Kansas governor to wield veto pen on tax bill

- The Kansas House on Wednesday voted to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a $1 billion tax bill that would reverse course on numerous income tax cuts he championed in 2012.

Although this bill goes a long way towards repairing Kansas fiscal structure, Gov. Brownback has condemned the bill as "a big step backwards".

Kansas has struggled to balance the budget since GOP lawmakers slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging.

It would increase income tax rates for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $15,000 and married couples earning more than $30,000.

But Brownback told reporters Wednesday that he wants to preserve the core of the exemption to help small businesses. Abraham Rafie of Overland Park and Adam Smith of Weskan voted against overriding the veto after supporting the bill last week.

By not overriding the veto, lawmakers will have to draft another plan aimed at closing projected budget shortfalls totaling almost $1.1 billion through June 2019.

The governor decided not to make budget cuts himself, which he is able to do, and instead said the Legislature should come up with a solution.

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All 40 Democrats voted to override Brownback's veto. In 2015, Republican lawmakers boosted sales and cigarette taxes in a package that critics labeled the largest tax increase in state history.

The governor said lawmakers could restore income taxes on the profits of farmers and business owners above $150,000.

In Kansas, Brownback enacted legislation in 2012 reducing tax rates by as much as 29 percent in a move meant to improve the state's business climate.

Brownback's legislative allies argued that the state should cut spending first. Period", says Baumgardner. "How that, you know... the final version of that, well, we have one version in a tax bill that got a veto override on the House side.

Even as the political winds have shifted, however, Brownback has remained steadfast in his support for the tax cuts.

"Now it's time for the Legislature to rise up and do its job", said Democratic Sen.

  • Kyle Warner