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Tax dispute is also hanging over state’s head

A Sunday Eagle news article about a state tax dispute with retired businessman Gene Bicknell was a reminder that the school-funding cases are not the only major financial uncertainties facing the state. Bicknell is challenging a $42 million tax charge from when he sold his company, NPC International, in 2006. He accuses the Brownback administration of attempting to sneak in a last-minute change to a tax bill this legislative session that could have prevented him from seeking a trial with new evidence in district court. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and other lawmakers blocked the change, and Bicknell is now concerned that Gov. Sam Brownback might veto the bill in order to limit his potential legal challenge. If the state loses the tax case, it could wipe out half of next year’s projected cash reserves. – Phillip Brownlee