Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Budget debate extends session

By BOBBY BURCH, Herald Staff Writer | 5/24/2013

TOPEKA — An area legislator was among only a handful of Kansas House lawmakers to vote in favor of the Senate’s last-ditch effort to approve a budget and tax plan before further extending the 2013 session.

The House overwhelmingly opposed HB 2084, effectively killing the bill with a 109-5 vote and prolonging the 2013 session until at least Tuesday. Lawmakers adjourned early Friday for the Memorial Day holiday.

TOPEKA — An area legislator was among only a handful of Kansas House lawmakers to vote in favor of the Senate’s last-ditch effort to approve a budget and tax plan before further extending the 2013 session.

The House overwhelmingly opposed HB 2084, effectively killing the bill with a 109-5 vote and prolonging the 2013 session until at least Tuesday. Lawmakers adjourned early Friday for the Memorial Day holiday.

Among the five legislators voting in favor of the failed House bill was state Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, who represents a portion of Franklin County residents. State Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, voted against the measure. In the Senate, where the bill passed on a 24-15 vote Thursday, state Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, who also represents Franklin County, gave an affirmative vote.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback had released a statement in favor of the Senate’s plan.

“My administration is focused intensely on pro-growth reform, with a guiding philosophy that tax relief will increase private sector jobs and personal income for Kansas families and businesses,” Brownback said. “The tax proposal passed by the Kansas Senate Thursday night lowers the tax burden on all Kansans. I appreciate the work by the Kansas Legislature this session and will sign this pro-growth tax bill should lawmakers vote to send it to me.”

The disagreement between the Kansas House and Senate over the budget bill will push the 2013 legislative session into day 92 Tuesday, 12 days longer than what Republican leaders previously promised. The Legislature, which set out to conduct the standard 90-day session in 80 days, appeared by mid-week this week to be stalled over taxes and the budget. The workload has been light for legislators not in leadership roles or serving on the conference committee negotiating tax issues.    

Some state legislators pledged earlier this week to forgo their $88.66-a-day salary and/or daily subsistence of $123 if the session went beyond the 90-day limit set in the Kansas Constitution.

Jeff Russell, Legislative Administrative Services director, said Ottawa’s Finch was among the lawmakers who had submitted withhold-pay requests. Other legislators not taking pay after the 90th day included state Sens. Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia, Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, and Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, along with state Reps. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, Shanti Gandhi, R-Topeka, Steven Becker, R-Buhler, Don Hineman, R-Dighton, and J. Russell Jennings, R-Lakin.

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