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UPDATE: Kansas Senate Fails To Override Tax Bill Veto

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

Editor's note: This post was updated at 4:34 p.m.

The Kansas Senate failed Wednesday to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a bill that would have rolled back big portions of his signature 2012 tax cuts. 

Lawmakers voted 24-16 against the effort to overturn the veto. Supporters were three votes short of the two-thirds majority of 27 votes needed in the 40-member chamber. The vote came hours after legislators in the House had voted, by a narrow margin, to override the veto.

Brownback vetoed the tax increase Wednesday morning, maintaining that the retroactive tax changes would hurt families and damage the state's overall business climate.

“These efforts have been successful, and reversing course now will have a long-term negative impact on growing business and opportunity in Kansas,” Brownback said.

The measure would have raised income tax rates, added a third income tax bracket and reinstate income taxes on hundreds of thousands of business owners. It would have also raised taxes over $1 billion in the coming years. It was an effort to balance the state budget in the face of deficits in the current and coming years.

Some critics said the tax increase was too large. Others, including Republican Tax Committee Chairwoman Caryn Tyson, said they should consider other proposals.

“We need to let the process work and we need to give the tax committee and this body a chance to present other options before us instead of rushing,” Tyson said.

The House vote to override initially appeared to fail by one vote, but then two lawmakers changed their votes. Republican Rep. Blaine Finch switched to supporting the override despite concerns about the tax plan.

“The reality is when I talk to people, they tell me that they want prisons, and they want schools, and they want roads and they want public safety to be paid for,” Finch said. “At some point, we have to stop carrying forward the lie that they can have something for nothing.”

Democratic Rep. Tom Sawyer said after the tax increase, Kansans would still be paying lower income tax rates than before the 2012 tax cuts.

"We went too far, too fast," he said. "We made a mistake in 2012."

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.
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