Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2017

Senate halts debate on spending cuts, tax package; Kansas’ credit outlook revised to ‘negative’

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, talks with Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, after the Senate abruptly called off debate on a package of spending cuts and tax hikes aimed at closing a projected $350 million budget deficit.

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, talks with Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, after the Senate abruptly called off debate on a package of spending cuts and tax hikes aimed at closing a projected $350 million budget deficit.

February 9, 2017, 9:25 a.m. Updated February 9, 2017, 2:01 p.m.

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— Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate abruptly canceled plans to debate a package of spending cuts and tax increases Thursday after support for the plan evidently collapsed over the previous 24 hours.

The Senate came into session around 8 a.m. Thursday but immediately recessed so Republicans could caucus on the two bills.

Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia, said the two bills no longer had the 21 votes necessary for passage. He also said the Senate will not consider any other legislation, and it will strictly enforce other deadlines coming up, until consensus is reached on an alternative plan.

The package was aimed at closing a $320 million revenue shortfall to fund the last five months of the current fiscal year’s budget and raise taxes to close what GOP leaders have called a “structural deficit” in future years.

The Senate action came shortly after S&P; Global Ratings revised Kansas’ credit outlook from "stable" to "negative" due to weak economic trends and "structural budget pressures." S&P; last downgraded its credit rating for Kansas in July 2016.

S&P; Global Ratings rates Kansas bonds as AA-. Only three states — Illinois, New Jersey and Kentucky — have lower S&P; ratings than Kansas.

The proposed spending cuts had sparked an outcry of protests, especially from public school advocates, because it called for cutting 5 percent, or $128 million, from K-12 schools, including $2.75 million from the Lawrence school district. The package also included $7.1 million in cuts to the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center.

In addition, the Senate was supposed to debate a tax package that would raise individual income tax rates and close the so-called LLC loophole that was part of the 2012 tax cuts that Gov. Sam Brownback championed.

Longbine said in the caucus meeting that by Thursday morning, there were no longer 21 votes for a 5 percent cut to education, and senators who wanted a compromise plan also could not muster 21 votes for even a 3 percent cut. Because of that, he said, support for the tax package also had collapsed.

Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, however, said Republicans should be working with Democrats because the real number needed is 27 votes — the two-thirds majority needed to override an almost certain governor’s veto.

He and Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said Republicans now need to focus all their attention on closing this year’s budget gap. To that end, they said the Senate will not debate any other legislation until consensus is reached on an alternative plan.

They also said they will strictly enforce upcoming deadlines for other bills to be considered at all this session.

Friday, Feb. 10, is the last day for bills to pass out of most committees. But the biggest deadline coming up is the so-called “turnaround” deadline on Feb. 23, the last day for bills to pass out of their chamber of origin.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report


Correction: S&P; Global Ratings did not downgrade Kansas' credit rating Thursday. The rating remains at AA-, but the agency revised its outlook on Kansas' credit rating from "stable" to "negative."

Comments

Theodore Calvin 6 months, 1 week ago

Everything is great. This is working amazingly. This is working 1000%.

Brett McCabe 6 months, 1 week ago

And, with Obama gone and the adrenaline about to kick in, things are really going to get rocking.

I read an interesting article from an economist yesterday that said we are at or nearly at full employment in the U.S., deficits are decreasing, mortgage rates are low and the growth of health care expenses was slowing. In short, there is very little that any president could do right now to improve the U.S. economy (as a whole), let alone someone as inept as Trump. My guess is that state republicans will soon be longing for the days of Obama, because they are about to be 100% responsible for a likely catastrophic funding issue in Kansas.

Theodore Calvin 6 months, 1 week ago

You have quite lofty expectations from people who have shown no qualms with destroying our state. They will blame Obama forever. People can't mention any of the checks GW wrote that were cashed on Obama's checkbook, but it's for certain they will never quit blaming Obama.

Paul Youk 6 months, 1 week ago

They will just blame someone/something else, and their hooplehead followers will lap up any lies they are told, per usual.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months, 1 week ago

Oh, they will still try and blame it on Obama with their twisted logic and alternative facts.

MerriAnnie Smith 6 months, 1 week ago

"Everything is great. This is working amazingly. This is working 1000%."

Believe me! I'm smart. In fact, I'm smarter than anybody.

MerriAnnie Smith 6 months, 1 week ago

"S&P; now rates Kansas bonds as AA-. Only three states — Illinois, New Jersey and Kentucky — have lower S&P; ratings than Kansas."

Kansas needs a new name. The Kansas Republican leadership and the Topeka Hi-Crest killings make me think this state should be re-named to Little Chicago.

Amy Varoli Elliott 6 months, 1 week ago

What's funny is Detroit filed for bankruptcy yet Michigan still have a higher credit score than Kansas

Bob Reinsch 6 months, 1 week ago

This is what happens when you apply the "Deadbeat Dad" economic theory.

Bob Forer 6 months, 1 week ago

It's Obama's fault, you silly people.

Joe Blackford II 6 months, 1 week ago

"until consensus is reached on an alternative plan."

It might just be dyslexia, but I swear I read "until NONSENSUS is reached on an alternative plan."

Scott Bonnet 6 months, 1 week ago

Wagle is the worst. She lied to get re-elected. Now she's back to her old tricks.

Don Brennaman 6 months, 1 week ago

Why is there no comment about liberals and genital?

Jonathan Becker 6 months, 1 week ago

Mr. Brennaman,

I will substitute for Mr. Summers, today

This is nothing more than the Liberal condition, as shown by longtime Liberals Wagle and Longbine, taking money for ridiculous purposes like public safety, roads, and public schools and other hothouses of Liberal training.

(With apologies to Johnny Mercer, did I get the tone of Poor Bobby One Note?)

Tony Peterson 6 months, 1 week ago

No surprise that the moment of impact from the slow-motion financial train wreck Browncrack started and Wagle backed has finally happened. I took a basic Economics 101 class when I was sophomore in college and three years ago even I was able to predict this was what would be how the "experiment" would end.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months, 1 week ago

Where are all the tea party conservatives today? Are they waiting for their talking points? They have to be told what to say, and Breitbart, FOX, and Rush are too busy defending Trump to tell them what to say about Brownback.

Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

When the Governor addresses Public Education he seems to forget one important aspect of the Brownback and ALEC plan .........

Defunding public ed

No matter what …defunding and dismantling public education is the conservative agenda and the agenda for the US Chamber of Commerce and conservatives in general. Make no mistake about it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-van-roekel/exposing-alecs-agenda-to-_b_3223651.html

http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

We must ask ourselves why does corporate America want to own government programs that they spend so much time and money convincing we taxpayers our great programs are evil and do not work? BIG PROFITS

Reinstate the taxes is the answer!

This privatized public school financing scandal could fiscally paralyze many communities and destroy real estate market values. Think about it. This scandal is in all backyards as we speak.

Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

Privatization Ponzi Scheme

If anyone has children they know there are many education choices available in the USA. For more than 100 years choices have been available. Conservatives are led astray by their lying leadership.

For example:

Public schools

Private Schools

Parochial Schools

Waldorf Schools

Home Schools

Tutors are available

This school choice charter school crap is another smoke and screen for the Privatization Ponzi Scheme cooked up by fundamentalist and libertarian politicians .

That's right the ones who say they despise taxes want to steal tax dollar supported programs to divert those taxes into their private bank accounts.

This is but one example of high crimes by conservatives. Some have gone to jail for screwing people by way of ponzi shemes.

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