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The Boys in the Bank
Topeka's Dog Days
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The Kansas Legislature’s latest attempt to pass a budget seemed doomed from the start.
According to the Associated Press, on Thursday 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.

House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey supported the bill and did his best to get more supporters on board Wednesday night.
“It’s tough to vote for a tax increase, but we are in a tough place,” he said in a closing statement. “None of us can comprehend what will happen to our citizens.”

The standoff in Topeka brings to mind the 1975 movie “Dog Day Afternoon,” based on the true story of a failed robbery at a Brooklyn bank. Picture it: The robbers are stuck inside with the bank employees as hostages, and they are completely surrounded. The temperature is rising. There’s no way it can end well.
The shortfall was the logical result of a heist – irresponsible tax cuts – requested by the governor and approved by the Legislature three years earlier. The alarm has been sounding ever since, but the standoff won’t continue forever. Steep budget cuts that virtually no one will be happy with are inevitable without tax increases that virtually no one will enjoy paying. Meanwhile, the temperature is rising ...