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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback delivers State of the State address

13 January 2018

She declined further comment on the governor's proposed budget.

In his final State of the State address to the Kansas Legislature Tuesday, Brownback did not specify where the money would come from but said he did not support a tax increase.

He also told lawmakers in his speech, "My proposal does not include a tax increase".

"I think five years is too much", Hensley said. Ty Masterson, a conservative Wichita-area Republican and usual ally of Brownback.

He said his proposed budget would make provisions for the spending.

"The Kansas Supreme Court spoke in October, saying that not enough is being done for our children's schools under the Constitution", Ward said, adding that the Legislature should get to work immediately. Lawmakers have been debating whether the court would accept an increase phased in over multiple years. However, the Senate failed to confirm the governor before the year's end.

The governor's proposed budget also includes extra spending to continue pay raises granted in the fall for officers in the state's stressed prison system, cover gaps in funding for state mental hospitals and raise reimbursements for hospitals and nursing homes providing services to the poor and elderly.

Rep. Melissa Rooker, R-Fairway, said the governor's budget scheme appeared driven by political interests and crafted to "elicit good feelings and applause lines on his way out the door".

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President Trump a year ago named Brownback as "Ambassador for Religious Freedom", but the Senate failed to take up the appointment. The tax measure, coming after years of revenue shortfalls, was seen as a rejection of Brownback's plan to steadily reduce and eventually eliminate the state income tax. He accused them of using the new revenues to finance unnecessary spending.

If Brownback is confirmed by the Senate, he will be replaced as Kansas governor by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Brownback has said he'll have a school funding plan without hinting at the details. Both are the same as previous budget recommendations from the governor.

Brownback said the taxpayers of Kansas should realistically expect the new funding to improve the state's high school graduation rate to 95 percent and raise the portion of students who participate in post-secondary education or join the military to 75 percent.

Sullivan acknowledged Wednesday that nothing in Brownback's budget recommendations is likely to quiet the furor.

Many lawmakers, particularly Republicans, were frustrated by the court's ruling because bipartisan majorities raised income taxes last year by roughly $600 million a year to help balance the budget while providing extra money for schools.

Even Democrats, seeing new funds for schools as desirable, considered Brownback's proposal unworkable.

"We made significant progress in restoring fiscal responsibility to our state", Ward said.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback delivers State of the State address