Government

2013 Legislative Session
6:06 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Sales Tax Proposal Faces Challenge In KS House

The Kansas Senate could vote on Gov. Sam Brownback's tax proposal this week, but it is unclear if the provision that cuts income tax rates can pass the House.

To balance the budget, the bill would eliminate some income tax deductions and keep the sales tax elevated. But Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, says House members are cool to keeping the sales tax.

“Of course we’re a long way from the finish, and the finish changes a lot of thinking, but right now I don’t see a lot of appetite out here to retain the sales tax,” he says.

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Government
3:54 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

House Leaders Say Support For Gov. Brownback's Tax Plan Is Low

On Friday, Republican leaders in the Kansas House there's little support in their chamber for Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal to raise additional sales tax revenue.

House Speaker Ray Merrick of Stilwell and Majority Leader Jene Vickrey of Louisberg said the measure proposed by Gov. Brownback does not seem viable.

Brownback wants to cancel a decrease in the sales tax scheduled for July. The 6.3% tax is set to drop to 5.7%. The governor would use that added revenue to stabilize the state budget, so that he could eliminate individual income taxes over the next four years.

State Budget
3:39 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

House Leaders Disagree On Using State's Ending Balance

There's some disagreement among leaders in the Kansas House over using the state's financial reserves to help balance the budget.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:01 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Hearings Continue On Education Funding Amendment

A committee in the Kansas Senate continued hearings Thursday on a constitutional amendment that could block some lawsuits over school funding. The proposed change to the state Constitution says only the Legislature can set school spending levels.

Lawmakers are considering the change in response to lawsuits filed by parents and school districts over funding. Republican Senator Steve Abrams said earlier this week that the amendment would make it clear that lawmakers set the level of funding for education and courts can’t order spending increases.

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Legislation
3:43 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

House Committee Considering Strip Club Bill

Members of a Kansas House committee are considering a bill known as the Community Defense Act. The measure would put new restrictions on what can take place in strip clubs and where they can be located.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:17 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Work Starts On School Funding Constitutional Change

A Senate committee has started work on a constitutional amendment aimed at blocking lawsuits over school funding.

The committee heard from supporters Wednesday. The proposal would alter the Kansas Constitution to say only the Legislature can set school spending levels.

Lawsuits over school funding have riled up some lawmakers, helping drive the push for the change. Last month, a district court ruled that the state needs to increase school funding, and that’s just the most recent in a series of lawsuits over the issue.

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Government
12:23 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Realtors Rally To Save Income Tax Breaks For Kansas Homeowners

More than 200 real estate agents rallied in Topeka Wednesday morning to ask lawmakers to preserve two different income tax breaks for homeowners.

The Kansas Association of Realtors gathered at the Statehouse before sending members to meet with state legislators.

Wichita City Council
6:09 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Loss Of Federal Funds Will Reduce Programs For Wichitans

After a lengthy discussion Tuesday, the Wichita City council decided which programs would be funded by a federal block grant.

The Community Services Block Grant is expected to be cut in half, providing about $532,000 to support various service programs in Wichita. That means some programs that were previously funded will get less - or none.

Mary Kay Vaughn, Director of Housing and Community Services, told the council that the review committee had to prioritize what programs would get funded.

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Government
4:30 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

City Council Approves Landfill Contract, Increasing Capacity

The Wichita City Council approved a new contract Tuesday with Greengroup to operate a construction and demolition landfill in northwest Wichita.

Greengroup, formerly Herzog Environmental, has operated the landfill since 2001. The landfill will continue with current staff.

Don Henry, assistant director of Public Works and Utilities, told the council the contract includes ongoing operations of the landfill and provides for the opening of a new construction and demolition cell.

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Government
1:35 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Senate Committee Approves Gov. Brownback's Tax Plan

The Kansas Senate Assessment and Taxation committee endorsed most of Gov.  Sam Brownback's tax plan Tuesday.  The committee spent fewer than 10 minutes discussing the governor's proposals before approving the bill.  The legislation could move to the full senate for debate next week.

Gov. Brownback wants to phase out personal income taxes in Kansas over the next four years. The committee kept the governor's call to balance the tax cuts by making a temporary sales tax hike permanent. However, they cut his proposal to eliminate an income tax deduction for property taxes on homes.

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