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Kansas Lawmakers Exclude Libraries From Tax Bill

Pesky Librarians, flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers have amended a bill that could have forced many libraries in Kansas to cut back on services or close altogether.

The idea behind the bill is to require certain types of property tax increases to be approved by voters or local governments. But the proposal would have devastated the funding stream for the state’s regional library systems.

Heather Braum is with the Northeast Kansas Library System, which could have lost nearly half its funding.

“Lawmakers heard from a lot of people. I heard and have seen online 200, 500 numbers. They heard loud and clear how critical libraries are to community services,” Braum says.

A committee voted to exclude libraries from the bill on Friday. Some lawmakers say the impact on libraries was an unintended consequence.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.