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Kansas Lawmakers OK Medicaid Plan, Stall on Taxes

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican House members have helped kill a bill that could have created a Medicaid legislative oversight panel.

House members voted 69-54 Thursday to return a bill that could have created the oversight panel to the House Appropriations Committee.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, R, wants to expand use of Medicaid managed care programs; critics argue that Brownback is moving too fast.

In related news, Kansas lawmakers have decided to wait until late April, when they return from their annual spring break, to come up with a final version of tax-cutting legislation.

House and Senate negotiators suspended talks Thursday on working out their chambers’ differences on bills reducing individual income taxes and eliminating the income tax for some businesses. They also remain divided on cutting the sales tax.

Legislators won’t be able to complete work on a $14.1 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 without deciding how much to cut taxes.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is pushing the GOP-controlled Legislature to overhaul the individual income tax code, cut the state’s top income tax rates and eliminate income taxes for 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses.

Both chambers have alternative proposals for cutting top tax rates and helping businesses, and they differ on Brownback’s proposals for eliminating tax credits and deductions.

The two chambers also have approved different proposals for reducing sales taxes, and they’ve passed bills aimed at controlling property taxes.

“There are many, many moving parts,” said Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita.

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