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Archive for Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kansas House, Senate far apart on tax issue as legislative wrap-up starts

May 8, 2013

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— A monthlong break didn't bring Republican legislative leaders any closer to resolving their standoff over taxes as the wrap-up session started Wednesday.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said she was sticking by the Senate-approved plan that would make permanent the 6.3 percent state sales tax rate, which under current law will decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1.

The higher rate is necessary, she said, to help balance the budget and provide enough revenue to start phasing out the state income tax. And that, she said, will lead to economic growth.

"Clearly, our position on tax issues is the opposite philosophy of the House," Wagle said.

The House plan would allow the sales tax rate to drop to 5.7 percent as scheduled. It would whittle down income tax rates more slowly than the Senate plan.

State Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, and chairman of the House Taxation Committee, said the House made an informal offer to the Senate, but the Senate hasn't replied.

"We're willing to negotiate," Carlson said. He declined to provide any details of the offer.

Senate leaders, however, said the House position to allow the sales tax to drop would put the state in a big budget crunch next year, especially if the Kansas Supreme Court rules against the Legislature in the pending $500 million school finance lawsuit.

Wagle said many House Republicans may be afraid to vote to keep the sales tax rate up because they will face re-election in 2014. She urged Senate Republicans to reach out to House Republicans and promise to help them in their campaigns.

With no movement on taxes, work on the state budget has been in limbo. Before the break, the House had proposed a 4 percent cut to higher education, and the Senate a 2 percent cut.

The distance between Republicans, who hold significant majorities in both chambers, seemed to indicate the legislative session would go longer than 80 days, which was the target set by Wagle and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell.

Monday would be the 80th day, and leaders were considering taking off the weekend because of graduations and Mother's Day.

Merrick told freshmen in the House GOP caucus that the last days of a legislative session were always frustrating.

"It will eventually end, but it is agony to get there," he said.

Comments

Lynn Grant 1 year, 7 months ago

It is so interesting to see Wagle talk about promises. This is one promise the Legislature made to the people of Kansas and now she wants to break it. Had the income tax on corporations, LLC etc not been reduced or at least not as recklessly as it was, the state would not be in the situation it finds itself. This is Brownback's folly. As someone asked, how do we know the .6% will truly be used for the good of higher education or will it be thrown in with the general fund and used to cover the governor's ......? Just shows when you cut off a leg of a three legged stool, it is hard to balance. Budgets are in the same category

question4u 1 year, 7 months ago

Brownback certainly knows how to bring out the generosity in Kansans. It's heartwarming to see so many who are not only willing but eager to pay higher sales tax on purchases they make from Kansas businesses so that the owners of those businesses can be relieved of paying state income tax. What a selfless gift!

Kansans are truly altruistic. Because of their generosity, no business owner need suffer anymore in this state. Soon the dream of eradicating the misery of the wealthy may actually become reality, thanks to your sales tax dollars (with a little help from your newly increased property taxes). Kansans have even offered to sacrifice their schools, highways, law enforcement, health and safety for the cause. It brings a tear to the eye.

Of course, Kansans draw the line at anything that might benefit the poor, but there are a lot of Christians in Kansas and you can't expect them to devote time to that riffraff. It's hard enough trying to push the wealthy through the eye of a needle.

tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

The Christian right figures if you are poor, it's because you aren't good enough Christians. They have redefined the teachings of Jesus. If they are waiting for the anti Christ to come, then they only need to look in the mirror and at the stupid, heartless leaders they continue to elect.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 7 months ago

Thanks for the link. I'd read Shalet's book years ago and had forgotten how deeply involved Brownback is in the Family. Frightening and disgraceful. They're very organized. We should at least pay attention (if we are not yet willing to organize ourselves) and shine a strong light on their activities.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 7 months ago

The whole KansasGovernment is broken. With all the legislative positions taken by those elected by all the rubes, hicks, and illiterate malcontents who live west of Topeka, we should expect very little from them. A person with Wagel's background should be in charge of the John Bitch Society, not the Kansas Legislature. And with a governer who thinks he can legislate voilation of Federal Law, we will see little of anything of value to the people of Kansas.

There is no law that restricts the vote to ignorant and bucolic people, but this situation gives you pause to think what we could have if the voters of Kansas had some sense and did not knuckle under to the Koch style politics.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 7 months ago

A great many of those 'rubes, hicks, and illiterate' voters live in urban Johnson and Sedgwick counties, and are not just the handfuls of voters in the rural west of this state.

OhnaLeeWhonVought 1 year, 7 months ago

"Wagle said many House Republicans may be afraid to vote to keep the sales tax rate up because they will face re-election in 2014"

Why should any House Republican fear facing re-election in 2014? As a representative they voted consistently as their constituencies wanted them to didn't they? and did not serve as a toady for (incredibly rich) special interests and did not act in a self-serving(/enriching?) manner (for campaign donations from the incredibly rich).

Is Senate President Wagle trying to intimate that MANY House Republicans don't have a clear conscience when it comes to their voting record ... hmmmm ... YOU BETHCA! (Sarah Palin)

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

They will face the wrath of their constituents if they raise taxes. It is that simple. Their constituents don't want taxes raised.

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