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Kansas Lawmakers Regrouping After Tax Veto

Senate President Susan Wagle speaking to reporters earlier this month. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Kansas lawmakers are regrouping on the issue of taxes. This week, Governor Sam Brownback vetoed a tax increase that would have helped balance the state budget.
 
Senate leaders are frustrated by the veto, which would have rolled back many of Brownback's signature tax cuts.
 
“The House leadership and the Senate leadership asked the governor that if he was going to veto the bill that he give us a budget plan that we can vote for in the House and the Senate. That didn’t come,” says Republican Senate President Susan Wagle.
 
Brownback’s plan focuses on tobacco and alcohol taxes, as well as raising some business fees. Wagle says she’s now planning to debate the governor’s tax proposal in the Senate, even though it might not have much support.
 
“I think that we need to talk about his plan and let everybody share their concerns publicly about his proposals,” says Wagle.
 
Republican House tax committee chairman Steven Johnson has some similar concerns. He’d also like new options from the governor.
 
“You can’t just say ‘no.’ We have to hear ‘no…but.’ As we try and get to a solution, we have to say ‘I can’t do that, but here is something that might work,’” says Johnson.
 
Reporters asked Governor Brownback this week if he would be offering new plans.
 
“I've put one forward. I would hope it would get a full and fair airing. I’ve gone to the Senate president and the speaker and said ‘I’m willing to work with you on adjustments to this plan or another plan,’” says Brownback.
 
It looks like Brownback may now be moving to develop new proposals. His budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says he’s joining the effort.
 
“The governor has asked me to work with Senate and House leadership and others over the next couple days to try to develop a number of alternatives,” says Sullivan.
 
Lawmakers are now on a week-long break. Those alternatives could see the light of day when they get back.

Stephen Koranda reports:


 

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