Last week, the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform posted a story with this headline:
“The Kansas Legislature has lost its mind.”
What followed was a round of sharp criticism leveled at lawmakers for considering tax increases to close a $400 million budget gap. The fight over how to close that gap has kept lawmakers in Topeka for the longest session in state history.
Americans for Tax Reform is the group headed by the well-known Grover Norquist, once called “the high priest of anti-tax orthodoxy.” He’s known for issuing no-tax-increase pledges to lawmakers.
On Sunday, 14 Republican senators broke such pledges. The Senate on a narrow vote signed off on the largest tax increase in state history that included a statewide sales tax increase to 6.55 percent and a decision to slow individual income tax rate cuts. Senators also voted to delete in four years several sales tax exemptions.
The bill now goes to the House. If it’s endorsed, the session could end on Monday.
In its Thursday post, Americans for Tax Reform wondered why lawmakers simply couldn’t cut the budget by 6 percent. “You would think it would be simple,” the post read.
The notion that lawmakers were considering a multitude of taxes was a mistake, the group said.
“This would be a disastrous reversal for Kansas taxpayers,” ATR said.
Rest assured, the group will remember these pivotal votes come re-election time.