Negotiations Continue On 2013 Kansas Budget

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of the session for the Kansas Legislature, yet negotiations continue on the final version of the 2013 budget. It’s a $14 billion spending bill.

All too often, it seems like this comes down to the wire. You’ve got the Governor and republican backers saying tax cuts are coming, which will stimulate business and school backers saying those cuts will be made at the expense of education.

Jim Dunning, owner of Dunning Certified Accountants, says he understands the Governor’s desire to lower taxes on Kansas businesses as a way of hopefully attracting more businesses to locate here.

"The hope is that business can be more competitive, that we can draw more taxpayers so we don't have to have as high of rates if you've got more people paying," says Dunning.

Governor Sam Brownback says he’s ready to sign the bill the Kansas House passed. The bill cuts individual income tax rates at the top level from 6.45 percent to 4.9 percent. It also drops the sales tax to 5.7 percent in July 2013. That rate now stands at 6.3 percent.

“And it will leave more money in the pocket of small business,” says Dunning, which is what the Governor has called for. But as a citizen, Dunning is concerned about projected budget shortfalls.

Dunning says, "To leave a $2 billion shortfall. I can't run my business that way."

Wichita School Board member Lynn Rogers is concerned the budget will have the Legislature backtracking on school funding promises.

"The legislature has been promising us for years and years with these budget cuts that they would repay us," says Rogers. "We went from $44-hundred to $37-hundred a student. Well, with all these other cuts that they're making, there's no way that will be given back to us."

Rogers says it’s also pro-business to have a well-educated work force.

"I understand it's great to have a tax cut. Everyone wants to be able to do that. But where's the money going to come to run the business of education?” asks Rogers.

He calls it irresponsible that legislators are putting together so much of the budget in the last couple of days of the session when they’ve had the input of Kansas on budget issues for months to consider.

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