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Governor playing hardball on taxes

In "what appears to be one of the most blatant examples of arm-twisting under the Kansas dome since statehood," Gov. Sam Brownback spent the days leading up to Friday's stormy first adjournment "fighting, scratching, clawing" to save his tax-cut package, according to Kansas City Star columnist Steve Kraske. "Through force of will and hardball politics, Brownback resurrected a legislative session that threatened to morph into a political disaster for him," Kraske wrote. The governor persuaded (or was it "coerced"?) the Senate to reverse course and approve a version of his tax-reform bill, Kraske noted, then took a jab at Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, by vetoing a measure that would have helped Morris' district by protecting an oil and gas trust fund. Brownback's veto of the bill, which had passed the Legislature unanimously, "was sending a message to Morris and other moderate senators bogging down his agenda," Kraske argued. "That message: Do. Not. Mess. With. Me."

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