Kansas budget

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The top Democrat in the Kansas Senate says he believes lawmakers are off-track and haven’t made enough progress on big issues facing the state. Legislators have been in session almost 40 days, and Sen. Anthony Hensley says they haven’t done enough to erase a budget deficit and write a new school funding system.

“The Legislature over the years has wasted time, but I’ve never seen anything like this when we have such significant issues on the table that we have to deal with,” Hensley says.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate voted almost unanimously Tuesday to kill Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax proposal. The 37-1 vote sends a message to the governor: Senate leaders want new tax and budget options.

Recently, leaders in the Kansas Senate have been frustrated with the governor’s proposal, which relies largely on increasing business filing fees and taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

Senate President Susan Wagle says she doesn’t like the plan because she says it won’t put the state on solid financial ground. She accuses the governor of not taking the state’s budget deficit seriously.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Editor's note: This post was updated at 5:18 p.m.

Kansas tax receipts came in about $37 million above estimates in February, chipping away at the state’s budget deficit.

The Kansas Budget Office on Wednesday reported about $331.5 million in tax receipts for the month, which was about 13 percent higher than projected revenue. Tax revenues were up about 9 percent compared to February 2016.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Editor's note: This post was updated at 4:34 p.m.

The Kansas Senate failed Wednesday to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a bill that would have rolled back big portions of his signature 2012 tax cuts. 

Lawmakers voted 24-16 against the effort to overturn the veto. Supporters were three votes short of the two-thirds majority of 27 votes needed in the 40-member chamber. The vote came hours after legislators in the House had voted, by a narrow margin, to override the veto.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Updated Wednesday at 9:18 a.m.  

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback held a ceremony Wednesday morning to veto a bill that would roll back personal income tax cuts he's championed. (Almost immediately, House lawmakers voted 85-40 to override the veto; the matter now goes to the Kansas Senate.) Brownback had called the bipartisan measure for fixing the state's persistent budget problems "an assault on the pocketbooks of the middle class."

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Members of the Kansas House took a step Wednesday towards repealing parts of the 2012 tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback. The governor quickly responded, saying he would not sign the bill into law.

The House gave preliminary approval to the tax increase with a vote of 83 to 39, one vote shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto from the governor.

Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

Members of the Kansas House are scheduled to debate a tax plan Wednesday that would raise income tax rates and repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 business owners. It’s the first tax bill that will be debated by one of the full chambers this year.

Kansas lawmakers are looking at ways to erase budget deficits that total around $1 billion by the middle of 2019. They started cutting taxes several years ago and the bill they’ll debate would undo some of the cuts.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

The Kansas Senate is setting itself up for a wide-ranging floor debate this week on tax plans to end a series of annual budget deficits by raising more revenue.

Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine said the inability to privately rally 21 votes for a plan means it’s time to get ideas out in the open and see what rises to the top.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A Kansas House committee has advanced a spending bill that would balance the budget for the current fiscal year without making cuts to education. The House Appropriations Committee voted for a proposal similar to Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan, which would dissolve a state investment fund to close a more than $300 million budget gap.

Republican committee chairman Troy Waymaster calls it “the best of the bad options.” He says the alternative is cutting state services and education, which would be hard to absorb.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

A tax and budget debate fizzled in the Kansas Senate Thursday, before it had even started. As Stephen Koranda reports, the situation reveals just how divided lawmakers have become as they work to solve the state's budget crisis.

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