Feb 22 The Kansas House on Wednesday overrode
Republican Governor Sam Brownback's veto of a bipartisan bill
aimed at filling holes in the state's leaky budget by rolling
back tax cuts he had championed.
The 85-40 vote came just two hours after the governor's
action on the measure, which would raise individual income tax
rates and end a business tax exemption to raise an additional
$590 million in fiscal 2018, which begins on July 1. The Senate
must still vote on an override.
Brownback said on Tuesday night that he planned to veto it
"because the legislature failed to fulfill my request that they
find savings and efficiencies before asking the people of Kansas
for more taxes."
Kansas is not the only state with Republicans controlling
both the governor's office and legislature to have skirmishes
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has pushed back against a
legislative move to phase out the state's income tax by 2057. On
Tuesday, House lawmakers revised the proposal to gradually
reduce the rate from 4.25 percent to 3.90 percent in 2021, when
it would result in a $1.1 billion drop in revenue, according to
a legislative analysis.
"Half of a billion dollars will come due in 2019 and over
one billion by 2022, years in which we have planned funding
specifically to invest in modernizing our state's
infrastructure," Snyder said in a statement.
In Oklahoma, where revenue is sinking, Governor Mary Fallin
proposed expanding the sales tax base to services to raise about
$834 million for the fiscal 2018 budget.
Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, who was elected separately
from Fallin, resigned from the governor's Cabinet last week,
citing the tax plan.
"While I respect the determination with which Governor
Fallin met her obligation to present a balanced budget to the
legislature, I cannot support her proposed tax increases," Lamb,
who remains lieutenant governor, said in a statement.
In Kansas, Brownback enacted legislation in 2012 reducing
tax rates by as much as 29 percent in a move intended to improve
the state's business climate.
But state coffers have shrunk, causing Kansas to miss
revenue targets. This month, S&P offered a pessimistic
assessment on the state’s finances, revising the outlook on
Kansas’ AA-minus credit rating to negative from stable, citing
structural budget pressures.
"Rome is burning and our constituents expect the fire
department to show up," said Democratic State Representative
Adam Lusker during the House override vote.
(Reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Matthew