TOPEKA, Kan. (CN) – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s push to slash income taxes in Kansas to zero is over. In a late night session, the Republican-held Kansas House and Senate voted to overturn the governor’s veto of a budget bill that will increase taxes and roll back the tax exemptions granted to S-corporations and limited liability companies.
The move is stunning in a red state where no Republican wants to put their name to a tax increase. The state budget, faced with higher public education costs, is projected to have a $900 million shortfall in the next two years. In recent years, state lawmakers have made drastic cuts to higher education and state highways, as well as delaying payments into the state employee retirement fund.
On Tuesday, Brownback had made good on a promise to veto the budget that passed both houses in a midnight session.
“Senate Bill 30 is a $1.2 billion tax hike, making it the largest in state history.” the governor. “This is bad for Kansas and bad for the many Kansans who would have more of their hard-earned money taken from them.”
In 2016, a new wave of moderate Republicans were elected into state office, signaling a possible end to the far-right conservative policies that allowed Brownback’s tax policies to flourish. In recent years, however, legislators ran afoul of the Kansas Supreme Court which found that the government was not properly funding its more rural school districts.
The veto override is a historic move for Republicans who have long touted that lower taxes on businesses and those with higher incomes will lead to more job creation and economic growth. Moreover, it’s a significant loss for Brownback, whose lasting legacy died with the override.
State Democrats were jubilant about the change in policy.
“I’m pleased we’ve started the process of restoring our state to fiscal responsibility,” Jim Ward, Democratic House minority leader said in a written statement.
The current session, now in its 110th day is expected to wrap up quickly now with the budget’s passing. Gov. Brownback’s office did not respond to phone inquiries by the time of publication.