In his first and final State of the State address Monday night, Gov. Mark Parkinson called for two tax increases and no further “crippling cuts to our critical state programs,” including K-12 schools and state universities. GOP legislative leaders say it’s a tax hike that "would in the long run cripple Kansas businesses and in turn undermine the long term fiscal health of our state government," as House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, put it in his response to Parkinson’s speech. Either way, a $400 million budget gap has to be closed for fiscal 2011. And so begins what promises to be a historic budget struggle between the GOP-led Legislature and a lame-duck Democratic governor who used to chair the Kansas Republican Party.
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