Archive for the ‘Kansas Politics’ Category

Brownback Budget Amendment t Gas No Surprises
April 23, 2015

In the face of a $400 hole,Johnson County State senator Jim Denning says the latest budget plan from Governor Sam brownback has ‘nothing out of the ordinary in there ‘.

Brownback suggested about $72 million in budget cuts over two years in a budget amendment sent to House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Olathe Republican Ron Ryckman and Senate Ways and Means Chairman Ty Masterson.

The Governor’s plan contained no tax increase proposals.

The biggest shift is call to raise hospital access fees by $19 million in both budget year 2016 and budget year 2017.

Dennis is a veteran of the house budget panels and now sit on Ryckman’s Ways and means committee in the Kansas Senate.

“Just really rates and cats. M minor adjustments to the budge,” he said.

Denning says he’s aware many Kansas Republican legislators built their political careers on pledges never to raise taxes. He says that is a poor way for some members of his party to govern.

“This situation happened on our watch. So we have to take care of it.And we have take care of it in short order” Denning stated..

Dennis is calling for a broad package of tax hikes and tax adjustments to fill the approaching budget hole.

He says the tax breaks approved for many small business contain what he said is a loop hole that needs to be closed. He thinks that would generate $140 million

Denning also says lawmakers ought to consider raising the state’s fuel tax from 19 to 24 cents.

He also favors raising the Kansas sales tax from 6.15% to 6.3%.

He thinks his entire package would close the $400 million budget hole and leave the state with a surplus of more than 100 million more dollars.

Lawmakers return to Topeka next Wednesday. Finding a solution to the budget that is scheduled to take effect on July will dominate the session’s final days.

Uber Plans Kansas Expansion
April 23, 2015

AP) – Ride-hailing company Uber says it is bringing its service to four additional cities in Kansas only days after Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed legislation opposed by the firm.
Uber spokeswoman Lauren Altmin said in an email that riders in Lawrence, Leavenworth, Manhattan and Topeka could begin hailing Uber drivers Wednesday afternoon. The company already offers service in Wichita, Kansas City, Kansas, and Johnson County.
Uber connects drivers to riders through a mobile app and entered the state in 2014.
Legislators approved a bill this month to require state background checks and broader insurance coverage for drivers for ride-hailing companies.
Uber called the measure overly burdensome and said its enactment would force the company out of Kansas. Brownback vetoed the measure Monday, saying it could stifle innovation in the state.

Kansas Crack Down on Welfare Spending Scores in Poll
April 22, 2015

Most Kansas voters agree with the state’s restrictions on how welfare clients spend their money, according to a new survey.

The poll, by Remington Research, was conducted after Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed into law new restrictions on how welfare clients can spend their money.
Almost two thirds approve of the idea of restricting spending on items like gambling, adult entetainment, even movies or swimming pools. All of those are restrictions in the new law.

No, (restrictions) do not go too far: 66%
Go to far: 29%
Undecided 9%.

Kansans in the survey also support limiting ATM withdrawals to $25 a day, with bans on spending money at strip clubs, gambling and going to movies:

Support: 64%
Oppose: 27%
Undecided: 9%

A near majority in the poll also believe forcing welfare clients off public assistance, encourages them to become self-reliant.

Strongly agree 49%
Somewhat agree: 17%
Somewhat disagree: 14%
Strongly disagree: 10%
No opinion: 9%

Remington Research says 1,021 Kansas voters participated in the poll on April 20-21). Remington says it gathered the survey participants based on what it expects the 2016 general election make up is to be in Kansas.
The margin of error is 3%.

Kansas Budget Battle Looms Over Insurance Tax Hike
April 22, 2015

(AP) – An $80 million piece of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for balancing the next state budget is in trouble in the Legislature because a major health insurance company opposes it.
Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said in a statement Wednesday that the Republican governor’s office is having active discussions with Aetna, legislators and the state Insurance Department about the disputed measure.
It would increase a fee paid by HMOs to 5.5 percent from 1 percent. Three private health insurers that manage the state’s Medicaid program would pay most of it.
But Aetna told legislators last month that it would pay $12 million a year in additional fees and Kansas consumers would see higher premiums.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure last month but it has stalled in the House.

Brownback’s Budget Advisor to Lawmakers: Find $400 Million
April 20, 2015

(AP) – Gov. Sam Brownback’s top budget adviser says Kansas legislators must find about $400 million through tax increases or spending cuts during the state’s next fiscal year after the release of new, more pessimistic revenue projections.

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said Monday that the Republican governor is working on proposals to trim from $80 million to $90 million in spending from the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

He said much of the savings will come from lower-than-anticipated costs for social services. Sullivan said the governor wouldn’t propose cutting aid to public schools.

Republican legislative leaders had been working on budget proposals that would have required about $150 million in general tax increases to avoid a deficit.

Brownback already has proposed raising alcohol and tobacco taxes.

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