Jim McLean

REPORTER AND EDITOR, KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

Jim McLean is the managing director of KMUW's Kansas News Service, a collaboration between KMUW and other public media stations across Kansas. 

Jim was previously news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He has received awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

 

Ways to Connect

PHIL CAUTHON / KHI News Service/File photo

A state official on Wednesday announced that Osawatomie State Hospital has stopped admitting patients.

Addressing a meeting in Topeka of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, Ted Jester, assistant director of mental health services at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said admissions were suspended Saturday evening when the hospital’s census reached 146 patients.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas already had the ninth-most regressive tax system in the nation, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The tax increase signed last week by Gov. Sam Brownback to balance the budget and end the longest legislative session in state history will make the system less fair to low- and middle-income Kansans, said Matt Gardner, executive director of the nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Governor Sam Brownback is defending the tax package passed by the state Legislature in the final hours of its 113-day session. Jim McLean has more.

From the Associated Press:

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that Kansas isn't really increasing taxes even though the state will raise its sales and cigarette taxes to balance the budget.

Jim McClean

The legislator leading a faction of Kansas House members pushing to reinstate taxes on business owners exempted by the 2012 tax cut law has given up the battle--for now, at least.

Rep. Mark Hutton, a conservative Republican businessman from Wichita, said Wednesday that a veto threat from Gov. Sam Brownback and other factors meant that continuing the fight would make it more likely that lawmakers would go home without balancing the budget, forcing Brownback to make across-the-board spending cuts to erase a projected deficit of roughly $400 million.

Stephen Koranda

Kansans will pay higher sales and cigarette taxes under a tax plan approved by a single vote Sunday in the state Senate. The tax increases are needed to balance the state budget. But as Jim McLean reports, the House hasn’t yet considered the plan. That vote is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Kansas Legislature

Before the start of this year’s legislative session, few would have predicted that Wichita Republican Mark Hutton would spearhead an effort to roll back some of the income tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback. Hutton, after all, is a conservative businessman whose campaign website boasts of his efforts to lower taxes. But as Jim McLean reports from the Statehouse, Hutton is taking the governor on because he doesn’t believe the tax cuts are fair.

Several Kansas lawmakers are telling Republican leaders they won't vote to increase taxes unless they also get a chance to vote on a Medicaid expansion plan.

The legislator leading the effort says including expansion in the package being negotiated to balance the budget could influence the votes of up to 20 moderate Republicans in the House.

Jim McLean has more.

UPDATE: Gov. Brownback Signs Emissions Reduction Plan

May 29, 2015
D1V1D, flickr Creative Commons

Governor Sam Brownback says federal regulators are moving too aggressively to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants. The governor signed a bill yesterday requiring state agencies to craft a state plan and to resist federal efforts if necessary. More from Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean.

 

More from KHI News Service's Andy Marso:

Governor Sam Brownback and a federal official disagreed publicly on Monday about how food stamp funds ought to be distributed to states.

Their disagreement took place at a Topeka news conference to announce a federal grant.

Heartland Health Monitor's Jim McLean reports...

An effort to repeal a 10-year-old law that gives the children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition is alive in the Legislature. But as Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, the measure remains bottled up in a committee.

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