Governor Brownback has brought Washington Gridlock to Kansas Legislature

Topeka -- For months the legislature has struggled to find a way to implement the Governor’s plan on tax reform, but just couldn’t swallow the price tag. Today, the Kansas Senate rejected yet another conference committee report that would have would resulted in at least a $1.7 billion impact on the state general fund. Why? Because the Governor is putting his ill-conceived tax agenda ahead of funding schools, giving state employees a much-deserved raise, reducing waiting lists for persons with disabilities, improving mental health, etc.

“What amazes me”, said Joan Wagnon, State Democratic Party Chair and former Revenue Secretary, “is the Governor’s response to the Senate’s action is to sign a bill that costs four times as much! And now he’s trying to get legislators back to the table because he knows the bill on his desk is a budget wrecker!”

“This legislative session now mirrors the gridlock we see in Washington, where raw politics reigns, rather than deliberation and compromise to develop consensus. Sam Brownback and his Washington-trained staff are leaving a legacy of gridlock and inaction in addition to signing a bill that will force the state into a deficit spiral starting next year.”

"House Bill 2117 that is on the Governor’s desk will remove a total of $229 million in FY 2013, $846 million in FY 2014. By FY2018 the grand total stripped from state revenues will be $4,887 billion according to Legislative Research. The Governor is willing to plunge the state’s checkbook in the red in order to give tax breaks to wealthy Kansans and 191,000 businesses.”

Unlike other versions of conference committee reports, this bill has no property tax relief. It also removes the child and dependent care credit and food sales tax rebate. Wagnon says that because of the significant loss of state revenue, the probable impact will be to raise property and sales taxes as well as massive cuts in state services and education. After this bill is fully implemented, people who draw a paycheck will be the ones paying for government.

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