Tax bill could undercut school finance plan


State News

March 15, 2019 - 3:57 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican legislators in Kansas helped advance Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to boost funding for public schools Thursday before sending her an income tax relief bill that could make it harder for the state to sustain the new spending.

The GOP-controlled Senate voted 32-8 to approve Kelly’s proposed education funding increase of roughly $90 million a year, sending the plan to the House. Top Republican senators backed the plan as the most straight-forward fix, putting them at odds with conservatives who want new money tied to policy changes , including a voucher program to allow bullied students to move to new schools, public or private.

Kelly’s plan is designed to satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court order last year requiring legislators to increase the state’s education funding, currently at more than $4 billion a year. Attorneys for four local school districts that sued the state in 2010 are pressing for a larger increase and Democrats who voted as a bloc for Kelly’s plan Thursday had supported the districts. Top Republicans argue that even Kelly’s plan would be a financial stretch.

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