An aide to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is suggesting that the Kansas Senate’s top GOP leader supports “unfair” tax increases and “punishing” spending cuts to balance the state budget.
Brownback spokeswoman Melika Willoughby responded in a Wednesday evening email to criticism of the governor’s proposals from Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita and three other GOP leaders in the chamber.
The senators criticized Brownback for proposing to boost taxes on cigarettes, beer, wine and liquor instead of repealing an income tax break for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners. The senators also said the governor relied too heavily on accounting moves.
A release sent Wednesday from Wagle, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine and Senate Ways and Means Chair Carolyn McGinn stated:
“This morning, Governor Brownback’s office presented his budget proposal for this fiscal year to the Kansas Legislature. Notably absent was a real structural fix to the $350 million deficit the state currently faces. The Governor continues to use one-time money, adds new taxes on the middle class, and neglects to fix the LLC loophole. The math simply just doesn’t add up. The solution will require a combination of cuts and changes to tax policy. Many members of the Senate would rather see a long-term fix and we expect to debate alternative proposals. We look forward to working with the House and the Governor to reach a sustainable solution for all Kansans. We cannot kick this can down the road any longer.”
Willoughby challenged Wagle to draft her own budget-balancing plan. Willoughby’s email concluded, “Until then, our budget solves the challenges of today, and provides sustainable answers for the future.”