The Kansas Senate failed to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a tax bill that would bring the state more than $1 billion over the next two fiscal years.
The lawmakers voted 24-16 to override the governor’s veto, three votes short of the number they needed for an override.
The Kansas House voted 85-40 to override the veto on Wednesday morning, but it was clear the measure had less support in the Senate.
Senate President Susan Wagle and Majority Leader Jim Denning both said they would not vote to pass the bill during a Republican caucus meeting Wednesday afternoon.
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“I’m not supporting the governor,” Denning said on the Senate floor. “I’m supporting my commitment to fix the budget.”
Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, questioned where the Legislature will go by not going against the governor’s block on the bill.
“It will not be a very pretty session, and it may be a longer session,” Haley said. “(A) much longer session.”
Tensions were clear among the members of the Republican caucus Wednesday afternoon.
Wagle, R-Wichita, criticized how the governor has handled the state’s recent financial issues.
The governor decided not to make budget cuts himself, which he is able to do, and instead said the Legislature should come up with a solution.
The state is estimated to have more than $1 billion in projected shortfalls through the end of fiscal year 2019.
That includes a roughly $320 million shortfall this year.
“I think that it’s wrong that he put you in this position,” Wagle told Republican lawmakers, adding that she understood why other Republicans wanted to override the governor’s veto.
The tax plan that fell in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon would have raised income tax rates and rolled back Brownback’s 2012 tax exemption for roughly 330,000 business owners.
Other tax proposals, like the governor’s, were also mentioned as possible solutions as it became clear the Senate would not veto the bill.
Denning called the governor’s plan “insulting.”
“I don’t even want to waste my time on it,” Denning said.
Senate leaders said Wednesday that the governor’s veto this week could be a trend this session.
In a press conference where he made the veto official, Brownback said he still supports the tax cuts for small businesses and opposes income tax increases like those included in the vetoed bill.
“I think we could face a number of vetoes,” Wagle said as Republicans discussed their options before voting to side with the governor and strike down the bill.
How they voted
Here’s how south-central Kansas senators voted on an override of HB 2178 increasing income taxes and removing an exemption for some businesses. The override needed two-thirds approval and fell short of that, 24-16.
Democrats voting yes: Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Lynn Rogers, Wichita
Republicans voting yes: Ed Berger, Hutchinson; Bruce Givens, El Dorado; Dan Kerschen, Garden Plain; Carolyn McGinn, Sedgwick
Republicans voting no: Mike Petersen, Gene Suellentrop, Susan Wagle, Wichita; Ty Masterson, Andover; Richard Wilborn, McPherson; Larry Alley, Winfield