Governor Sam Brownback’s veto of a tax increase will stand after efforts to override it failed in the Kansas Legislature. The plan would have reversed much of the governor's signature 2012 tax cuts to help balance the state budget.
Brownback officially struck down the bill Wednesday morning. He said the changes would have hurt families and damaged the state's overall business climate.
“These efforts have been successful, and reversing course now will have a long-term negative impact on growing business and opportunity in Kansas,” said Brownback.
The measure would have raised income tax rates, added a third income tax bracket and reinstated income taxes on hundreds of thousands of business owners. It was an effort to balance the state budget in the face of deficits in the current and coming years.
House supporters of the bill narrowly rallied the votes they needed to override the veto, but the effort came up three votes short of the 2/3rds majority needed in the Senate. Some critics said the tax increase was too large. Others, including Republican Tax Committee Chairwoman Caryn Tyson, said they should consider other proposals.
“We need to let the process work and we need to give the tax committee and this body a chance to present other options before us instead of rushing,” said Tyson.
The House vote to override initially appeared to fail by one vote, but then two lawmakers changed their votes. Republican Representative Blaine Finch switched to supporting the override despite concerns about the tax plan.
“But the reality is when I talk to people, they tell me that they want prisons, and they want schools, and they want roads and they want public safety to be paid for,” said Finch. “At some point, we have to stop carrying forward the lie that they can have something for nothing.”
Democratic Representative Tom Sawyer said after the tax increase, Kansans would still have been be paying lower income tax rates than before the 2012 tax cuts.
"We went too far, too fast. We made a mistake in 2012," said Sawyer.
The tax committee chairman in the House said they will start drafting new tax proposals.
Stephen Koranda has more: