Governors Cover Taxes, Education in Speeches

By: - January 16, 2014 12:00 am

Governors in Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska and Rhode Island delivered their annual State of the State addresses Wednesday, touching on tax cuts, education funding, Internet sales taxes and Medicaid.

  • In Nebraska, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman devoted most his final address to a call for lower taxes. He was not specific, simply asking for $370 million to $500 million in cuts.  Last year, the legislature rejected his specific tax cut proposals.
  • Georgia’s Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, pledged to keep the state’s tax burden low, saying “we will not allow ourselves to be coerced” into Medicaid expansion. He also proposed a nearly $547 million increase in state education funding to help the state’s school districts meet a state minimum of 180 school days.
  • Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, delivered a stern message to the courts about who bankrolls education in Kansas — the legislature does.  “This is the people’s business, done by the people’s house through the wonderfully untidy — but open for all to see — business of appropriations,” Brownback said. In the audience were members of the Kansas Supreme Court, which could rule any day on a lawsuit seeking $600 million in added state funding for local school districts.
  • For his final address, Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island focused on familiar themes, including education, which he called a “great equalizer,” and infrastructure.  He said his $8.5 billion budget provides an additional $38 million for schools. He also said he would reduce the state’s corporate income tax from 9 percent to 6 percent if Congress approves the Marketplace Fairness Act for Internet sales taxes.

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Elaine S. Povich
Elaine S. Povich

Elaine S. Povich covers education and consumer affairs for Stateline. Povich has reported for Newsday, the Chicago Tribune and United Press International.