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Kansas Senators Start to Talk of Tax Money Solutions
April 28, 2016

(AP) – Three Republican senators are proposing a bill to reinstate income taxes for more than 330,000 Kansas business owners.

The Senate Tax Committee reviewed the proposal Thursday as lawmakers try to address the state’s $290 million budget deficit in an election year.

State budget officials say reinstating the tax on farmers and business owners would bring in an estimated $170.6 million in fiscal year 2017. The bill would tax 70 percent of their income.

The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1SvNGDR ) business groups strongly oppose reversing the tax exemption. Democrats and others say the bill doesn’t go far enough to solve the state’s budget problems.

Gov. Sam Brownback proposed the tax exemption as part of a package slashing personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013, which he said would stimulate the state’s economy.

McCain Thinks Roberts’ Hold on Army Secretary Misses the Mark
April 28, 2016

(AP) – Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is blocking a vote on the nomination of Eric Fanning to be the next Army secretary. At issue are efforts by the president to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the United States.

Republican Sen. John McCain tried to secure a vote on Fanning, who if confirmed would be the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service.

But Roberts objected on Thursday, saying he won’t relent until the White House promises no detainees will be moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

McCain says it’s unfair to block Fanning’s nomination over an unrelated issue. McCain calls it a distortion of the Senate’s advise and consent role.

Fanning has served in several roles at the Pentagon.

Cruz Says Fiorina Will Be his Running Mate
April 27, 2016

Politico:
Ted Cruz will announce Wednesday that Carly Fiorina will be his vice presidential nominee if he’s the Republican Party’s pick for president, according to three sources with knowledge of the announcement.

Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO, has been among Cruz’s most loyal and active surrogates since she ended her own 2016 GOP presidential bid after a poor finish in New Hampshire in February.

The announcement, which was teased early Wednesday morning and will be made official Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis, comes the day after Cruz suffered a drubbing at the hands of Donald Trump in five northeastern primaries — losses that mathematically eliminated Cruz from getting the 1,237 delegates he’d need to clinch the GOP nomination.

Missouri Religious Objection Bill fails in Committe
April 27, 2016

Efforts to make the issue of same sex marriage an election year issue in Missouri suffers a huge setback Wednesday.
A proposed constitutional amendment protecting citizens who do not want to deal with same sex couples, failed in a tie vote 6-6.
Supporters said the measure would protect Missourians who have deeply help religious beliefs against same sex marriages, from being punished for refusing to deal with same sex couples.
Many Kansas Coty business leaders, and other business groups across the state thought the measure, if approved, would trigger an economic backlash against the state.
With just two a d a half weeks left in the session, it is unlikely there is enough time or will by lawmakers to try and revive the bill

Kansas Lawmakers Have a Full Plate
April 27, 2016

(AP) – Kansas lawmakers must close shortfalls in the current and next state budgets totaling $290 million after returning from their annual spring break.

The Legislature was reconvening Wednesday morning. It was only a week after state officials and university economists issued new, more pessimistic forecast that slashed revenue projections through June 2017.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback plans to divert highway funds to general government programs and delay major road projects. He also expects to cut higher education spending.

He’s proposed selling off part of the state’s annual payments from a national legal settlement with tobacco companies to generate a one-time infusion of cash.

Lawmakers have been cold to the idea. As alternatives, he’s suggested delaying contributions to public employee pensions or making $139 million in spending cuts.

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