Brownback Budget Proposal Misses The Mark For Many Legislators


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Gov. Sam Brownback’s office released a budget proposal Wednesday that is likely to put him at odds with large contingent of the Legislature.

Legislators in both parties won re-election last year on platforms that included repealing a state income tax exemption for business owners and providing a state general fund that balances annual spending with tax revenue and doesn’t rely on one-time sweeps of other money.

The proposal outlined Wednesday by State Budget Director Shawn Sullivan barely alters the tax exemption and does not balance the general fund until 2019.

Sullivan told legislators the tax exemption is a valuable economic development tool and cutting spending to match tax revenues remains unrealistic while the state’s farm and oil industries languish.

Brownback’s budget continues to rely on one-time fixes like sweeps of the highway fund, further deferments of payments to the state employee pension plan and the sale of the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

He also proposes selling the state’s annual payments from a legal settlement against tobacco companies for a lump sum payment. Several legislators have called that a non-starter.

To solve the immediate budget deficit — about $350 million before July 1 — Brownback proposed tapping a long-term investment fund and paying it back over the next seven years.

Legislators want to consider other options.

Key Republicans like Rep. Steven Johnson, chairman of the House Tax Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning told the Associated Press they favor a quick repeal of the 2012 income tax exemption, which would net an estimated $260 million in annual tax revenue.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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