Still cleaning up the mess left behind by former Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republicans are staring down an April 30 deadline set by the Kansas Supreme Court to determine how the state will fund education.
But rather than work out those details, some Republican legislators are pushing for another tax break for businesses.
Some lawmakers are focusing on the easy stuff first by pushing for a $21 million tax cut for businesses.
They advanced a measure that restores a tax break for small businesses even though it's widely believed the state will need that money to address the school funding order.
The break would enable owners of LLCs to claim a deduction for their investments in machinery and equipment placed into service in the state. Kansas corporations can claim a similar deduction. But the one for LLCs wasn't restored last year when lawmakers did away with Brownback's tax cuts.
Republican Sen. Caryn Tyson, the measure's chief supporter, is running for the 2nd District congressional seat soon to be relinquished by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, leading to speculation that Tyson is looking for an election-season boost.
But not all Republicans are on board with the idea:
"I support local business, but it is not the right time to be cutting taxes," state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican, said during debate. "We do not yet know what our revenues will be, what will be required to settle the Gannon school funding case and what our budget needs to be for 2019."
Regardless if the tax cuts pass, Kansas lawmakers will have to determine a way out of their education funding predicament, and the court will hold them to account.
The court's message is unmistakable: Lawmakers must fund schools, even at the expense of tax cuts. Schools come first. Lawmakers need to embrace that reality.