TOPEKA (KSNT) — 15-days into the legislative overtime, and just over two-days from state furloughs. Kansas lawmakers Thursday night rejected the first serious revenue plan presented to them.
Wednesday they were praising a two-year budget being passed by the House, Thursday that same body overwhelmingly defeated a way to pay for that budget.
Thursday’s move by the House comes down to one simple fact. The republicans, which overwhelmingly control both the House and Senate, can’t agree on where to raise more than $400 million to cover their budget.
“This will be the second weekend we’ve worked through the entire weekend, and I’m hoping we can arrive at it this weekend,” Senate President Susan Wagle said.
Furloughs for thousands of state employees starting Sunday are looking more and more likely.
Thursday the House shot down the Joint Tax Committees plan in a 108-to-3 vote.
With only 28 democratic votes in the House, it’s clear even republicans don’t like the tax hike plan that’s come out of the Senate.
“Everybody comes from different backgrounds a different experience, a different district. Some of them are urban, some the then are rural. So it takes a long time for them to come to a consensus and an agreement,” said Wagle.
With democrats out-numbered in both chambers, why can’t the state’s leading party come together?
It’s hard to get a specific answer.
“It seems to be very difficult right now, but when it comes together our first goal, primary goal is to do it right and do it well,” said Rep. Jene Vickrey, House Minority Leader.
Kansas democrats have no problem saying who’s at fault. Senate Minority Leader, Anthony Hensley describes this session as “dysfunctional” and “disgraceful.”
“Instead of debating a $400 million shortfall in our state’s budget, and how to pay for it, the Senate’s agenda today is to debate conference committee reports on scrap metal and deer antlers. The people of Kansas deserve much better than this,” said Hensley.
Republican leaders say they will reach a compromise.
“It’s very careful how we adjust tax policies because it does affect our citizens, and that is our first goal is to represent and work for Kansas well,” said Vickrey.
It’s back to the drawing board for that Joint Tax Committee. It’s made of three members from the House, and three from the Senate. They’ll try to find a new plan Friday morning at eleven.