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Brownback says negotiated tax plan would have been better

TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback advocated for weeks for the House and Senate to approve a phased-in set of income tax cuts, but instead he got a package that drops rates for individuals immediately and eliminates the tax on nonwage income for thousands of businesses.

Today, he rallied House Republicans and later said that he thought the negotiated plan was “a better path overall.”

But he held out little hope that a new plan will emerge, despite ongoing deal-making going on in the Capitol today.

“We’re at the end. We’re past the time the session ought to be wrapped up,” said Brownback, dressed in blue jeans and button-up shirt for what many expect to be a marathon session today. “It needs to wrap up today, so let’s move on forward.”

Brownback said it’s too early to tell how much — if any — lawmakers will have to cut the budget next year as a result of the tax plan, which state analysts project will cause hundreds of millions in cuts year after year.

“I think we’re going to be in good shape,” he said, noting better than expected growth this year.

But that’s the opposite of what moderate Republicans and Democrats predict.

"We are not in the business of bankrupting the state of Kansas,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka. “And if he signs that bill, that is a fiscal Armageddon."

House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the state probably shouldn’t increase education funding and other services this year since it would just be quickly cut next year if Brownback signs the tax bill.

"There's just simply no way we can grow our way out of the deficits this tax plan will cause,” he said.