Politics & Government

Capitol beats: Tax debates dominate week 6 in Kansas Legislature

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Check this spot on Sundays for a few quick hits about what’s driving the debate in the Legislature.

Say what?

“We like to bring up selective facts and rail on everybody else’s selective facts.”

Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, during a tax debate on Thursday

“I’m tired of putting (on) Band-Aids when we need a tourniquet.”

Sen. John Doll, R-Garden City, during a tax debate on Friday

$590.2 million

That’s how much revenue a tax increase passed by the Kansas House and Kansas Senate would generate for the state next fiscal year.

Trending

Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature policy during his two terms is in serious jeopardy. A plan to raise income tax rates and eliminate an exemption for pass-through entities sped through the Kansas House. It nearly got a veto-proof majority in a Wednesday vote. It lost some votes the following day but still passed by a comfortable margin.

The Senate decided to take up the bill on Friday, bypassing the committee process. The measure was initially short of passage during the final vote. Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, first voted to pass on the bill, but later changed their votes to “yes.” The final tally was 22-18, one vote more than the minimum required for passage. It heads to Brownback, where he can sign it, veto it or let it become law 10 days after receiving it.

Another trending item: #kslegvalentines. Lawmakers, political parties, state departments, journalists and other politicos used the Twitter hashtag for politically themed rhymes on Valentine’s Day. The top tweet came from Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park: “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I survived postcards, And so can you.”

News ahead

The House Health and Health Services Committee could take action Monday on a bill that will expand KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program. Hospitals and health groups have pushed for the state to expand Medicaid for years, finally landing a hearing on a bill this year. Critics say the move would cost millions of dollars and doesn’t make sense because of the uncertainty around the fate of the Affordable Care Act at the federal level.

Daniel Salazar

For more legislative news, go to www.kansas.com/politics.

Daniel Salazar: 316-269-6791, @imdanielsalazar

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