No Income Tax Still Part Of Governor’s Agenda

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says budget problems won’t prevent Kansas from continuing to move toward eliminating its income taxes. In the annual State of the State address Thursday night, Brownback also called for overhauling the state’s formula for distributing aid to public schools.

But Brownback wasn’t specific about how he plans to close projected shortfalls of more than $710 million in the state’s current budget and the one for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The governor said only that he will present proposals Friday to balance the budget through June 2017.

The shortfalls occurred after legislators aggressively cut income taxes at Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy.

Kansas Democrats are accusing Republican Gov. Sam Brownback of misleading voters about the state’s financial condition and also are labeling his tax-cutting policies a failure.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said in the Democratic rebuttal to Brownback’s annual State of the State address Thursday night that personal income tax cuts enacted at Brownback’s urging in 2012 and 2013 caused state revenues to plummet. Hensley said the cuts failed to energize the state’s economy.

Brownback said in the address he prepared for delivery that the state is in good condition despite projected budget shortfalls and touted the tax cuts.

Hensley also said in prepared remarks that Democrats oppose shifting the burden for funding schools to local district and diverting funds from highway projects to general government programs.