Gov. Sam Brownback to deliver his final State of the State address

Stephen Koranda  KPR  File

It was Democrats in the Legislature who offered the most upbeat assessment of the governor's support for state investment in K-12 education.

And top Republican legislators were angry because Brownback strongly criticized last year's tax increase, which rolled back past income tax cuts he'd championed in 2012 and 2013 following persistent budget woes. "My proposal does not include a tax increase".

Brownback's administration worked on its budget proposals for weeks, allowing hints to leak to lawmakers early. However, the Senate failed to confirm the governor before the year's end.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning pointed out in a committee meeting that a big chunk of the initial $200 million school spending boost had been approved by lawmakers previous year, meaning the actual growth in funding under Brownback's plan is smaller than claimed.

"I'm really pissed off", Denning said after the governor's speech.

"I think we have a lot of work to do, but I always believe the work is do-able", said State Sen.

"Thankfully we have an improved economy, we have stronger revenue coming in, much higher than we've had the last few years thanks to a strong national economy", explained Sullivan. In fact, he blocked us on every path, and now he's just putting the screws to us for next year. Now is a crucial time for the United States government to act swiftly to fill the position and implement strong policies that will intervene on behalf of religious minorities.

Brownback said last week he will deliver the annual address - not Lt. Gov. Jeff Coyler - despite the fact President Donald Trump nominated Brownback in July for USA ambassador-at-large for global religious freedom.

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The governor said he was proposing goals along with the funding because, "the people of Kansas expect results".

"I like puppies, and I like unicorns, but you know, I don't know what the substance of this proposal actually looks like", she said.

Many lawmakers, particularly Republicans, were frustrated by the court's ruling because bipartisan majorities raised income taxes last year by roughly $600 million a year to help balance the budget while providing extra money for schools.

Ahead of the speech, House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said school funding is the most important issue facing Kansas.

"I'm not sure what the logic is behind it", said state Sen. "I don't think the court will like it".

Watch the Kansas State of the State live in the video player above.

Brownback endorsed a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would recast the state's obligations to public school students.

"Our state is a marvelous place full of beauty and wonder", Brownback said. "To those who can see it, Kansas is truly fantastic". He recalled a conversation with 107-year-old World War I veteran Leo Lange, of Marysville. Brownback said. "It's a good question for us as policymakers".

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