A Kansas tax cuts rollback was pushed through by the state legislature despite Gov. Sam Brownback's veto, signaling another salvo in the fight between the GOP governor and his fellow Republican lawmakers over state finances.
The state's House and Senate voted to override Brownback's veto on legislation that rolled back the governor-led tax policies that were part of sweeping tax cut legislation in 2012, The Kansas City Star reported. It was the first time the legislature overrode Brownback after three tries this session.
The tax cuts failed to produce the economic prosperity promised for the state, forcing legislators to figure out a way to close a $900 million gap in the state's latest budget, according to National Public Radio.
State lawmakers also had been ordered to bolster funding for K-12 schools by the Kansas Supreme Court, noted NPR.
The bill, that includes a $1.2 billion tax increase, was passed with an unusual coalition of conservative and moderate Republicans, some of whom voted for the 2012 tax cuts in 2012, with Democrats.
"It's a huge vote," State Rep. Steven Johnson, a Republican and chairman of the House tax panel, told NPR. "It's a huge vote for looking for an option for Kansas among limited options."
According to the Star, the new law would put the state's individual income tax rates at 3.1 percent, 5.25 percent and 5.7 percent starting in tax year 2018, while a phased in rate begins during tax year 2017.
The new law also ends Brownback's tax cut for certain business owners, known as the LLC exemption. Senate vice president Jeff Longbine told the newspaper that the override did not mean loss of faith in Brownback.
"Respect to me does not mean blind agreement," Longbine told the Star.
Republican State Sen. Dennis Pyle, though, argued to keep the tax cuts and support the veto despite the budget shortfall.
"(Lawmakers) continue to want more and more," Pyle said, according to NPR. "They want to interfere in people's lives."
Before this week's vote, Brownback was successfully able to veto two other bills, according to the Star. In February, he vetoed a bill to raise more than $1 billion in tax revenue, and he struck down the legislature's attempt to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act a few weeks later.
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