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TheChat: Kansas leaders still looking for the right combination of taxes, cuts to balance the budget

The Kansas Senate at work
The Kansas Senate at work

Let’s do it again.

▪ “It’s going to be difficult for this body to pass a tax increase but I think at the end of the day we’re going to get something.” — Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican, speculating about the likelihood of some kind of tax boost.

Well, “the end of the day” is here, and senators continue to do their best imitation of a chamber that isn’t going to pass any kind of revenue enhancement. It appears that in the end, a sales tax increase will be part of a budget-balancing package, but how much of an increase remains unclear.

▪ “We have a handful of you that are not going to vote for anything unless there’s Medicaid expansion and we have a handful of you that, unless there’s massive cuts or significant cuts to the budget, you’re not going to vote either.” — Kansas state Rep. Marvin Kleeb, chair of the House tax committee and an Overland Park Republican, on the results of an informal survey of House members on what type of budget resolution they would accept.

Like Bruce, Kleeb is walking a tightrope when it comes to finding an acceptable combination of tax increases and budget cuts that will win majority GOP support. All this suggests a session that still has some days to run.

▪ “A starting point.” — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on his annual report analyzing traffic stops by race, which found that African-American drivers were 75 percent more likely than white motorists to be stopped on Missouri's roads, nine percentage points higher than last year.

Koster was saying that the report can be the place where lawmakers can begin to consider changes in policy. The figures will be scrutinized in the wake of the Ferguson crisis. (link courtesy of johncombest.com).

▪ “Prohibit nothing, disclose everything and disclose it on the spot.” — GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on the campaign-finance law he’d like to see.

The current system, he said, is dominated by lawyers and is full of winking and nodding as groups run supposedly independent campaigns on behalf of candidates. Huckabee said donors should be able to give what they want as long as it’s fully disclosed.

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