Kansas Legislature Derails Governor's 'Zero Income Tax State' Vision

The Kansas State Capitol.

The Kansas State Capitol.


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Seattle’s sugary drink tax; Missouri governor’s move to limit funding for sobriety checkpoints; and Philly’s transit limitations.

STATE LEGISLATURES | Kansas legislators successfully made a play to end years of budget deficits with the largest tax increase in state history: $600 million annually. In two years, the increase would erase Kansas’ $900 million revenue shortfall and provide public schools with much-needed funding, but at the expense of Gov. Sam Brownback’s “zero income tax state.” Brownback vetoed the legislative move, but lawmakers overrode the governor's veto. The legislature’s 100-day session ends on Friday. [The Kansas City Star]

California state lawmakers are back at work in Sacramento after a busy week last week where they passed more than 700 bills. Next up are state budget negotiations, including how to best spend more than $1 billion in new revenue from cigarette taxes raised through Proposition 56, which is supposed to be used improve health care. Many state lawmakers want to improve reimbursement rates for doctor, dentists and other providers through Medi-Cal, while Gov. Jerry Brown wants to bring down Medi-Cal’s overall costs. [Capitol Public Radio]

In North Carolina, state senators have introduced legislation to let voters decide whether there should be a state constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to hunt and fish. According to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legal Affairs, there are 21 states that have similar language related to hunting and fishing in their constitutions. [@NCCapitol / WRAL]

CITY HALLS | The Seattle City Council on Monday approved a proposal from Mayor Ed Murray’s administration to tax sugary drinks in order to raise revenue for before- and after-school programs and also to change consumer habits to steer clear of unhealthy, sugary drinks. Diet soda and milky beverages are exempt from the new tax, which would add 21 cents to the cost of a can of soda. But Council member Tim Burgess has warned that the sugary drink tax will likely be targeted by a citizens petition and its implementation may be delayed. [Crosscut; SCC Insights]

City council members in Columbus, Ohio, approved a measure that would codify an executive order from Mayor Andrew Ginther that prohibits the arrest and denial of city services to anyone based on their immigration status. The city code changes don’t declare Columbus asanctuary city,” but they do prohibit the use of city money resources to identify and apprehend anyone based on their immigration status, unless ordered to do so by a court. [The Columbus Dispatch]

GOVERNORS ABROAD | President Xi Jinping of China and California Gov. Jerry Brown met on Tuesday as part of a conference on energy in Beijing. The two men spent 45 minutes discussing efforts to reduce carbon emissions, promote alternative sources of energy and other related issues, along with areas of potential Chinese-Californian cooperation. The meeting is particularly notable given its timing—just five days after President Trump announced his exit from the Paris climate accord—and because Xi does not typically meet with state-level U.S. officials. The U.S. energy secretary, Rick Perry, also attended the conference, but there’s no sign he met with Xi. [The New York Times]

TRANSPORTATION | Less than a quarter of the jobs in the Philadelphia area are accessible within 90 minutes by mass transit—many of those available jobs are in the suburbs and are inaccessible to the urban unemployed. A coalition of advocacy, labor and religious groups want the city council to act to alleviate that problem. The coalition is asking the council to appropriate $750,000 to revive a Commuter Options program that in 2008 provided daily transportation to suburban jobs for roughly 150 city residents. [Philly.com]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | If Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signs off on the budget currently on his desk, all but $1 of the $20 million earmarked for impaired driving detection by saturation patrols will be reallocated. That means police will still be able to set up sobriety checkpoints funneling traffic through blockades in unannounced areas to search for drunk drivers, but they can’t pay for them with state funding. Already some police departments are cancelling planned checkpoints for the summer, a busy time on the roads for vacationers and drunk drivers. [Lake News Online]

Researchers found that police in Oakland, California “showed more respect to white people than to black people” during a traffic stop by analyzing transcribed text from police officers’ body cams. The Stanford University study looked at the 183 hours of footage from body cams of 245 Oakland Police Department officers from 2014 and found “that white community members are 57 percent more likely to hear an officer say one of the most respectful utterances in our dataset, whereas black community members are 60 percent more likely to hear an officer say one of the least respectful...” The researchers believe the study not only can be replicated, but also can serve as a model for using body cameras as “an important source of data, not just evidence.” [Ars Technica]

CAMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS | Madison, Wisconsin Mayor Paul Soglin, a big critic of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, is considering running against him in 2018. Soglin blames Walker for Oscar Mayer closing its headquarters in his city and argues most of the state’s economic growth has occurred in Democratic-leaning Dane County. “He’s an unabashed throwback to the 1960s radical liberal,” Walker said of Soglin. “I’d love to have that battle.” [Wisconsin State Journal]