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Kansas Lawmakers To Attempt Override After Brownback Vetoes Tax Plan

Office of the Governor
Gov. Brownback signs the veto message.

Kansas lawmakers are gearing up for an attempt to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a tax increase. The House and Senate approved the plan overnight Monday and Brownback vetoed it Tuesday.

In a statement, Brownback said Kansas has a “pro-growth” tax policy and the bill would be a step backward on that front.

“We can and we must balance our budget without negatively harming Kansas families,” Brownback said.

Read Brownback's veto message here

The bill would roll back many of the state’s 2012 tax cuts and raise $1.2 billion over two years.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning says they could attempt an override as early Tuesday night, and he’ll support the effort.

“It’s time to put this tax issue to bed and get back to governing,” Denning said. “It’s time to do it.”

That's easier said than done: An override would need one additional vote in the Senate and 15 additional votes in the House.

Supporters of the tax plan said it would help stabilize the state budget. Lawmakers face a nearly $900 million deficit over two years and increased costs for schools after a court ruling that said school funding is inadequate.

Republican Sen. Gene Suellentrop said the tax bill wouldn’t fix the budget and would mean big tax increases on working Kansans. He’ll be urging senators not to override and work instead on a bill that would trim spending to help balance the budget.

“I think you’re going to probably see something crafted more along that line coming and it’s something the governor will support,” Suellentrop said.

Brownback vetoed another tax increase earlier this session and lawmakers could not muster the votes for an override.

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.