Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 24 January 2012 15:16During the second week of the legislative session, life seemed dominated by the tax matters before us.
While Gov. Brownback, in his State of the State address, also spoke about his school-funding plan, state debt reduction, modifying KPERS (the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System), Medicaid and water rights, most of us spent our time making sense of the facts surrounding his tax plan. We’ll likely get more information on the other matters in time.
Conceptually, the governor advocates reducing income taxes, not reducing sales or property taxes, and he advocates permitting schools to substantially raise property taxes, district by district.
The devil, however, is always in the details. We now have more facts about the...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 17 January 2012 15:40The legislative session began Jan. 9, and the legislature is now in full swing. I remain on the following three committees: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Corrections and Juvenile Justice, and Judiciary.
Gov. Brownback delivered his State of the State address Wednesday night. I hope to read all the details soon. He outlined his goals for the 2012 legislative session in his speech, and I am addressing his primary topic in this week’s column: taxes.
The governor wants to substantially cut the income tax rates for individuals. Currently the tax rates are: 3.5 percent (under $15,000; $30,000 for couples); 6.25 percent (from $15,000 to $30,000 to $60,000) with a top rate of 6.45 percent (over $60,000).
The governor would reduce the...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 07 June 2011 13:23June 1 was Sine Die. The governor had signed the budget with a few line items vetoed and we had one last look at those matters.
The one that gave me concern related to the Arts Commission. His veto of the roughly $680,000 budget completely unfunded it.
Like many of you who contacted me throughout the session, I disagreed with cutting out the Arts Commission, and I voted to override the governor’s veto. While I knew we didn’t have the votes to override, I thought I ought to stay true to my advocacy during the session.
We mustered a majority of those representatives who came to Sine Die (50 of us voted to override), but that was way short of the constitutional two-thirds majority.
I hope the arts flourish; I guess we’ll do it...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:05We passed a budget! That’s not exactly a surprise since we’re required to; but we passed a negotiated budget late Thursday at 18 p.m. OK, it was actually 6 a.m. Friday when we passed it, but by passing it “late on Thursday,” we don’t get paid the extra day and at least we saved the state some money—one day’s legislative payroll.
In previous columns, I have discussed many of the issues reported on today, and you may want to re-read those reports for additional background.
The final state budget we passed was negotiated by the Senate and House Joint Conference Committee, with give and take on more than 250 differences of opinion on how to structure the budget, and a difference of thought on the size of the ending balance...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 10 May 2011 15:47While waiting on a budget we can vote on, we’ve passed several other bills:
• HB 2312 would regulate scrap-metal dealers. Kansas has a problem with thieves stealing copper tubing out of air conditioning units, and electrical and telephone wire even when in use, as well as other items.
Some thieves have even climbed on the roofs of multi-story buildings, stripped out the tubing from air conditioning units, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the building.
In an effort to slow down the number of thefts, we hope to empower counties and cities to register scrap-metal dealers and require them to keep records of their purchases. The bill talks of “regulated scrap metal”—those items I have mentioned above—and it...
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