Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback used his appearance at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner in Topeka Tuesday night to announce he would veto the tax package sent to his desk by the legislature, saying that he was making the move to “protect the income of the people of the state of Kansas” and calling the package “the largest tax increase in the history of the state of Kansas.”
Brownback posted the following video on Twitter shortly after the announcement:
— Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) February 22, 2017
And he wasted little time making the decision official — he formally vetoed the bill in his ceremonial office in the state capitol Wednesday morning. The move prompted swift criticism from legislators who had voted to advance the bill, which seeks to restore structural stability to the state’s budget by rolling back much of the tax cut package Brownback signed into law in 2012. Here’s what northeast Johnson County’s elected officials in the statehouse had to say about the development:
Sen. Barbara Bollier
Shame on the Governor for not listening to the people of Kansas. Both the House and the Senate passed a bill that restored structural balance to our tax system in Kansas. For the Governor to say that nothing has been done to cut spending is just not true. Our state cannot sustain continued budget cuts. Kansans want to support each other with a reasonable, appropriate level of government that provides stability to our public schools, our transportation system, and the many services we provide to those who cannot provide for themselves. We are called to be in community together and must support a budget and revenue stream that sustains the excellence Kansas is known for.
Rep. Stephanie Clayton
The Governor’s veto of the tax bill was disappointing, and reflective of how out of touch he is with voters who want to see a return to budget stability. I eagerly await the opportunity to cast my vote to override this veto.
Rep. Jarrod Ousley
Kansans support revenue reform. The Governor had the opportunity to lead the state in the direction the people want to go. It will come back to the House for the veto override. I hope my colleagues will listen to the will of the people.
Rep. Melissa Rooker
In November, the governor declined to address the state’s fiscal shortfall, instead promising a budget that was structurally balanced. What we got from him was a budget full of gimmicks and accounting tricks, fuzzy math and savings based on laws that haven’t passed and ideas that have been exposed as unlikely to achieve the savings assumed in his budget. The truth of the matter is that responsible governance begins with the courage to admit we have a problem. After nine rounds of budget cuts, a reduction of over 5,000 state employees, years of fund sweeps, record borrowing and delays in paying our bills, it is time to restore fiscal sanity. The legislature has done our job. The tax plan we sent to the governor is balanced, sustainable and most importantly provides the first major step toward solvency. I voted YES on the plan because it represented the type of comprehensive reform that we have needed for several years. I will vote YES to override the governor’s veto.
Rep. Jerry Stogsdill
As a former Naval Officer I would equate the governors veto of the tax bill to be like the Captain of the Titanic hitting the iceberg and then deciding to back over it! The governor has shown absolutely no interest in or ability to solve the financial problems of Kansas. Problems that were caused by his inept handling of the economy. We still have a long way to go in finding a solution that will put Kansas back on a solid financial footing.