GOP Lays Out Legislative Agenda

Money matters top the agenda for Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives.

The group outlined its priorities Wednesday. They include limiting the state's power to issue bonds, suspending the Statehouse restoration project and a back to school sales tax holiday.

They say their plan is to make government run more efficiently and encourage economic growth.

"Our priority is the budget, the budget, the budget," said House Speaker Mike O'Neal. "Everything we do that gets us back on track is a priority."

The House GOP is also backing an energy policy that includes encouraging renewable energy, but also includes two coal-fired plants in southwest Kansas. O'Neal calls the Governor's opposition to them "extreme."

Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, says the GOP energy policy is a compromise that includes solutions for immediate power needs, protecting how much it might cost Kansans.

GOP leaders also criticized the Governor's proposals for cloing a budget shortfall.

Among policies to which they object - capturing fees imposed by agencies on people and businesses they regulate, so those dollars can be diverted to general government programs and phasing out estate and corporate franchise taxes by 2011. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius wants to call it off, to save the state $19 million in fiscal 2010.

She and legislators must close a projected $186 million budget deficit by June 30 and deal with worse problems in fiscal 2010.

O'Neal says the GOP is also concerned with moves to cut funding for cities and counties. He says it could force them to increase local taxes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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