August 20, 2014

Our View: Lawmakers return to Topeka next week for wrap-up

The Kansas Legislature returns to Topeka next week to wrap-up the 2013 legislative session.
Hold on to your pocketbooks: it’s going to be a bumpy, and possibly price-y ride.
Legislators have yet to pass a budget for 2014, and there’s still much debate about how to handle an anticipated deficit.
Both the Kansas House and Kansas Senate are proposing spending cuts, but they differ on the amount. With House members proposing 4 percent in spending cuts and the Senate proposing 2 percent in cuts, there is lingering debate over exactly what gets cut.
Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing that lawmakers fill the funding gap by extending a sales tax that is set to expire this year. The suggestion is greeted with frosted reception in the House.
Brownback’s budget also includes eliminating some mortgage tax deductions, and lowering top income tax rates to offset the sales tax extension.
Make no mistake – when they return to Topeka next week, legislators will be focused on issues that hit Kansans right in their wallets.
We hope local voters are paying attention.
For our part, we would like to see legislators continue to whittle the budget down rather than tax Kansans more. That may mean some short term pain as the state adjusts to further cuts, but we believe allowing people to keep more of the money they earn will pay dividends in the long term. We like the plan to eventually eliminate state income taxes.
That said, lawmakers should keep their promise and allow the sales tax to expire. If that means the stairway down to a state income tax rate of zero is longer, so be it. Keeping promises made to the people of Kansas is a matter of integrity and character.
Again, we hope local voters will be watching next week.

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