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Governor Promises to Veto Budget-Fixing Tax Hike

Associated Press - June 6, 2017 5:35 am

A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is promising to veto an income tax increase approved by Kansas lawmakers to fix the state budget and meet a court mandate on school funding.

The GOP-controlled Legislature approved a bill early Tuesday morning that would raise $1.2 billion over two years by repealing or rolling back past income tax cuts championed by Brownback.

Also sent Monday night to Brownback was another bill that would phase in a $293 million increase in spending on public schools over two years. The state Supreme Court ruled in March that education funding is inadequate.

The tax bill is meant to cover the higher spending on schools and close projected budget shortfalls totaling $889 million through June 2019. But Brownback said immediately after its passage that it had “many deficiencies.”