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Topic: Brownback tax experiment

Interview of Don Hineman, August 20, 2020

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Representative Don Hineman describes himself as a centrist Republican whose views were shaped by his service as a local elected official. In the interview he talks about the legislative process and his experience on the Federal and State Affairs committee passing a bill to designate the state fossil and why that was important to some of his young constituents. Hineman discusses the state's fiscal difficulties under Governor Sam Brownback and his efforts to work with House Democrat Bill Feuerborn to pass a sales tax increase, and then to override the gubernatorial veto. Hineman illustrates how the use Show Moreof power by legislative leadership can block something that the public wants using the issue of Medicaid Expansion. He concludes by talking about the decline of civility in the legislative process. Show Less
Kansas House Speaker Robin Jennison

Interview of Robin Jennison, October 4, 2019

Interviewed by Jim McLean
Jim McLean’s interview of Robin Jennison is lengthy but full of interesting stories and anecdotes about what went on in the legislature in the last decade of the 20th Century. McLean teases out both the politics and policy from Jennison’s experiences in the House with the 1992 school finance bill and his Republican alternative. Jennison shares his philosophy on how to fund schools, lower property taxes, leadership races and his rapid rise to Speaker in the 1999-2000 sessions. The strategy he used to pass the 1999 transportation bill out of the House is clever. There is Show Morean anecdote about replacing carpet in the Judicial Center and what it took to get that appropriation passed. Jennison describes his role as Secretary of Wildlife and Parks and working under Governor Brownback. Show Less
steve morris kansas senate

Interview of Stephen Morris, July 15, 2020

Interviewed by Joan Wagnon
Senate President Steve Morris gives a lengthy and detailed account of his twenty years in the Senate and his eight years as president. A former Hugoton school board member, Morris challenged a 16 year incumbent Democrat (Leroy Hayden) and won by a 2:1 margin in the 1992 election. During this period there were several high profile issues which Morris championed. Casino gambling passed in 2007 after a 12 hour filibuster. A coal-fired plant (Sunflower Electric) in Holcomb wanted to expand but Governor Sebelius vetoed that bill, twice. The Special Session of 2005 dealt with a Show MoreSupreme Court order to increase education funding to constitutional levels which took 12 days to develop a consensus. A 2010 transportation plan was passed during a recession. Morris initiated a three-university plan to increase the number of engineers in the state by 65 percent beginning in 2011, assisted by Senator Carolyn McGinn. Governor Sam Brownback's "tax experiment" which was passed in 2012 took huge amounts out of the transportation plan to close budget gaps. The interview contains a detailed account of the shenanigans that took place after the Senate refused to pass the Brownback bill. The Governor pleaded with Morris to reverse their action and send the bill to conference, which Morris did, only to find the House concurring to pass the original bill. Morris ran again, but was defeated in a Republican primary. Show Less

Interview of Mike O'Neal, April 16, 2021

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Former Speaker Mike O'Neal's interview covers his 28 years in the Kansas House and his impact as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee on the Kansas legal system, both criminal and civil. In fact, O'Neal chaired the House Judiciary Committee three different times totaling 13 years and also served as Chairman of the House Education Committee and a redistricting committee in 2002. He has been involved with workers compensation issues and medical malpractice. O'Neal explains his own evolution in thinking as he, and his constituents, became more conservative. He candidly discusses his race for Speaker of the Show MoreHouse and compares the leadership styles of other speakers with whom he served. O'Neal left the House in 2012 after finishing his second term as Speaker to take a position with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce as its chief executive officer. After four years with the Kansas Chamber he retired to open his own legal consulting and governmental relations firm, O'Neal Consulting, LLC. Show Less
Interview of Jayne Aylward

Interview of Jayne Aylward, June 18, 2021

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Jayne Aylward Oral History Interview describes her experiences as one of the youngest members of the Kansas House of Representatives. Aylward was elected in 1978 from the 74th District in Saline County, Kansas. She served from 1979 to 1990 when she resigned to become an administrative tax judge with the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals. She later became a Certified Public Accountant specializing in tax matters. Aylward is a rancher and stockwoman in addition to having a thriving tax practice in Salina. During the interview she discusses her interest in agriculture and taxation which came Show Morefrom growing up on her family farm and her participation in 4-H showing cattle. During the 1985-1986 legislative session, she was the Chair of the House Communications, Computers and Technology Committee. She also served on the House Federal and State Affairs committee and the House Taxation committee, both of which handled high-profile issues that she discussed in the interview, including reappraisal and classification of property taxes and a constitutional amendment authorizing the Kansas lottery. Show Less

