Good news: Brownback’s crippling tax cuts still in big trouble

Illustration by Roberto Parada

Illustration by Roberto Parada

Boo: The Kansas Senate narrowly failed Wednesday to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of necessary income tax changes.

It was a big disappointment for people looking to create a balanced budget and ultimately a better future for people in the Sunflower State.

However, let’s look at the upside.

A total of 109 House and Senate legislators voted to support higher income taxes and end the unfair tax exemption for LLC owners.

Keeping Brownback’s tax cuts got the support of only 56 elected officials.

The votes were 85-40 in the House (more than 2/3rds needed of 84 votes) and 24-16 in Senate (less than the 27 needed.)

That’s a massive movement away from the reckless policies put in place by Brownback and a different legislature in 2012.

So what’s next?

Pay no attention to what Brownback said Wednesday about wanting to find a way out of the budget debacle he got the state into. The governor is stuck on budgetary gimmicks that would put Kansas further in debt, and would divert funds from roads, public pensions and children’s programs.

The moderate GOP wing of the party and the Democrats showed their cards Wednesday: They recognize that to generate real revenue to provide strong public services, income tax rates will have to go up on middle- and higher-income residents.

Who was stuck in la-la land Wednesday?

Senate President Susan Wagle, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning and others who said they thought they could come up with a better proposal. These are the same people who have been in Topeka for years and created this mess. And now they’re going to lead Kansas out of it? Good luck.

But the optimist in me says the writing is on the wall: The tax cuts are in trouble and the Legislature will severely restrict them sometime this session.

It’s just too bad that time didn’t come Wednesday.