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Senate President Wagle Unveils Policy Plans in Response to Voter Frustration

Stephen Koranda
Senate President Wagle outlining the policy proposals.

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle and Republican candidates for that chamber have released a series of policy proposals, which include the possibility of amending tax cuts made in recent years.

The plan includes overarching themes on topics such as balancing the budget, writing a new school funding formula and creating fairness in the tax code.

Wagle is working to harness voter frustration with the Legislature and the budget. She's laying out a message aimed squarely at those Kansans.

“We have heard you. We have listened. We are just as upset as you are,” Wagle says.

Wagle was flanked by nearly 10 senators and Senate candidates, ranging from conservatives to some of the more centrist-leaning candidates that defeated incumbent Republicans in the primary.

Some lawmakers and candidates want to revise the state's current tax policy, and Wagle says it’s one of the budget-balancing moves they will consider.

“The shortfall is so great, and it’s so unexpected. We have to fund the rainy day fund. We have to make the ends meet the means. We have all proposals on the table. We will consider them all,” Wagle says.

Several GOP lawmakers lost their primary elections this year and Republican Governor Sam Brownback's approval ratings are among the lowest in the nation. Lee Kinch, with the Kansas Democratic Party, believes Wagle's plan is an effort to distance Republican senators from the governor.

“It’s clearly calculated to influence their elections. The timing is really suspicious, one month before the election. They’re running away from Brownback,” Kinch says.

A total of 26 sitting senators and candidates for the Senate have signed on to the plan.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.