Governors Cover Taxes, Education in Speeches

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.