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Finding budget compromise a ‘process,’ Brownback says

Gov. Sam Brownback confers with Archbishop Joseph Naumann before a signing ceremony for a bill restricting abortion in the state.
Gov. Sam Brownback confers with Archbishop Joseph Naumann before a signing ceremony for a bill restricting abortion in the state. By Dave Helling/KC Star

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback urged patience Tuesday as the state’s legislature prepares to return to Topeka — facing a $400 million budget deficit.

“It’s a process,” the Republican told reporters in Lenexa. “You start building a consensus … It just takes a lot of time and a lot of discussion.”

Brownback was in Lenexa at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church to hold a ceremonial signing of a bill limiting some abortions in the state.

Lawmakers there for the ceremony gave different views of the upcoming wrap-up session. Some said they expected a relatively quick compromise on a revenue-raising measure, while others said finding final agreement might take weeks.

The latest estimates show the state must find $422 million in budget cuts or revenues to make the state’s spending blueprint balance next fiscal year. Revenue proposals include higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol, health insurance companies, and sales. There are also proposals to eliminate some income tax deductions.

Brownback repeated his call for a major tobacco tax increase, which he says is a health issue.

There does not seem to be much enthusiasm for raising income tax rates. Kansas remains in the budget doldrums because of significant income tax reductions in 2013 and 2014.

Brownback had already signed the measure limiting what abortion opponents call “dismemberment” abortion procedures. But he planned a statewide tour Tuesday to sign it again for supports, and cameras.

“This a major piece of legislation, a major issue of our day,” Brownback said.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann attended the ceremony but left before the signing.

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