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Archive for Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Brownback: Private GOP tax talks ‘going well’

May 14, 2013

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— Private negotiations with top legislative Republicans about tax issues are “going well,” Gov. Sam Brownback said Monday, but he wouldn’t predict when party leaders might agree on a plan to cut income taxes further.

The Republican governor declined to discuss the details of what’s under consideration in his talks with Senate President Susan Wagle and House Speaker Ray Merrick, other than he planned to keep meeting with them. All three want to follow up on massive personal income tax reductions enacted last year, but the state must stabilize its budget, and Brownback has proposed canceling a decrease in the sales tax that is slated to happen in July.

Wagle, a Wichita Republican, said the differences between the two chambers have narrowed but declined to say exactly how. Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, spent much of the day in his Statehouse office in meetings and wasn’t available for comment.

The House and Senate took up little substantial business Monday as legislators waited for signs of progress from the private meetings on taxes.

“The discussions are going well,” Brownback told reporters. “Time’s always a difficult one to guess on, but they’re going to get to a solution.”

The Senate approved Brownback’s proposals to phase in another round of cuts in personal income tax rates over the next four years while keeping the sales tax at its current 6.3 percent rate. The House passed legislation to let the sales tax drop to 5.7 percent in July as planned, while making less aggressive income tax cuts.

Wagle, from Wichita, has predicted that legislators eventually will approve something close to the Senate’s legislation. Merrick, from Stilwell, has said there’s some room for compromise, but other GOP House members have said their chamber is unlikely to allow the sales tax to stay above 6 percent.

“I can guarantee that we have narrowed the gap,” Wagle said of the discussions over the sales tax rate. “I’d say the Senate has come down and the House has come up, so things are going well.”

Pressed for details, Wagle said: “I’m not going to give numbers.”

Brownback and GOP leaders argue that eventually phasing out personal income taxes will stimulate economic growth.

“There are different proposals that are being shopped back and forth,” Brownback said. “The pieces are well-known, and it’s just, how do you get them to fit together to make a budget and a pro-growth tax position?”

Democratic leaders aren’t party to the private tax talks, and their leaders have said they don’t expect any of them to vote for any compromise that emerges anyway. Democrats see last year’s income tax cuts as reckless and oppose the GOP’s goal of shifting most of the burden of funding state government to the sales tax, which consumes a greater percentage of the incomes of the poor than it does the wealthy.

And House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, said private talks among top GOP leaders prevent the public from weighing in on proposals. Legislative leaders previously appointed three senators and three House members to resolve tax issues, and much of their discussions would occur in public meetings. But the appointed negotiators aren’t meeting.

Davis said in a statement that the private meetings “completely betray the democratic process”

Wagle noted that private talks involving the governor and legislative leaders are common on big issues as lawmakers near the end of their annual session.

Monday was the 80th day of the Republican-dominated Legislature’s annual session — the day GOP leaders previously had promised that lawmakers would finish their business for the year. Legislators typically schedule 90-day annual sessions, but this year, top Republicans planned to trim 10 days off the normal time in a show of efficiency.

Lawmakers are paid $89 a day in salary while they are in session, plus $123 to cover their daily expenses.

Comments

question4u 1 year, 7 months ago

A. They promised efficiency. What did they deliver?

B. They promised transparency. What did they deliver?

C. They promised to let the sales tax increase expire. What will they deliver?

D. Brownback promised to protect education. What will he deliver?

Answers: A. inefficiency. B. secrecy. C. a sales tax increase. D. whatever the Chamber of Commerce wants

msezdsit 1 year, 7 months ago

Private GOP tax talks ‘going well’

for the private people they most represent

Larry Sturm 1 year, 7 months ago

Taxes have to come from somewhere but not the rich.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

Brownback is a train wreck happening in slow motion.

The AG can't fulfill his statutory obligations and works against government transparency.

But, as bad as they are they probably will get reelected because there is no one to step up and run and because of low information voters that have clue about what their elected officials really do or don't do.

Hooligan_016 1 year, 7 months ago

Slow motion?? This has been off the rails and barreling through main street since he took office!

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

Perhaps but I like my description better. If it was full speed it would happen and be over in a flash but in slow motion we see the engine crash but the cars are crashing too but over a prolonged period of time. The crash started when he took office but it is still happening.

Larry Sturm 1 year, 7 months ago

Why is only the GOP talking about taxes in private this afects everybody.

William Weissbeck 1 year, 7 months ago

When Obama did this with Obamacare, had control of the House and temporary control of the Senate, he was accused of ramming legislation down the throats of Americans. When he won't give up on changing the tax rates on upper earners in exchange for entitlement reform, he's accused of an unwillingness to compromise and exhibit bi-partisanship. In Kansas, we don't even bother. All hail, Brownbackistan.

angie497 1 year, 7 months ago

Republicans were never completely locked out of the discussions of healthcare reform, although IIRC, they refused to participate. Even so, a number of the provisions of the ACA are there as a result of Republican demands.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

So were they partially locked out? And if so, is that acceptable?

elliottaw 1 year, 7 months ago

no they locked themselves out by choose, there is a difference

Lenette Hamm 1 year, 7 months ago

Where's the transparency this administration has been touting? I see the lack of it every single day...this is no exception.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 7 months ago

Where has this administration promised transparency? Who among us expected that the administration would be transparent? LMH, I think that you're arguing the wrong thing, here. If you want to hold the administration accountable for a lack of transparency, fine...but I think that trying to paint them as hypocrites is disingenuous.

I admit that I am not disappointed that this administration is not more transparent--but that is solely because I expected a non-transparent administration. When one has no expectations, they are easily met.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 7 months ago

By "transparent" Brownbeak meant impossible to see.

Lisa Medsker 1 year, 7 months ago

Brownback and his cronies sitting around agreeing with each other about eviscerating public education, taking more and more from the poor and middle class to fund the already-wealthy. Of COURSE it's "going well".

elliottaw 1 year, 7 months ago

and this way Brownback can say that he really fought for no cut to education but he just couldn't win, and there will be no one there to dispute the fact he is probably arguing for a 5% cut

Kansass 1 year, 7 months ago

My question is, why are we paying so many representitives if only a handful are making the decisions? Seems like huge government waste of our tax dollars.

Perhaps it's time to lay off the dead weight and save the state a bundle to fill in Sams budget hole, so he doesn't have to squeeze it all out of the middle class and poor.

After all, King Sam doesn't need a legislature to drive the state to ruin.

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