Dems look down ballot as GOP leads top Kan. races

Associated Press Modified: November 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012
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The GOP's biggest targets were four Democratic senators in northeast Kansas — Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, Tom Holland of Baldwin City, Laura Kelly of Topeka and Kelly Kultala of Kansas City.

"I've always felt Kansas is a conservative state, and that's one of the things I've appreciated. It seems the Legislature has become a little bit lax in some areas," said Bret Allen, 46, a Republican banker from Lenexa who voted for Republican Greg Smith in the state Senate race.

Democrats countered by trying to make legislative races a referendum on Brownback and massive income tax cuts enacted this year. Brownback and others who back the cuts contend they'll stimulate the economy.

Janel Bowers, the chief development officer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Topeka, said she's a lifelong Democrat and that she voted for Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly, whom she called a strong supporter of education. She said she's concerned about the consequences of the income tax cuts.

On Tuesday, state officials and university economists issued a new financial forecast predicting the state will collect nearly $705 million less in revenues during the fiscal year that begins in July 2013 than it will during this fiscal year, as massive income tax cuts enacted this year take effect.

Legislative researchers immediately projected a budget shortfall of $328 million, reflecting the gap between anticipated revenues and existing spending commitments for the next fiscal year.

"People do need to be self-sufficient, but the reality is that government exists for a reason," said Bowers, 41. "I think Brownback is reckless."

John Mayhon, the 52-year-old owner of a Topeka insurance agency and a Republican, said criticism of Brownback's tax plan is "almost a scare tactic."

"It hasn't had enough time" so it can work, he said.

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Follow John Hanna on Twitter at www.twitter.com/apjdhanna

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