Friday, February 24, 2017

Gov. Brownback Vetoes Legislature’s Tax Increase Fix for Kansas Budget and School Funding Crisis | janresseger

Gov. Brownback Vetoes Legislature’s Tax Increase Fix for Kansas Budget and School Funding Crisis | janresseger:

Gov. Brownback Vetoes Legislature’s Tax Increase Fix for Kansas Budget and School Funding Crisis



Yikes!  Sam Brownback, the governor of Kansas, just vetoed a budget into which the Kansas legislature had inserted a two-year, billion dollar income tax increase, which legislators had proposed as the way to avert fiscal catastrophe. The school funding system had been found unconstitutional by the state’s supreme court and was saved last June only by a stop-gap remedy. And the state has been experiencing a fiscal emergency for years.
Governor Sam Brownback slashed the state income tax in 2012 and 2013 and made other changes to the tax code that have reduced the state’s revenue.  He predicted the state’s economy would grow (and produce more revenue) as a result of his tax reform, but growth has not happened as he predicted.  Every quarter, tax receipts have been coming in far under what was projected. The state has been enduring a budget crisis for several years.
Taxation at the state level is definitely a public education issue that has consequences for things like class size and student-to-counselor ratios. After all, public schools are always among the biggest lines in every state’s budget. Massive tax cutting always hurts public schools, and Kansas is a primary example. Last May the state’s supreme court threatened to block the opening of school in September of 2016 if the state didn’t do something about the funding. In June, the legislature convened a special session to come up with a stop-gap remedy and keep schools open. After the short-term remedy passed, John Hanna of the Associated Press explained: “Kansas is bracing for more contentious legal and political fights over education funding even after legislators approved a narrow, short-term fix to satisfy a court mandate and avoid a threatened shutdown of the state’s public schools. Having directed lawmakers to make education funding fairer to poor areas, the Kansas Supreme Court will next consider the larger issue of whether the state spends enough overall on its schools.”
In the November election, the voters of Kansas reelected four members of the state’s supreme court who had been targeted because these justices had found the school funding system unconstitutional. The public has also begun to respond by replacing the tax slashers in the legislature, but not fast enough. In November two dozen far-right, tax slashing legislators were thrown out by voters. This created a more moderate legislature. While the legislature Gov. Brownback Vetoes Legislature’s Tax Increase Fix for Kansas Budget and School Funding Crisis | janresseger:

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