In this issue …
- Kansas House sends “nuclear option” income tax cut to Brownback
- More on House budget amendments
Kansas House sends “nuclear option” income tax cut to Brownback
In one of the most bizarre and raucous afternoons in Kansas legislative history, the Kansas House has passed the “nuclear option” version of an income tax cut that now goes to the Governor. The bill has the capacity to gut the state budget in future years.
The House raced to pass the bill, while the Kansas Senate raced to try to kill a different version of it. Had the Senate been successful, the issue would likely have been dead for this year. The unusual parliamentary maneuvering to vote first was made stranger by opponents of the income tax cut filibustering in the House and supporters of an income tax cut filibustering in the Senate.
The vote appeared to be 65 to 58, but one legislator may have changed their vote. There was a dispute over the closing of the vote that made it unclear. The vote might officially be 64 to 59. It takes 63 votes to pass a bill.
It’s probable that Governor Brownback and the conservative House leadership do not like the bill that passed, but guided it through to try to force the Kansas Senate to pass something less destructive to the state. It was a very risky maneuver.
Estimates from Legislative Research show the bill will begin cutting into the state’s budget by Fiscal Year 2014, culminating in a negative $2 billion ending balance by 2017. That would force the state to cut spending by over 30% unless revenue grows by $2 billion by then.
Here’s a link to the official description (supplemental note) of what the bill does. Please note that the fiscal impact information at the end of the description has not been updated to reflect the $2 billion loss in revenue by Fiscal Year 2117.
More on House budget amendments
Here’s a summary of the amendments added last night to the House of Representatives version of the Kansas budget. We did not have all of the information earlier today.
- Added $50 million to K-12 education. Takes the money from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Half goes into the base budget per pupil, with the other half going to equalizing differences between rich and poor districts.
- Requires state agencies to use the federal E-Verify program to check the status of newly hired employees. The requirement also applies to businesses with state contracts over $50,000.
- $5.8 million was committed to reduce waiting lists for services for the disabled and seniors. That will bring in an estimated $6.5 million in federal matching money. The U.S. Department of Justice is looking at Kansas’ waiting lists.
- $611,000 was added to Communities in Schools.
- $2 million was added to a program for domestic battery victims.
- A proviso regarding the Children’s Initiative Fund was removed, allowing money to be spent as in the past.
- Eliminates a processing fee to check child support records of those who win over $600 in lottery games or Kansas casinos. The move saves money.
- The Department on Children and Families would create a program to pay for tuition and fees for private colleges for the education of foster children. State higher education already has a plan.
- Added $1.8 million for non-Medicaid patients inpatient psychiatric screening.
- Added $433,000 to Meals on Wheels.
- No more than $100,000 could be spent for background checks on new hires by Alcohol Beverage Control from the Department of Motor Vehicles operating fund.
House and Senate negotiators on the budget are expected to meet tonight.