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Taxes, budget, education are critical issues in 2012 Kansas Legislature

As this year’s legislative agenda begins to clarify itself, a trinity of issues is emerging with the potential to substantially change your life: taxes, education and the budget.

Proposed budget provides for air subsidies, arts commission

The governor’s proposed budget fulfills several top priorities in Wichita and slightly decreases spending while building up reserves.

Proposal has funds for Arts Commission

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget plan could revive the Kansas Arts Commission, a year after he withdrew all funding from it.

Plan ends college-savings tax deduction

About 60,000 families saving for their children’s college education could take a hit from Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax plan.

Kansas A.G. announces expanded task force to fight human trafficking

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Wednesday he hopes an expanded task force on human trafficking can work with legislators and the governor to strengthen state laws.

Governor would cut income tax, keep sales tax rate steady

Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing sweeping changes in the state income tax, including eliminating the tax for small businesses and lowering base rates for wage earners, while also eliminating itemized deductions and about two dozen tax credits.

Brownback enters session with ambitious agenda

If Gov. Sam Brownback’s year goes as planned, people in Kansas will pay less income tax, schools will start finding new ways to serve their poorest kids and social services will nudge more people toward family life and off the public dime.

Other key issues for the Legislature

Here are some of the major issues legislators will face in the session that begins Monday.

On the governor’s agenda

Here’s a quick look at changes Gov. Sam Brownback plans to pursue in the legislative session that starts Monday.

Kansas GOP presidential caucus to have full slate

Kansas Republican presidential caucus participants should see a full ballot March 10.

Democrats reveal jobs package

Pipefitter Steve Atwood hasn’t been able to find work in Wichita for two years.

Appeals backlog leaves unemployed Kansans hanging

Layoffs and reorganization at the state Department of Labor have led to a substantial backlog in unemployment appeals, leaving more than 6,500 Kansans waiting months to find out if they’ll qualify for benefits.

Brownback doesn’t plan to address new gambling vote in legislative session

Gov. Sam Brownback says the legislature shouldn’t try to tackle gambling during the 2012 legislative session because it has too many other heavy issues to deal with.

SRS Director Rob Siedlecki to step down at the end of the month

The top social services official in Kansas is stepping down after less than a year in office, Gov. Sam Brownback’s office announced Thursday, ending a tenure marked by controversy over administrative decisions and the governor’s policies.

McGinn calls for early end to 1% sales tax hike

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, wants to roll back part of the 1 percent sales tax increase the Legislature approved last year in the face of a major budget shortfall.

Who’s paying to influence Kansas legislators?

Free KU basketball games, NASCAR races and Disney on Ice.

Testimony ends in abortion-referrals case

TOPEKA — Testimony ended Friday in a disciplinary case against a physician who provided second opinions on the mental health of patients seeking late-term abortions from Wichita abortion provider George Tiller.

State's new forecast for revenue is rosier

TOPEKA — Kansas officials and economists issued a new, more optimistic fiscal forecast for the state Friday, predicting that tax revenue will grow by almost 5 percent during the next budget year.

Brownback aide to outline plan for funding schools

TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback, who wants to change the way Kansas distributes about $3 billion in state aid to school districts, will send a top aide to brief the State Board of Education next week on the administration's proposal for handing out the funds.

Kan. anti-tax drive backed by Missouri billionaire

A new campaign to repeal the Kansas income tax is being bankrolled in part by a Missouri billionaire and anti-income-tax crusader.

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