Top Morning News 3.13.2013
Lawmakers hold private meeting, AP protests; Advance ballots ready to go out; US Air Force defends light air support plane contract.
Republican Lawmakers Hold Private Meeting On Taxes
Kansas Senate Republicans held a private meeting on tax issues Tuesday, ahead of debate on Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to move the state toward phasing out individual income taxes.
Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce of Hutchinson told reporters before closing Tuesday evening's meeting that GOP senators planned to discuss political strategy. He said they didn't want Democrats to learn of their possible tactics.
The Associated Press lodged a protest of the move. The Senate will debate a bill Wednesday containing most of the governor's plan.
State Budget Could Be Ready For Debate Soon
State lawmakers are making progress on their new state budget and hope to have it ready for debate soon. Members of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committees spent Tuesday studying subcommittee reports that will become the final budget.
Those reports include recommendations on spending for public employees and higher education. State Treasurer Ron Estes scheduled a news conference Wednesday to discuss the budget and the importance of leaving sufficient reserves for the state to make required payments on time.
The state is required to have a balanced budget each year, as well as a reserve account of 7.5 percent of all spending from the state general fund.
The new budget will take effect on July 1.
Where And When To Vote In The April Elections
City and school spring elections are drawing near and starting Wednesday the Sedgwick County Elections office will mail out advance voting applications.
Air Force Defends Decision On Light Air Support Plane
Despite a formal protest from Wichita-based Beechcraft, the U.S. Air Force is defending its decision to award a contract for a light air support plane to Sierra Nevada Corporation.
Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick says the Air Force restarted the competition for the contract last May with a new evaluation team as well as internal and external advisers.
He says the Air Force is confident that its decision is well supported and that the proposals were fairly evaluated.
The contract for 20 planes for use in Afghanistan is worth more than $427 million dollars. Gulick says the Government Accountability Office has up to 100 days to make a decision on Beechcraft's protest.