Governor Kelly Vetoes Costly Tax Cuts Proposals

Governor Laura Kelly today vetoed House Substitute for Senate Bill 37, House Bill 2096, and House Bill 2097.

“I recognize that Kansans desperately need tax relief. I will be working with legislative leaders to come to a compromise, forging a bipartisan tax cuts plan that will responsibly provide tax relief for all Kansans without threatening our state’s future fiscal stability,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Next week, I will be announcing the date of a special legislative session so we can deliver comprehensive, sustainable tax cuts. If we all work together, an affordable, bipartisan tax plan can be passed in less than a day.”

The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her veto of House Substitute for Senate Bill 37, House Bill 2096, and House Bill 2097:

“Kansans need responsible, comprehensive tax relief. As I said in my last veto statement of the Legislature’s nearly identical tax bill, ‘I cannot sign into law a bill that jeopardizes our state’s future fiscal stability.’

“I have given the Legislature several roadmaps to fiscally responsible tax cuts since January. Instead, they played political games with reckless tax policies, and I vetoed them. I said irresponsible tax policies would lead to a special session.

“So here we are. While I applaud the spirit of bipartisanship, this tax cut package, passed at the 11th hour of the last day of the Legislative session, misses the mark. Its proposed cuts and the excessive spending by the Legislature endanger all the progress we’ve made in restoring services for Kansans, funding our public schools, and investing in our infrastructure.

“Additionally, to favor a specific business, a tax abatement scheme was floated to put taxpayer dollars into that business’ pocket at the expense of local government services. That’s wrong. Taxpayer dollars should not be diverted to political donors under the guise of tax cuts.

“Kansans expect us to map a responsible future because we have come a long way, together. Our financial ratings have been upgraded. We have paid down debt. We paid $224 million for new projects in cash, saving Kansans $90 million in interest that would have otherwise accumulated through bonds. Education is being funded. We went from zero to a reasonable rainy-day fund for the inevitable emergencies we will face. Kansas is being noticed for its sense of responsibility. Don’t toss all that.

“The lack of a fiscally responsible tax cut bill jeopardizes other tax policy passed before adjournment, such as legislation to support Kansas’ film and digital media industry. The Legislature cannot overpromise tax cuts without considering the overall cost to the state for future years. We cannot start with our expenses and then look at our income. Families and businesses do not budget like that; neither should Kansas.

“Therefore, pursuant to Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Kansas Constitution, I hereby veto House Substitute for Senate Bill 37, House Bill 2096, and House Bill 2097.”