Kansas governor promises to veto budget-fixing tax hike - KCTV5

Kansas governor promises to veto budget-fixing tax hike

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Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is promising to veto an income tax increase approved by Kansas lawmakers. (AP) Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is promising to veto an income tax increase approved by Kansas lawmakers. (AP)
TOPEKA, KS (KCTV/AP) -

The latest on the happenings of the Kansas Legislature's extended session: (All times local)

UPDATE 1:56 a.m. - Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is promising to veto an income tax increase approved by Kansas lawmakers to fix the state budget and meet a court mandate on school funding.

The GOP-controlled Legislature approved a bill early Tuesday morning that would raise $1.2 billion over two years by repealing or rolling back past income tax cuts championed by Brownback.

Also sent Monday night to Brownback was another bill that would phase in a $293 million increase in spending on public schools over two years. The state Supreme Court ruled in March that education funding is inadequate.

The tax bill is meant to cover the higher spending on schools and close projected budget shortfalls totaling $889 million through June 2019. But Brownback said immediately after its passage that it had "many deficiencies."

Brownback issued the following statement regarding the bill:

“I appreciate the efforts of legislators as they continue to work towards balancing the budget, building a school funding formula that puts students first, and ultimately closing out the 2017 legislative session.

“Given that this tax package was assembled and passed just today, I hope to avoid any unnecessary delays by announcing that I will veto Senate Bill 30, allowing the Legislature sufficient time to address its many deficiencies and harmful impacts on Kansas families. We have worked hard in Kansas to move our tax policy to a pro-growth orientation. This bill undoes much of that progress. It will substantially damage job creation and leave our citizens poorer in the future."

UPDATE, 9:37 p.m. - Kansas legislators have approved a bill that would phase in a $293 million increase in state spending on public schools over two years.

The measure goes to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

The Senate passed the bill on a 23-17 vote Monday night after the House approved it, 67-55.

The bill is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that the state's education funding is inadequate. Kansas now spends about $4 billion a year on aid to its 286 school districts.

The court did not say in its ruling how much spending must increase in telling lawmakers to pass a new school finance law by June 30. Attorneys for the four school districts that successfully sued the state have said the spending increase must be much larger.

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UPDATE, 7:05 p.m. - The Kansas House has approved a bill that would phase in a $293 million increase in state spending on public schools over two years.

The 67-55 vote Monday night sent the measure to the Senate. Its approval would send the bill to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

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The Kansas House has rejected a bill that would have raised income taxes and increased spending on public schools.

The vote Monday was 91-32 against a bill that would have raised more than $1 billion over two years with higher taxes. The measure also would have phased in a $293 million increase in aid to public schools over two years.

Republican leaders tied tax and school funding measures together in a single bill to make it easier to pass a tax increase. But Democrats and many Republicans objected to the tactic.

“For those of you, that are concerned about putting funding in a school bill, this is not an uncommon thing,” said Rep. Jim Karleskint, a Tonganoxie Republican.

Legislative researchers also projected that the bill might not quite close projected budget shortfalls totaling $889 million through June 2019.

The spending increase was a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that education funding is inadequate.

House Democrats quickly voiced their concerns and pulled their support on the plan. 

One Kansas City-area Republican also pulled support. 

Kansas Rep. Melissa Rooker has spent nearly two years working on a funding plan. 

“I have wrestled with the combination and I’ve come to the conclusion that voting for tax and education formula in one package is just not where my comfort level is," Rooker said. "So I will be voting no today.” 

Kansas Rep. John Eplee (R - Atchison) supported what he called the "jumbo combo." 

“Well folks, I think it’s that time," Eplee said. "I don’t know what day it is. I think it is 108 days of our little get together. You know, I don’t want to make history in a bad way. I really don’t. So I think it’s time to get together on this jumbo-combo.”

Lawmakers are 18 days over the traditional 90-session. They did budget 100 days of work, but the extra eight are coming at the expense of the taxpayers. 

So far, about $352,000 in costs have been accumulated due to the extended session. 

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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