Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 18 May 2010 18:32The legislative session is over, having ended at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 11. It’s the first session in years, I’m told, to end in daylight.
As you might know by now, we passed a balanced but fragile budget—and increased the sales tax by 1 cent, which sunsets in three years, at which time 0.4 of that cent will stay for road funding.
You had said through the survey that if a tax had to go up, you would prefer it be the sales tax rather than property tax, so that’s what I advocated for. I also pushed hard for a cigarette and beer tax increase as a way to reduce the sales tax increase.
I even advocated with senators whom I know. The Senate first tried a cigarette-tax proposal, but couldn’t muster the votes to pass it.
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 11 May 2010 19:19The veto session is a start-and-stop operation. We wait on conference negotiation reports between the House and Senate, trying to hammer out our differences, and then we consider them one by one in the House chamber.
We worked all week, and Friday’s efforts ended at 4 a.m. Saturday; then we took up our work again Saturday and adjourned at 10 p.m. We hoped we could wrap up the session Saturday night, but did not.
Early Saturday morning, the House passed an alternative budget that will fund schools at the same level as the 2009-10 school year. You might recall the House Appropriations budget had proposed to underfund schools to the tune of $86 million (initially by $172 million), and it would have let schools raise the rest of their...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 04 May 2010 19:36The veto session got under way last Wednesday. The budget remains the 500-pound gorilla in the room, and we have yet to deal with it.
On another matter, Gov. Parkinson vetoed the bill we had passed regarding abortion reporting. Monday, we voted to override the veto by 86-35; 84 votes are required to override a veto. Now, the question is what the Senate will do about it.
As I put the finishing touches on this column, we are preparing to discuss the issue of taxes as well as the House budget plan. Friday, we received information that the April tax receipts were, again, below estimates, so we may have to put off debate on today’s bills until modifications can be made to the bills.
You might recall I have mentioned we had a $511...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 27 April 2010 18:49April 28 will find all legislators in Topeka for the final session, commonly called the veto (wrap-up) session. We currently have no budget and we’ll have only one shot at getting it right, or at least getting it done.
I appreciate all your support, and I will do my best to help craft as good a budget as possible, considering the hard times we’re in. I truly have no idea how the budget will play out.
I need your comments on an issue right now: House Resolution 6036 proposes the House order the attorney general to sue the U.S. government over the new health-care legislation.
Currently, 14 states have filed suit seeking to have the legislation declared unconstitutional because it requires folks to have health insurance or pay a...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 20 April 2010 18:40The April Consensus Revenue Estimates were released Friday. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group projects we will be short on money between now and the end of June another $70 million more than anticipated, and they believe revenue for fiscal year 2011 (which starts July 1) will be less an additional $60 million more than originally estimated.
This means the deficit for the remainder of this year, when added to the projected deficit for next year, is projected to be $510 million. This shortfall is based on the governor’s proposed budget, because that’s the only budget around at the moment.
The Legislature did not pass any budget before our April break, so we don’t have one to use when trying to estimate the shortfall.
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