Legislative Kickoff Breakfast

Eudora News and Information

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Wednesday morning, there was a Legislative Kickoff Breakfast sponsored by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. This breakfast was held to give Lawrence Chamber members and several legislators that represent Lawrence and the surrounding areas, a chance to meet face to face and discuss matters important to members.  One of the legislators at this forum was Anthony Brown, State Representative of the 38th District in Kansas.

Part one of this story focused on the comments that were made by Brown in reference to Lawrence and KU’s image as perceived by many in the state house.  (Click HERE to read that story.)

Brown, and the other legislators in attendance, was also asked about the budget crisis that the State of Kansas faces. The topic of the one cent sales tax increase that was passed in 2010 came up.  This one cent increase went into effect on July 1, 2010.  It was reported by the Lawrence Journal-World in a story posted on Wednesday that Brown said he would push for repeal of the one cent sales tax increase.

In a one-on-one interview conducted by eudorareporter.com with Brown, we asked if this was an accurate quote. “I said I would be supportive of efforts for it to be repealed, but I do not plan on leading the charge.”

Brown, when asked about what would happen to the state budget if this sales tax is repealed said “The latest numbers I have, is that there is currently a $500 million dollar deficit (in the state budget). If we repeal the sales tax, that number would likely grow to $800 million.”  When asked how do you make up that $300 million and try to get the state budget back on track Brown said “Cutting spending is the only way.” Brown did add that “We have a bigger hole even though we raised taxes last year.  Cutting the budget is the only way that we are not going to be in worse shape.”

One of the larger budgetary issues in the Kansas House and Senate in the last several years has centered on cuts in education spending.  Education cost is approximately 60% of the state budget.

“You can’t leave them off the table” Brown said. “If you don’t include K through 12 and the Regent Schools, you will have to cut every other program in the state. Every piece of the budget is on the table.”

Brown did state that one way to help cut the budget is that “We have to look at every program that’s operated by the state and find all the overlapping ones and eliminate the overlap.”

Brown was unable to state how much of the approximate $6 billion dollar budget would need to be cut and how much education would be affected by those cuts. “It will depend on how much spending we can cut from the overlapping programs.” Brown did say “we have some real tough number crunching to do.”

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Eudora News and Information

www.eudorareporter.com

Wednesday morning, The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce held a Legislative Kickoff Breakfast at Maceli’s Restuarant in Lawrence.  Multiple legislators that represent the various districts in the surrounding area were invited to this breakfast so that Chamber members could express their concerns and talk with their representatives about issues that likely will be coming up in the legislature this spring.

One of the legislators invited was Representative Anthony Brown, State Representative of the 38th District in Kansas which includes the city of Eudora.

Brown, in a story filed by the Lawrence Journal-World, was quoted as saying “KU and Lawrence are not very well-respected.”  Another quote was attributed to Brown about signs in local Lawrence businesses that say “Free Republic of Lawrence” and that he said “This needs to change.”

In a one-on-one interview with eudorareporter.com, Brown said these quotes were not accurate and the context of the question was not stated.  According to Brown, the question was asked how can Lawrence and KU have greater influence in the legislature?  Brown stated his response was “KU and Lawrence and not very well perceived.”  He noted that various perceptions exist and not everyone has the same perspective.   He went on to say that “If you want to change your image”, in regards to the signs noticed in some businesses, “then that’s what needs to change.”

We talked to some of the attendees of the breakfast and they stated that these comments were not even noticed by them when the comments were said.  Ruth Hughs, Eudora City Councilwoman, was one of those in attendance. She said that she was much more interested in Brown’s comments about sales taxes.

Brown also said, on the record, that he does not plan to push for the repeal of the 1 cent sales tax increase that passed in 2010.  Brown said he would “be supportive of efforts for it to be repealed.”

So what happens to the state economy and the state budget if that sales tax is repealed? That’s the feature story Thursday afternoon on Eudorareporter.com

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