Brownback offers massive deal to end session; Senate rejects it

TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback offered the Senate a massive deal that would give the Senate the education funding and budget proposals it wants in exchange for a batch of redistricting maps, education policy changes and a tax-cutting bill that is more modest than the one sitting on the governor’s desk.

“The governor thought it was a fair compromise on all the important issues before the legislature,” said Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag

Senate President Steve Morris declined the plan. He said the Senate isn’t comfortable with the tax-cutting proposal because it could tank the state’s budget within a few years. Morris said the courts will likely decide how Kansas political boundaries are redrawn because lawmakers can’t agree on a map.

Brownback’s proposal would provide $77 million in additional education funding, an amount the Senate supports. But in exchange Brownback requested the Senate adopt several policy changes.

The proposal also would have required the Senate to approve a negotiated tax-cutting plan that would reduce individual income tax rates to 3 percent on the first $30,000 of income for married couples and 4.9 percent on earnings beyond that. The plan would have also phased out taxes on nonwage income of thousands of businesses. The proposal also included money for property tax relief.