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Saturday, October 22, 2016

By Bryan Lowry, The Wichita Eagle (TNS)

WICHITA, Kan. — A tax plan crawled to passage in the Kansas House in the early hours Friday morning, after Gov. Sam Brownback warned lawmakers that massive budget cuts would occur Monday if they failed to act on taxes.

The House began debate on a pair of bills at 1:30 a.m. meant to plug the state’s nearly $400 million budget hole. It did not pass until after 4 a.m.

Democrats castigated Republican leaders for holding the debate at such an hour when lawmakers are weary and most of the public are asleep.

But Republican lawmakers stressed the urgency of passing a bill now rather than later with the state staring down massive cuts if lawmakers failed to act.

The first bill scraped by with 63 votes, the bare minimum for passage, and the second initially fell four votes short.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican, invoked a rule known as “the call of the House,” which pauses the vote and requires the Kansas Highway Patrol to search for missing representatives. Merrick and other Republican leaders picked up their phones and aggressively pressed colleagues to back the bill.

“I need some movement,” the speaker emphatically said into his phone within earshot of reporters seated nearby.

The call lasted more than two hours before Rep. Blake Carpenter, a Republican, cast the deciding vote after 4 a.m. Carpenter left the House chamber before answering questions.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get 63 votes,” Merrick reflected after the bill passed. “That’s the way the process works. It’s a hard vote for Republicans raising taxes. It’s a real tough vote for me.”

Before the pair of bills can go to the governor’s desk the Senate will have to pass one of the bills, which isn’t guaranteed.

“It moves that last train down the track,” Merrick said about the House vote.

The two bills generate $384 million in revenue, which if added to other legislation passed this year, would fill the state’s shortfall and leave the state with a razor-thin $36 million ending balance in fiscal year 2016, which begins in July. House leaders are also counting on the governor to issue $50 million in unspecified budget cuts of his own to bring the total to $86 million.

(c)2015 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Kansas Secretary of Administration Jim Clark displays a flow chart of what it takes to set up new funds once a budget is passed. Sectretary Clark explained to a joint caucus of Republicans in Topeka, Kan., on Thursday, June 11, 2015, how long once a bill is passed for funds to flow to the recipients as the Kansas House and Senate are trying to fill a $400 million budget hole. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS)


    Gee, I thought Kansas was set for life following Republican economic principles. Didn’t they fairly recently cut taxes on the rich to kick their economy into Republican overdrive? I guess that is the end of their governor’s plans for the presidency.

    • Independent1

      It probably is set for life in GOP Fantasy Land. The GOP has been living in Fantasy Land for at least the last 80 years. Their economic record is dismal. Even their great messiah, Reagan, trails every Democrat in office since the Great Depression in generating job growth and economic performance.

      Economic Growth/Change in Non Farm job Growth

      President/average annual year percent change

      FDR – 4.9
      LBJ – 3.8
      Carter – 3.1
      Truman – 2.5
      Clinton – 2.4
      JFK – 2.3
      Nixon – 2.2
      Reagan -2.1
      Ford – 1.1
      Bush 1 – .6
      Bush 2 – .2
      Hoover – -6.2

    • warrior 0713

      he is worthless and ignorant.

  • Lynda Groom

    When will the details of this plan be made public. The piece does not give much info. Did they put back the old tax code, or come up with something new?

    • Bren Frowick

      The new plan will raise the sales tax from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent in July and increase taxes on cigarettes by 50 cents a pack, among other things.

      Read more here:

      • warrior 0713

        typical regressive tax elites just buy big ticket items elsewhere this tax hurts those who spend every dime trying to survive. Whats wrong with kansas gop elite tools.

      • Lynda Groom

        So of course they did nothing to address the shortfall coming from the taxes granted to the moneyed and corporate elite. Perhaps they believe that since the less economically fortunate among them have to spend every cents they make on goods and services to survive they should be the ones to lift the burden from the top. Typically short sighted, however certainly not unexpected.

