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.

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.

Brownback Opens Door For Sales Tax Hike
April 2, 2015

(AP) – Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he is open to raising the sales tax to fill gaps in state’s budget.

Brownback said during a news conference Thursday that over time he would like to shift the state from income and property taxes to consumption taxes.

The state faces budget shortfalls of nearly $600 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1. The Senate passed a budget in March that does not balance without tax increases.

The governor has recommended raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol to generate the revenue needed to fill the budget gaps.

He said Thursday that he hopes the Legislature will come up with a broad mix of consumption taxes and would be open to an overall sales tax hike.

Kansas Tax Projections Off in March
March 31, 2015

(AP) – Kansas says it collected $11 million less in taxes than anticipated this month.
The state Department of Revenue said in a preliminary report Tuesday that the state collected $391 million in taxes in March, when it expected to take in $402 million. The shortfall is 2.8 percent.
Since the fiscal year began in July 2014, tax collections have been $48 million less than anticipated, or about 1.2 percent short of expectations. The state collected almost $4 billion in taxes during the past nine months.
The lower-than-anticipated tax collections this month could complicate efforts by legislators to close a budget shortfall projected at nearly $600 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
But the department noted that individual income tax collections are running ahead of expectations.


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