Stephen Koranda

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Aggressive messages from top aides to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and the prospect of furloughs for state workers still couldn't push a new plan from GOP leaders for raising taxes to close a budget shortfall through the state Senate early Monday morning.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate spent hours yesterday debating a tax plan and eventually there was agreement: Virtually everyone in the chamber agreed that they did not like the bill. The plan failed with 30 votes against it and only one in favor. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports on the proposal, which would have raised a variety of taxes to fill a budget hole.


Sean Sandefur file photo

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's office is working to determine when it would have to inform state workers they would be furloughed if a budget is not passed on time, the governor's spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The Legislature already is in overtime on its 90-day session, with Wednesday being its 97th day, and has yet to pass a balanced budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Spokeswoman Sara Belfry said the governor's office is working with several agencies to "determine the last possible date" the budget would need to be passed in order to avoid payroll disruptions.

The Kansas Senate has spent today debating a bill that would raise taxes to close a projected budget shortfall.

The work started with Republican Sen. Dennis Pyle moving to kill the tax bill, saying increasing taxes is not the way to fix the state’s budget. He wants lawmakers to look for more budget cuts.

“By not raising taxes, you’re going to empower the private sector," Pyle says. "Or are you going to empower big government, are you going to empower more government consumption?”

nostri-imago / Flickr / Creative Commons

In my years of teaching political science, only a few students have expressed a desire to be a professional politician or to run for political office. Recently, I asked a class at Wichita State if they were encouraged while growing up to think about politics as a career. Only one person raised a hand.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The question of what to do to fix a $400 million budget deficit projected for the state of Kansas next fiscal year is fraught with political peril for officeholders, especially if taxes are increased, which is likely.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

After five years of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and the failure after more than 50 votes in Congress to get the needed support to repeal the signature legislative achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans in Congress are dropping the effort for repeal and are turning to issues such as trade and tax reform.

In Praise Of Politics

Apr 8, 2015
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Too often, Americans view politicians and politics with disdain. People say that politics is a dirty business and that politicians are corrupt and crooked.

Merlijn Hoek / Wikiportrait / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Rapper Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp a Butterfly is as much manifesto and rallying cry as it is an LP. While it’s now difficult to listen to hip hop without hearing echoes of Ferguson, Mo., Lamar intentionally places Butterfly squarely in the center of that conversation. The online magazine ‘The Root’ called it the music of the Black Lives Matter hashtag.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

People decry low voter turnout in local elections. In the March 3 primary election for Wichita Mayor and City Council candidates, approximately 20,000 individuals-- only 10 percent-- of nearly 200,000 registered voters cast a vote. Wichita now has a population of approximately 382,000, with 286,000 people over 18 years of age who could qualify as a voter. That means about 86,000 people in Wichita who could be voting are not on the voter registration rolls at all.