Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

House action leaves TABOR dead this year

March 2, 2006

— Several months ago, TABOR, the so-called Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, was riding high in the political winds.

Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, a TABOR leader, took a 23-city bus tour along with other supporters in September to get the message out.

While there were some protesters, the overwhelming majority of people who heard what TABOR was supported it, she said.

But on Friday, House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, a co-sponsor of the measure, said the issue was essentially dead for the 2006 legislative session.

"We certainly heard from the public sector and the private sector, too," Mays said. "There was considerable amount of rejection of TABOR to the point that I'm not picking up much appetite among House members, Republican or Democrat, to talk about the bill this year."

The comments prompted immediate criticism from TABOR backers.

Alan Cobb, state director of Americans for Prosperity, which is pushing for TABOR, issued a news release that said: "Right now, Speaker Mays is part of the problem when it comes to taxes and spending."

Landwehr said she had asked for a meeting with Mays this week to determine what the problem is.

"I don't know where the speaker is coming from," Landwehr said.

TABOR is a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voter approval of state tax increases, limit state spending increases to the inflation rate and refund taxes above that amount. To be adopted, the amendment would need two-thirds approval in the state House and Senate, and then be OK'd by voters in a statewide election.

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