TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget and tax proposals (all times local):
Four Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate have issued a joint statement criticizing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget-balancing proposals.
The statement Wednesday criticized Brownback for proposing to increase taxes on wine, liquor, beer and cigarettes and for not agreeing to the repeal of an income tax break for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners.
It also said “a real structural fix” was “noticeably absent” and that the governor relied too heavily on accounting moves and shifting funds internally.
The statement was from Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita, Vice President Jeff Longbine of Emporia, Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park and Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn of Sedgwick.
Brownback’s office did not immediately respond.
Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $1.1 billion through July 2019.
Democrats in the Kansas Legislature are harshly criticizing Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals for balancing the state budget.
State Rep. Tom Sawyer of Wichita described the package outlined Wednesday by Brownback as “a pile of garbage.” Sawyer is the top Democrat on the House Taxation Committee.
Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka called many of the proposals from the governor “taking hocus pocus budgeting to a new level.”
Brownback’s proposals include diverting highway funds to general government programs, scaling back the state’s contributions to public employee pensions and liquidating a state investment fund.
His proposals also include raising taxes on cigarettes, wine, liquor and beer.
Democrats blame the state’s budget problems on personal income tax cuts enacted by Republican legislators in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging.