Archive for Friday, May 17, 2013

Legislative negotiations break down amid Republican in-fighting

May 17, 2013


— Budget and tax negotiations broke down in the Legislature on Friday, prompting another round of Republican in-fighting before legislators went home, guaranteeing that the wrap-up session would extend into another week.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, referred to the Senate as "go to chamber" and more conservative than the House.

In the House GOP caucus, legislators said they were feeling pressured by their Senate colleagues and frustrated.

House Tax Chairman Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said, "We don't have an A team and a B team. We have a Senate and a House. They are co-equals," he said.

The dispute among Republicans, who hold huge majorities in the Legislature, is over the budget and tax policy.

The state sales tax is scheduled to decrease from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent on July 1.

But Gov. Sam Brownback and the Senate want to keep the rate at 6.3 percent, saying that is needed to help balance the budget while phasing out the state income tax.

But House Republicans want to let the sales tax rate drop and cut the budget beyond what Brownback and the Senate have endorsed.

Under a compromise offered earlier this week, House Republican leaders proposed keeping the sales tax rate at 6 percent, but the Senate and Brownback have said that's not enough.

Senate GOP leaders said Brownback would veto anything less than a 6.2 percent sales tax rate. The governor's office would only say that Brownback wants a budget and tax plan "that works."

A House-Senate budget conference committee meeting that was scheduled for Friday morning was canceled.

The chief Senate budget negotiator, Ty Masterson, R-Andover, said he asked the House's chief budget negotiator, Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, for a budget plan that would win a majority in the House. Rhoades said he couldn't immediately produce that. The two agreed to meet again Monday.

The major item of contention on the budget is higher education funding. The House has proposed a 4 percent across-the-board cut for each of the next two years, while the Senate countered with a 1 percent cut in each of the next two years.

In addition to the proposed across-the-board cuts, the House plan diverts millions of dollars in lapsed funds from universities. The total cuts to universities would be $42.1 million, or 7.4 percent, according to figures provided by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Kansas University and the KU Medical Center would take a combined hit of nearly $20 million.

Brownback has opposed cuts to higher education.

State Sen. Laura Kelly, the ranking Democrat on the Senate budget committee, said Republicans are in a bind of their own making because of the tax cuts signed into law by Brownback last year. "The numbers don't work. We are in a world of hurt," she said.

Last year, Brownback pushed through cuts in income tax rates and the elimination of state income taxes for 190,000 businesses. The package also did away with tax credits used by hundreds of thousands of low-income Kansans.

But Republicans continued to vehemently defend keeping the sales tax high while lowering income taxes. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said that would grow the economy and provide more jobs.


Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 11 months ago

"But Republicans continued to vehemently defend keeping the sales tax high while Lowering income Taxes. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, Said that would grow the economy and Provide More Jobs." The Titanic is unsinkable. Another famous statement that was proven False with catastrophic results. I Hope Kansans have a good life preserver. With this Legislature in control, The U.S.S. Kansas is going under with all hands on board. Aye, Aye Captain Brownback. Setting course for nearest Iceberg. Full Speed Ahead!

question4u 4 years, 11 months ago

It should be simple. All that Representatives have to do is go back on their word and sell out those of their constituents who voted for them because they swore that they wouldn't increase taxes. Then they'll be free to endorse the plan of state Senators, to whom a promise isn't binding.

On the other hand, all that the Senators have to do is cast off whatever is left of their sense of reality. Then they will be able to see eye to eye with Representatives, who clearly don't understand that the plan all along was to eliminate income taxes on business owners and let everyone else pick up the slack by paying higher sales tax.

Lack of integrity or lack of a sense of reality. If the Representatives and Senators both had the same defects, then this would be easy. As it is, this will only be settled by Brownback's threat of veto. In the end, this display of buffoonery will have been pointless. Brownback wants House members to sell out, so sell out they will.

But take heart House Members. No doubt Sam will have lots of secret advice about how to spin this to your constituents. In the end they'll think that instead of selling them out by breaking your solemn oath, you are somehow sticking it to "liberals."

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 11 months ago

"House Tax Chairman Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said, "We don't have an A team and a B team. We have a Senate and a House. They are co-equals," he said."

Yes, co-equally insane and damaging. F-team? Z-team? Omega-team?

Lisa Day 4 years, 11 months ago

To the Kansas Senate and House: You make ALL of us Kansans look foolish!!! Get off your high horses and get back to work!!! Perhaps you should take a hint from our founding fathers who, after arguing about what to put in the Declaration of Independence and what not to put in, went across the street from their meeting house to pray, and fasted as well! And guess what?! God answered their prayers!! Surprise, surprise!! God guides those who pray for His intervention!!! We don't need you to stand around arguing, and getting paid by us for the pleasure of doing so!!! We need you to get the job done!!!

And every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: (Matt. 12:25) Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; (Luke 11:17)

Jonathan Fox 4 years, 11 months ago

I had faith in the people who comment on this site until I read yours.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

The only thing better than two political parties at odds is when one party is at odds with itself. I approve.

Susan Shaw 4 years, 11 months ago

God may be the only one who can resolve this. I mean the real God, not the one who lives at Cedar Crest. Somehow I don't think those two are acquainted.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 11 months ago

Sam's muscularjesusperson is in the house. The C-Street cult is on the rise.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 11 months ago

This is good!! This is good!!

Finally the peole of Kansas will see what childish and foolish people these Rrepublican are. They will get a clue as to the lack of suitability these people have to reasonably govern the State of Kansas..............

Or not...............

globehead 4 years, 11 months ago

Republicans are at odds with themselves? Reminds me of the times when Moe poked Curly in the eye!

avarom 4 years, 11 months ago

No Weiners in this Game....Everyone comes out a Loser!! Welcome to Kansas! Remember this episode next time your in the voting booth.....while everyone is trying to get their Brownie Points!!

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