Taxes and funding for public schools were among the topics discussed during a forum featuring state legislators from Leavenworth County.

Taxes and funding for public schools were among the topics discussed during a forum featuring state legislators from Leavenworth County.

The forum was intended as a wrap-up to a series that focused on this year’s legislative session in Topeka. The event, which took place Saturday at the Riverfront Community Center, was organized by the Government Affairs Committee of the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce.

The forum featured state Reps. Jeff Pittman, D-Leavenworth, Debbie Deere, D-Lansing, and Jim Karleskint, R-Tonganoxie, as well as state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth.

Deere noted that she supported a tax plan that ended what she called Gov. Sam Brownback’s experiment. Deere said she believes the tax plan will be a better solution for the state.

The tax plan passed this year with an override of a veto by Brownback. The plan rolls back many 2012 tax cuts that had been championed by the Republican governor.

Pittman said the 2012 tax cuts had gone too far, and this year’s plan was a corrective action.

He argued the new tax plan will bring stability to the state government.

“Stable government brings business to Kansas,” he said.

Fitzgerald, who opposed the new tax plan, argued the other lawmakers who attended the forum were making the case that the Kansas government is doing better because it is taking more money from taxpayers.

He said the 2012 tax cuts were designed to encourage economic growth particularly for small businesses.

He said small businesses are taking a hit with the tax increases enacted under the new plan.

“This is not going to help growth in Kansas,” he said.

Legislators were asked when the Kansas Supreme Court might rule whether a new formula used by the state to fund public schools is constitutional.

Pittman said the state’s highest court operates on its own timetable.

“We don’t have control over the Supreme Court,” he said.

Karleskint said he hopes the justices will be satisfied with the formula that was approved this year.

Fitzgerald said education in Kansas has serious problems. He argued that the new funding formula is too similar to one that had been used by the state for many years.

“We need another look at this,” he said. “We need to get it right.”

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