Kansas faced the prospect of deep cuts to schools, prisons and other programs Thursday after the Republican-controlled House soundly rejected a proposal supported by Gov. Sam Brownback that would hike sales and cigarette taxes to close a budget deficit.
In past years, legislators backed the GOP governor by slashing personal income taxes in an effort to stimulate the economy, but those policies contributed to a deficit that ballooned this year.
With a constitutional mandate against operating in the red, Brownback's preferred solution got little support this time, even from his own party. The House voted 94-21 against a plan that would generate more than $400 million in revenue over the fiscal year beginning July 1, largely by increasing the state's sales tax from 6.15 percent to 6.55 percent and imposing a 50 cents-per-pack hike on cigarettes.
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