Kansas Senate votes to sustain governor's veto of tax bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH and AP) UPDATE: Kansas legislators have failed to override Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a bill that would have increased income taxes to help balance the state budget.

The state Senate voted 24-16 Wednesday to overturn the veto. But supporters were three votes short of the two-thirds majority of 27 votes needed in the 40-member chamber.

The Senate's action came after the House voted 85-40 to override the veto. Supporters there had one vote more than necessary.

The bill would have raised more than $1 billion over two years by rolling back personal income tax cuts Brownback championed in 2012 and 2013. Lawmakers will have to draft a new budget-balancing plan.

The state faces projected budget shortfalls totaling nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019.
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UPDATE: The Kansas Senate is debating whether to override Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a bill increasing income taxes to help balance the budget.

LISTEN LIVE TO SENATE DEBATE

Senators expected to vote Wednesday afternoon. Supporters of the bill would need a two-thirds majority of 27 votes in the 40-member chamber.

The debate came only hours after the House voted 85-40 to override the governor's Wednesday morning veto.

The bill would have rolled back key income tax cuts championed by Brownback in 2012 and 2013. The bill would have raised more than $1 billion over two years.

The state faces projected budget shortfalls totaling nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019.
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UPDATE: The Kansas House has voted to override Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a bill increasing personal income taxes to help balance the state budget.

The vote Wednesday was 85-40. That's one vote more than the two-thirds majority necessary in the 125-member House.

The House's action clears the way for an attempt to override in the Senate.

The bill would raise more than $1 billion over two years starting in July. It would increase income tax rates and end an exemption for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners.

Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since GOP lawmakers slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging. The bill would reverse key Brownback tax policies.
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UPDATE: Governor Sam Brownback has vetoed the tax bill in Topeka. Brownback held a press conference Wednesday morning to explain his reasons for the veto.

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Gov. Sam Brownback says he will veto the tax bill that, in part, would have rolled back business income tax exemptions that passed in 2012. The bill would have also raised income taxes for everyone.

Brownback's decision to veto leaves lawmakers with two options. They can try to override the veto by getting a majority vote, or try again, sending the bill, or a similar version of the bill, back to the governor.

The governor's full statement is as follows:

Since the pioneers moved westward across the country and settled this fertile ground, our state has always held a promise for those who came here—that through dedication and hard work your standing in life can improve. One of my primary goals as Governor is to make it easier for Kansans to thrive and to accomplish their dreams. That is precisely why we cut income taxes on all Kansans several years ago, working to make Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and grow a business.
Last week, both chambers of the Kansas legislature voted to raise taxes on Kansans making over $15,000. Not only did they raise taxes on single Kansans earning more than $9.74 an hour, but they did so before even passing a budget. By doing this, legislators said that the hard-working people of Kansas must find savings in their own personal budgets before their elected representatives can be bothered to find savings in the state’s budget. This mindset is unacceptable.
I am vetoing HB 2178, the punitive tax increase on working Kansans. I am vetoing it because the legislature failed to fulfill my request that they find savings and efficiencies before asking the people of Kansas for more taxes. I am vetoing it because Kansas families deserve to keep more of their hard-earned cash. I am vetoing it because it is retroactive and thus incredibly unfair.
Legislators who voted for this largest tax hike in Kansas history will try to persuade you that it is primarily a tax on wealthy business owners. This is false. Rather, this bill is an assault on the pocketbooks of the middle class. These legislators campaigned saying they were going to raise some other guy’s taxes. But when the votes were finally cast, they raised yours.
Above all else, we must remember that tax dollars do not belong to the government. They belong to the families, individuals, and job-creators who earn a paycheck. It is wrong for government to take more tax dollars than are absolutely necessary to provide for the core functions of the state.
Should the legislature override this veto, Kansans are the ones who will pay the price. It doesn’t have to be this way; there is another option. My budget proposal does not target Kansas families or the working class, but still achieves structural balance. I urge you to call your legislator and tell them to find savings in government before asking you and your family for more money. After all, it’s your money, not the government’s. As the stewards of your tax dollars, legislators must be fiscally responsible with your money. It is not too late; the legislature still has time to choose fiscal responsibility over tax increases on Kansas families.

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Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he will announce a decision on a new tax bill tonight (Tuesday).

The governor's office says Brownback received the bill Tuesday. Lawmakers passed the bill to address the state's financial troubles. In part, it rolls back business income tax exemptions and increases some personal state income tax rates.

The governor could sign the bill or veto it, sending it back to the legislature, which can override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each House.

If the governor takes no action on the bill, it will become law after 10 days.