      • booker25

        Regressive taxes will not fix Kansas, voting out these rightwing assholes will.

    • warrior 0713

      media forgot its supposed to inform us of facts another sad excuse for being under reporting whats important.

  • charleo1

    If only the super majority Republican KS. Legislature, working in concert with one of the most radical right wing dogmatists to ever occupy the governor’s mansion, could have only done more! Well then, maybe they wouldn’t be in this fiscal mess. If only they had doled out more tax dollars to corporations. Made deeper tax allowances for the State’s wealthiest. Spent less on infrastructure improvements, or hired more lawyers to fight expanding Medicaid, and to end The Affordable Care Act. Had been able to pass additional laws against contraception, or made abortions for poor women even harder, and more expensive to obtain. If only the State Supreme Court had allowed the staunch bottom liners to cut more from public ed. child care, or make accredited teachers in KS. even easier to fire. If only those activists judges on the Supreme Court would have only blessed the kind of cuts to State funded nursing homes the Legislature, and Governor demanded. Or if only they would have outright banned LGBT workers from State employment, as some lawmakers wanted. Instead of merely eliminating their protection as a group from discrimination on the job, just think of the savings this could have generated! If they could have just spent more time in one of the longest legislative secession on State record, on making guns easier to obtain, and secretly carry. While making flowery and eloquent speeches about their deep appreciation for the NRA, and their undying devotion to the sacred Second Amendment Rights of all Kansans. We can only imagine how much better the sputtering KS. economy would be doing today.

    • dtgraham

      You’re really tugging at the heartstrings of the right. I can see the glistening eyes and the kleenex’s being brought out now. You political tease you.

      • charleo1

        If they had a heart to have strings to pull.

        • dtgraham

          Well after all charleo, they are Kansans without a heart. They believe that hearts will never be practical until they’re made unbreakable. The only thing that the good deed doers in the bluer states have that Kansans don’t have is a testimonial. So, they’ve awarded themselves the bible as a testament to their inner self. As Sam Brownback said, “we don’t believe in a big government, we believe in a big god.”

          The only thing is, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others. By that measurement, I don’t think that Sam Brownback will be loved by very many.

          Somehow this is all strangely familiar. I’ve heard all of this somewhere. Can’t remember where. Maybe you know.

          • charleo1

            The thing about Kansans, (I happened to have been born there.) Is they do consider themselves a particularly religious people, in an especially Conservative State. And they, like their Governor have a testimonial. The problem is, when it comes to charity, and big heartedness, especially when it counts, in the hardest times, that testimonial about the great capacity of the ardent Christian to be generous with their fellow man, is mostly false. As the record shows, in the latest deep recession, the collective contribution to the major Christian charity organizations, and food banks, fell right along with the other more secular organizations that reach out to the poorest, and those families hit hardest by the economic decline. It was only by Federal programs created by FDR, and LBJ. that the Country was kept out of depression. And the soup lines, so prevalent in the Great Depression, never developed in this one. So, as it turns out, the facts prove “good Christians,” are no less stingy, and self serving, when the chips are down, than any of us other clay footed, free thinkers. It is their prideful refusals to admit this about themselves, that is in my opinion, one of their greatest transgressions.

          • dtgraham

            Their Christian tenets sure have been twisted. They seem to have fused extreme right wing political orthodoxy with religious fundamentalism. The contradiction there is that for a people who claim to value community and family so strongly, they’re implementing policies that are very damaging to both of those societal units.

            This isn’t mainstream conservatism. This is a real live experiment that’s supposed to prove that the way to achieve prosperity is by completely eliminating government from economic life. That’s an absurd proposition and the results have been showing.

