Sam Brownback

Stephen Koranda file photo

The Kansas secretary of revenue says Republican Governor Sam Brownback will veto any attempts to roll back business income tax cuts. Secretary Nick Jordan told a group of senators yesterday that Brownback was opposed to any broad changes to business tax rules.

More than 300,000 business owners pay zero state income tax because of the 2012 tax cut, and some lawmakers want to look at amending that to help close a budget gap.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Terry Bruce believes the governor has shut the door on that issue for now.

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill that rewrites the rules for teachers, school administrators and other public employees who return to work after retiring.

Public employees currently are allowed to retire but return to work and earn up to $20,000 a year while drawing their pension benefits. Schools regularly use the program for hard-to-fill positions.

The program expires at the end of June. The bill would make changes to the program after extending it for a year.

Stephen Koranda

After the first week of June, Kansas state employees could be furloughed if there isn’t a budget in place for the coming fiscal year. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s administration has said they are working on plans to do that.

 

While his office is considering options, Governor Brownback says they have some flexibility on when Kansas state workers would be sent home without pay. Brownback says he’ll be pushing for lawmakers to avoid furloughs.

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.

Stephen Koranda / File Photo

Twenty-four hours in politics is like a year in ordinary life, when surprising and unexpected happenings occur.

Governor Brownback asserted in his State of the State speech that the “march to zero” on income taxes would continue in Kansas. Twenty-four hours later, the administration announced that this “march” would be slowed.

Two new tax proposals were also announced. One is a 300 percent increase on a pack of cigarettes, from 79 cents to $2.29. The other raises the tax on liquor from eight percent to 12 percent.

vox_efx / Flickr / Creative Commons

Many Kansans expressed surprise at the November election outcomes for senator and governor.

The polls indicated that Greg Orman would likely defeat Senator Pat Roberts and that Democrat Paul Davis would likely defeat Governor Sam Brownback. The polls were wrong because it is difficult to poll individuals who live in the many rural towns scattered across Kansas.

The election outcome did not surprise me.

Bruce Charles / Flickr

Although midterm elections are less than two weeks away, a number of races in Kansas are still up in the air. Polls haven’t indicated a clear favorite for governor or the U.S. senate. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur takes a look at the political makeup of Kansas voters and why some incumbent Republicans are fighting for their lives.

Aileen LeBlanc

The brutal murders committed by Jonathan and Reginald Carr in Wichita over a decade ago were an unexpected topic in Tuesday’s debate between Governor Sam Brownback and Democratic Challenger Paul Davis.

In Brownback’s opening remarks, he mentioned that the Kansas Supreme Court’s liberal tendency led to a ruling in July that overturned six of the eight death sentences for the Carr brothers.

  “It matters what judges you appoint,” Brownback says. “[Either] they stick with the law and the constitution, or they rewrite it.”

There have been reports around the Kansas Statehouse that there is an FBI investigation into how contracts were awarded for KanCare, the state's privately managed Medicaid program. As KPR's Stephen Koranda reports, someone has now come forward to say the investigation exists.

Former Republican Kansas state Senator Dick Kelsey says the FBI contacted him and interviewed him several times. He says a focus of the investigation is David Kensinger, a former chief of staff to Governor Brownback.

Three of the candidates for Kansas governor have been painting very different pictures of the state budget and the state's economy.

Democrat Paul Davis, Republican Governor Sam Brownback and Libertarian Keen Umbehr met Friday at a debate in Johnson County to talk about taxes, among other topics.

Income tax cuts that Governor Sam Brownback championed reduced the state budget last year.

Libertarian candidate, Keen Umbehr says the cuts weren't fair because they completely eliminated income taxes for thousands of Kansas business owners.

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