Kansas legislators abandon Brownback's tax experiment


They had been confident they could pick up additional votes because disagreements about taxes caused the Legislature's annual session to drag out.

Supporters had four votes more in the House than the two-thirds majority necessary to override a veto. The threshold was attained when Sen.

Democrats also played a critical role in the House veto override.

Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine, an Emporia Republican, said that he respects the governor and other lawmakers. The votes were 26-14 in the Senate and 69-52 in the House. The Senate earlier overrode Brownback's veto with a vote of 27-13, exactly the two-thirds majority required.

Republican Chuck Weber, another conservative, was disappointed by the House speaker's vote.

The law to increase taxes over the next two years comes as legislators seek to close a projected $900 million budget gap for that same period and bolster funding for K-12 schools under a Kansas Supreme Court order. That means the tax increase which totals $1.2 billion over two years will become law despite Brownback's objection. It will return Kansas to a three-tier personal income tax model and boost rates across the board.

"I want something to pass", Patton said.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, said he was among those who voted for the tax cuts in 2012, believing they would boost the economy. Shortly after their vote, Brownback released a statement, announcing his intention to veto the bill.

Lawmakers voted to override Brownback's veto of a tax plan that is estimated to bring 1.2 billion dollars to the state. "We should have got off the insane train a long time ago", Holland said.

"Let's get our work done", said Rep. Larry Hibbard, a moderate southeast Kansas Republican. They also said the tax increase is the largest in state history. It is time to erase the smirk from the faces of people who joke about Kansas' financial condition, he said.

"We've got to stop digging the hole", said Democratic Rep. Tom Sawyer of Wichita. It's going to be a long process.

Brownback promised early Tuesday, June 6, to veto an income tax increase approved by the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature to fix the cash-strapped-states budget and meet a court mandate on funding for public schools.

Five years ago, Brownback enacted steep tax cuts that resulted in a large budget deficit for the state. He favors a one-year budget rather than a two-year budget. Earlier this year, legislators grappled with a budget deficit of nearly $900 million.

"The governor has refused to lead at every turn". On average, Kansans would pay about $206 more in taxes annually.

"This plan has things that are important to us", said an elated Newton State Representative Tim Hodge. Caryn Tyson, a Parker Republican. "We are in a situation, but this bill is not the answer". Voters soured last year on the governor's policies, ousting two dozen of his allies from the Legislature and giving more power to Democrats and moderate Republicans who then backed this year's tax increase. "We need to come up with something better".

"The tax bill does not include any growth so far as putting individuals to work", Dove said. Highland believes the override comes as lawmakers were pressed for time and a growing dislike for the governor's policies. "Small businesses understand you can't spend money you don't have", said Dan Murray, state director of the independent business group.

"Too much, too fast", Dove said of the increase.