            Oh well. As the Kansas Republicans always say, you can have your health care and your education and your paved roads and your livable wages somewhere over the rainbow way up high, but to us…there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

  • Paku

    Yep the Republicans who at the Federal level are always talking about cutting taxes and wanting to give the states more power just so they can at the state level raise taxes on everybody! Where does it stop. Where do we get fiscal responsibility and start implementing incentives to save money which can lower taxes on the working class or at least provide better benefits for them like better Social Security, Health Care, shorter work weeks, better education. Nope all we see are deteriorating infrastructure, talk of decrease in Social Benefits, standard of living and increase military budgets? Isn’t that ironic, I mean we are so worried about protecting ourselves from all these outside enemies! Whose going to protect us from ourselves or our internal enemies! Peace, Love and Harmony seems only to be an illusion anymore! The world is fracturing into all these military hotspots that it may be just a matter of time until it is in our own backyard! Way to go great American Leaders! Is this the vision we have for ourselves and our future, real disappointing isn’t it?

    • warrior 0713

      Reminded me of oath I took joining air force enemies foreign no problem but domestic we have a huge problem and until we do something soon about war profiteers pols taking legalized bribes read lobbyest we are the evil empire and running empires is always expensive put on the people profits to elites and bankers who own large blocks of stocks.

    • dpaano

      As long as these states and their GOP governors that run them, the 1% will be the ONLY ones that benefit!

  • grandpamike1

    A crisis created by Brownback, and now is forcing a tax increase on people who are barely scraping by, which is the Republican way. Do I feel empathy for Kansan’s, nope, they made their bed and now they are reaping the sleepless nights they will be living going forward.

    • Will

      Exactly!! This is just another prime example of a Republican created crises and then solve the crises on the backs of the average, working folks.

      This governor created this mess in Kansas. He had to have his tax breaks so badly for the wealthiest citizens without paying for them (sound all too familiar)….all the while gutting programs that help the majority…that help keep the state economy balanced and vibrant.

      I do not know what it is going to take for people to GET A CLUE that trickle-down austerity GOP economic theory DOES NOT WORK. It has been proven over and over again to NOT WORK. In addition, basic economics shows that it can NOT work.

      • docb

        The gop bags at work and defined by their actions…

        Fits like a glove.

        • Will

          Thank you for sharing that link, docb! It was absolutely SPOT-ON without a shred of a doubt!

      • dpaano

        They’ll never get a clue because their education system is so bad that they won’t ever learn!

  • geraldhoey

    Did these new taxes eliminate the tax cuts for the rich that precipitated this crisis? Of course not. That wouldn’t be the Republican way. Make the poor and middle class bear the burden instead. But Kansas voters will continue to send these clowns back to ruin the rest of Kansas.

    • warrior 0713

      why it beyond my comprehension?

    • dpaano

      They had to get permission from Grover Norquist to raise taxes…..since when was he elected to run our tax laws???

  • Budjob

    These incompetent T-Party,and,Republicans are going to push the envelope,and,ultimately there is going to be a violent upheaval in this ONCE GREAT country!!

    • warrior 0713

      pardon when was america great ?

      • booker25

        Before F-ing Reagan and Nixon got elected that’s when.

        • warrior 0713

          sorry wrong read war is a racket free on line pdf. Book great read and author major general Smedley Butler most decorated marine in history at least two congressional medals of honor.

      • dpaano

        Before Reagan and GWB got hold of it!

  • Jim_Klimaski

    What a poorly written article. Nowhere does it tell you what kind of taxes they are? The Governor wanted the most regressive taxes possible, definitely ones the do not taxe the wealthy. Explain you stupid reporter, explain.

  • docb

    These are regressive bills written on the backs of the poor and vulnerable to protect the raising of tsxes on the likes of the Kock bros et al…

    The gop bags have screwed Kansas..economically and the educational system…Now they are just piling on to cover their flabby arses…Despicable!

  • Kansas is a stark example of the utter failure of conservatism.

  • Allan Richardson

    Kansas is what Oz would be had the Wicked Witches remained in power.