Kansas governor vetos tax bill to preserve political legacy

Kansas' Republican-led Legislature voted Friday to roll back a deep tax cut championed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, conceding it helped put the state in dire financial straits and setting up a possible showdown with him.

Sam Brownback, speaks of the tax bill he was sent last week at the Kansas Chamber annual dinner in Topeka, Kan., Tuesday night, February 21, 2017.

Brownback and his allies continue to argue that the personal income tax cuts he championed in 2012 and 2013 are creating economic growth and the state's problems were largely caused by slumps in agriculture and oil production.

Kansas is facing its third major tax increase to fill budget gaps in the five years since the first Brownback-inspired income taxes were enacted.

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.

"While I respect the determination with which Governor Fallin met her obligation to present a balanced budget to the legislature, I can not support her proposed tax increases", Lamb, who remains lieutenant governor, said in a statement. He had pledged to veto the measure during a Tuesday night banquet of the supportive Kansas Chamber of Commerce. The bill would have reversed key Brownback tax policies.

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Some top Republicans lawmakers have said the governor's proposals collectively don't represent a permanent budget fix.

The House expected to consider overriding the veto nearly immediately.

"I think we could see several vetoes", she told fellow GOP senators during a pre-vote caucus. But the bill did not pass with the two-thirds majorities required.

Brownback has a Statehouse news conference scheduled Wednesday morning to act.

It would raise more than $1 billion over two years, starting in July.

Jonathan Shorman, a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal, reports that the Republican-controlled Kansas House voted to override Brownback's veto by a margin of 85-40. It is the state's largest business group, a powerful voice within the Republican Party and a stronger backer of income tax cuts.

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