.

Kansas was born on Jan. 29, 1861.

The state is preceded in death by fair taxation, good highways, strong education, family farms, a good public parks and wildlife system, open government, neighborliness and belief in helping each other out, freely elected public servants, and political moderation.

Kansas is survived by widespread poverty, low-wage jobs, high property taxes, pollution, poorly educated children, outmigration and rural depopulation, foreign land and farm ownership, lobbyist-funded legislators, chronic mistreatment of the disabled, a maniacal hatred of government and children who dream of living anywhere else.

http://www.hutchnews.com/Columns/SUN--Probst-column

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks for the link. That has to be the best damned editorial by a Kansas journalist that I have ever read. To save folks a click, here it is in its entirety. No offense intended, blue, but it's too good to merely excerpt.

The Great State of Kansas passed away on March 31, 2013, after a long and difficult battle with extremism that became markedly more aggressive in 2010. The struggle left the state so weakened it could no longer fight against the relentless attacks by the fatal disease.

Kansas was born on Jan. 29, 1861.

The state is preceded in death by fair taxation, good highways, strong education, family farms, a good public parks and wildlife system, open government, neighborliness and belief in helping each other out, freely elected public servants, and political moderation. Kansas is survived by widespread poverty, low-wage jobs, high property taxes, pollution, poorly educated children, outmigration and rural depopulation, foreign land and farm ownership, lobbyist-funded legislators, chronic mistreatment of the disabled, a maniacal hatred of government and children who dream of living anywhere else.

During its early years, Kansas played a pivotal role in the Civil War by staking out a strong progressive stand against slavery. Despite repeated raids from border ruffians, Kansas held firm to the belief of free men and free soil.

Throughout its life, Kansas often aligned with leading progressive causes. William Allen White, one of the state's most notable residents, once wrote that "if it's going to happen, it happens first in Kansas." That once was true. Kansas was the first state to ban the Ku Klux Klan, and the first to elect women to public office - one as mayor and another as sheriff.

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

(continuation of editorial)

It was the birthplace of the populist movement, rising as farmers and ordinary people grew weary of the Gilded Age politics of the late 1800s and early 1900s that favored investment interests over those of landowners and laborers.

Kansas was a leader in public education, with one-room school houses dotting the plains. A full 12 years before it was a national concern, Kansas established child labor laws that restricted employment of children in potentially dangerous industries.

In the 1950s, Kansas laid the path to civil rights for African-Americans with the historic Brown vs. Board of Education case - the first in the country to rule against a policy of segregation in public schools.

Despite its compassionate nature, Kansas proved to be a state teeming with inventiveness, ingenuity, determination and a savvy sense of business.

Cessna, Beech and Stearman helped establish Kansas as a center of the aviation industry. Coleman launched an international company from Wichita that became a household name. Pizza Hut and White Castle - two iconic eateries - both got their start in Kansas, and the man who helped establish the American automobile industry called Kansas home.

Kansas' history is filled with vibrant, dynamic people. Settlers who claimed land once described as a desert and turned it into the world's garden; immigrants who came by the train-load and brought with them the hard winter wheat that germinated the state's prosperity. Throughout the years, Kansans endured drought, grasshopper plagues, depression and fierce weather, yet its people worked to hold tight to their land and the belief that there was goodness in Kansas. In spite of those hardships, the state produced world-renowned artists, writers, inventors, business leaders, astronauts, even a president.

Kansas was a strong-willed state whose hands were calloused enough to turn up the hardest sod and tender enough to calm a crying child.

Despite its strength and vitality, Kansas couldn't survive the influences of outside political machines that sought to use this fertile ground and its people as a test plot for an ambitious political experiment.

The elections of 2010 and 2012 brought the poisoned pill that would bring about Kansas' untimely end. The first election seated a governor who tossed aside Kansas' storied history and replaced it with a vision of his own design. In 2012, record setting campaign contributions from out-of-state donors financed the defeat of those moderate Republicans who had spent the last of their political careers keeping Kansas alive.

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

(final section of editorial)

One by one, the things Kansas had spent a lifetime building were dismantled, until the state was rendered as empty and uninviting as it had been in those early days when the first settlers eyed its endless expanse.

Along the way, the state's defenders - the farmer, the laborer, the property owner and the shop keeper - stood mute and passive, hoping for a day when the state would spark back to life, as it had always done before.

They remained silent too long.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Policy Institute, or Americans for Prosperity all in care of Gov. Sam Brownback, Office of the Governor, Capital 300 SW 10th Ave. Ste 241S, Topeka, KS 66612-1590.

KU_cynic 1 year, 9 months ago

On one hand, I am glad that KU has hired as a lobbyist someone with experience outside of education lobbying and who has some valuable professional and personal connections to Republican politicians in key offices.

On the other hand, isn't it unsettling to see politics dominated so much by sycophancy and nepotism? That's the world we have to deal with, but it still gives me an ill feeling.

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