Interview Series of Don Hill by Janice Huston, Spring, 2017

Interviewed by Janice Huston
In a wide-ranging series of interviews conducted by Jan Huston of the Lyon County Historical Society, former Representative Don Hill talks candidly about his experiences over 14 years of service to the 60th district in the Kansas Legislature (2003-2016). During those 14 sessions Hill experienced a sea-change in legislative culture as well as a profound shift in political philosophy among its leaders. Hill worked closely with three governors - Sebelius, Parkinson, Brownback--and several Speakers of the House. His interviews reveal the intricacies of creating public policy and making change happen. For students of Kansas government, this Show Moreset of interviews is invaluable to understanding the shifts in leadership which occurred during this period, as well as policy failures and successes with tough issues such as Medicaid expansion, a 10-year highway plan, and expansion of a coal-fired plant in the Garden City area. Show Less

Interview of Paul Feleciano, February 11, 2022

Interviewed by Eric Sexton
Paul Feleciano served from 1972 until 2003 in the Kansas Legislature, primarily in the state Senate. During his 31 year tenure he has served on almost every committee. His interview discusses a wide range of issues including groundwater management, mental health reform, changes in the penal system, but his descriptions of the personalities of Senate leadership make that era come alive. He characterizes the men and women serving in the 1970's and 80's as giants --articulate, caring, compassionate problem solvers who would work "across the aisles" to make things happen. As the legislature moved into Show Morethe 21st Century, Feleciano notes the split in the Republican Party between conservatives and moderates became a real problem because the impact was, "they didn't want to compromise." After leaving the legislature, Feleciano was appointed to the Kansas Parole Board and served there for six years. Show Less

Interview of Jim Denning, April 13, 2023

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Jim Denning served four years as Majority Leader for the Kansas Senate. His interview reveals his Western Kansas leanings, despite having worked, lived and represented Johnson County. HIs legislative interests included health care policy, funding KPERS and school finance. He described Senate Bill 9--KU Cancer designation--as one of his important contributions. Denning found that Governor Brownback’s tax plan was creating problems for Kansas – “too deep and unsustainable.” His philosophy was, "At the end of the day, you have to govern." Throughout his tenure in the Senate, Medicaid expansion was a pressing issue, but Show Morehe didn’t like the way the bills were constructed, so he developed a Republican alternative that he thought would be a model for the country. His interview details how he kept the Democratic alternative from passing, but his own bill was caught up in abortion politics and failed to pass. Denning led the Senate during 3 special sessions: school finance, COVID and repealing the Brownback tax plan. Historians will love this interview because of his candor and his position at a pivotal time in the legislature's history. Show Less

Interview of Richard Carlson, February 9, 2024

Interviewed by Chris Courtwright
Richard Carlson held several important positions in Kansas government --Secretary of Transportation, Chair of the House Taxation Committee, County Commissioner of Pottawatomie County--in addition to being a farmer/cattleman, banker, businessman. In his interview he speaks candidly about his efforts as Tax Chairman to pass and implement Governor Brownback's tax plan of 2012. He acknowledges the plan as finally passed was "unsustainable." In 2016 Governor Brownback appointed Carlson as Secretary of Transportation. His 2-3 years as head of that agency saw a lot of progress in implementing various transportation projects around the state.

Interview of Bruce Larkin, April 12, 2024

Interviewed by Chris Courtwright
Larkin's interview focuses extensively on his involvement with tax issues during his 20-year tenure in the legislature, and after, at the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA). He tells lots of funny stories in the interview, particularly about legislative strategy. Larkin got interested in the legislature because of the American Agriculture movement in the mid-1980's. He joined the Department of Revenue's Use Value Advisory Group at a time when appraising farm ground was difficult. Larkin was a small family farmer who farmed ground that his great grandfather had bought in 1878. Larkin was also interested in education; Show Moreparticularly how small rural communities were faring under the school finance formula. But his consistent interest was in taxation. He was involved in almost every tax issue that surfaced during his 20-year involvement with the legislature, and afterward, as a staff member at the Kansas Department of Revenue or on the Court of Tax Appeal as a judge or as Chief Judge. His discussion of issues surrounding classification and appraisal is very informative. He described changes in the use value appraisal of agricultural land. Interviews with many of the people mentioned in this interview can be found on this website by using the Search box, or by going to the Statehouse Conversations Collection. Show Less
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