Possible Gridlock Plan in Topeka: Take a Break
June 2, 2015

(AP) – Some GOP state senators say they would consider taking an unpaid break after failing to agree on tax proposals after days of debates.
Republican Sen. Les Donovan of Wichita said Tuesday during a meeting of GOP senators that he was interested in adjourning for about a week. Donovan said the move might raise pressure on Gov. Sam Brownback and allow legislators to come back more ready to compromise.
Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said the idea is viable, but the Nickerson Republican wanted to conduct a debate on a stripped-down tax initiative first.
Administration officials have said that all non-essential state workers would be furloughed if a budget deal is not reached by June 7. Furloughs could be avoided if a short-term budget were to pass.

Kansas Senate Scuttles Tax Debate and Leave for Holiday Weekend
May 21, 2015

Lawrence Journal World:

Topeka — Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate called off a scheduled debate and vote on a $496 million tax package on Thursday, then adjourned for an extended Memorial Day weekend.

Lawmakers will return Tuesday for what will be the 96th day of the 2015 session, leaving a number of Lawrence-area legislators frustrated at the lack of progress in solving the state’s looming budget crisis.

Senate Republican Leader Terry Bruce of Hutchinson said the debate was postponed because of “a plethora of amendment requests” that legislative staff had not had time to draft.

“It just shows you how bad the work product is right now,” said Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, the ranking Democrat on the tax committee that put together the bill that was to be debated Thursday.

April Tax Collections Miss the Mark
April 30, 2015

(AP) – Kansas says it collected $4.4 million less in taxes than anticipated this month.
But the Department of Revenue said Thursday that the lower-than-expected collections may be due to how tax returns have been processed since the April 15 filing deadline. Spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said the agency can’t predict which returns will be processed first.
The state expected to collect nearly $516 million in taxes for the month. Instead, it collected $511.5 million. The shortfall was 0.9 percent.
It was the first monthly report on tax collections since state officials issued a new, more pessimistic fiscal forecast earlier this month.
Since the current fiscal year began in July, the state has collected about $4.5 billion in taxes. That’s also $4.4 million less than expect, for a shortfall of 0.1 percent.

Brownback Praises Session Ending Tax Deal as “Fabulous”
June 3, 2013



(AP) — Kansas legislators gave final approval early Sunday morning to a plan for raising new revenues to prevent future budget shortfalls even as the state further reduces income tax rates.
The House approved the measure on a 69-45 vote, shortly after the Senate passed it, 24-13. The plan emerged Saturday from private negotiations between GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and Republican legislative leaders, and he called it a “fabulous package.”
“I began the 2013 Legislative Session reflecting about the long tradition our state has of being bold in doing what was right, even if much of the nation took another way. The work accomplished these last few months affirms our state is leading the way,” Brownback said in a statement.
Approval of the tax plan cleared the way for the Republican-dominated Legislature to end its longer-than-anticipated annual session, save for a formal adjournment ceremony June 20. Legislators also passed a budget of more than $14 billion for each of the next two fiscal years, beginning in July, before leaving the Statehouse.
The tax plan would set the state’s sales tax at 6.15 percent in July. The tax is now 6.3 percent, but it is scheduled by law to drop to 5.7 percent, also in July.
The plan would follow up on massive personal income tax cuts enacted last year — a point Brownback and other Republicans supporting it emphasized. It would cut personal income tax rates again over the next five years, but it also would revise other income tax laws to help raise new revenues for the state.
The net gain for the state treasury from this year’s tax legislation would total $777 million over those five years. Brownback and other supporters noted that last year’s tax cuts dwarf that figure during the same period.
The proposal had the backing of the GOP leaders in both chambers, who’d previously disagreed strongly over whether the state should cancel all or part of the scheduled sales tax decrease. The new unity appeared to help in the House, where some members found the bill’s revenue-raising measures unpalatable but acknowledged that the state otherwise would face big budget shortfalls from last year’s tax cuts.