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TheChat: Gov. Sam Brownback, lawmakers wrestle with budget as 2015 session surges past 100-day mark

Good morning.

▪ “I stand ready to work day and night until the budget is balanced and Kansas has a tax system in place that continues to promote economic growth and opportunity for our citizens.” — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in a statement this weekend as he outlined his ideas for how to balance the state budget.

Brownback’s proposal: Raise the sales tax, exempt low-income folks from paying income taxes. As the weekend came to a close, it looked like there was going to be a few late nights this week as lawmakers struggle to close a $400 million budget gap.

▪ “I’m a little leery of getting the sales tax up that high, but I also believe it’s a fair way to deal with that.” — Kansas state Rep. Jerry Lunn, an Overland Park Republican, on Brownback’s plan.

Lawmakers like Lunn, who endorsed the governor’s idea, are key because his district borders the state line. Detractors of Brownback’s proposal say some shoppers will flee to Missouri to buy their groceries to save money. Under Brownback’s plan, the food sales tax in Kansas would jump from 6.15 percent to 6.65 percent. That’s about 5.5 percent higher than Missouri’s food sales tax. That’s a significant difference.

▪ “After the food tax increase in KS, a family spending $100/week on groceries would save $282.10 every year by shopping in MO.” — Missouri state Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, a Kansas City Democrat, saying he backs Brownback’s idea because of the increase in business Missouri grocers would experience.

Said LaFaver on Twiter: “That's almost 3 full weeks of free groceries. Shop in MO, get free groceries. Almost a month's worth!”

▪ “So blunt on the page, it’s scary. She talks honestly about her mistakes, her ambition, her divorce.” — Simon & Schuster’s Priscilla Painton on Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s upcoming memoir, Plenty Ladylike.

Painton said McCaskill “talks honestly about her mistakes, her ambition, her divorce.” One other focus of the book is said to be McCaskill’s deft maneuvering in her 2012 re-election race and her work to ensure that Republican Todd Akin was her general-election opponent. Turns out that McCaskill will have some competition on the political book front this year. Lots of other memoirs are set to hit the shelves. (link via johncombest.com).

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