Gov. Laura Kelly attracted criticism Tuesday from a Wichita free-market organization skeptical that members of the governor's new reform council would advance ideas for a more fiscally responsible system of state and local taxation.

The council created by executive order by the Democratic governor was assigned responsibility for a comprehensive study of tax policy and for making recommendations to lawmakers within 18 months. The council convenes for the first time Sept. 24 at the Capitol.

"I expect the bipartisan council to deliver sound strategies and reforms that reflect my desire to keep the state tax burden as low as possible, benefiting all Kansans," Kelly said.

She said the council should recognize the fairness and sustainability of balancing income, sales and property taxes.

Dave Trabert, president of Kansas Policy Institute, said the council would reflect interests of people fond of higher taxes.

"Governor Kelly has appointed people who will recommend what she wants: Higher taxes to support even more government spending," Trabert said. "Instead of suggesting opportunities to cut taxes for everyone in Kansas, we can look forward to political justifications for higher taxes from Kelly’s commission."

Trabert, who lobbies on tax and spending issues most often aligned with GOP interests, said eight appointees were affiliated with entities that "profit from government spending."

He castigated a pair of commission members. He denounced former Senate President Steve Morris, a Republican, and Duane Goossen, a state budget director for GOP and Democratic governors, including Kelly.

Kelly chose former state Sens. Janis Lee, a Democrat from Kensington, and Morris, of Hugoton, as co-chairs for the Council on Tax Reform. Both served more than 20 years in the Senate. Lee was a hearing officer for the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals, while Morris was the Senate's president for eight years.

"Steve and Janis understand how important it is to ensure that our tax code supports public investment in areas such as education, public safety and infrastructure needed to help Kansas prosper," Kelly said.

She invited the Legislature's top Republicans and Democrats to be part of a 21-member council. It isn't clear whether Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican running for U.S. Senate, and House Speaker Ron Ryckman, a Johnson County Republican, will participate. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, of Wichita, were expected to accept invitations to the council.

Kelly devoted much of her campaign for governor to a critique of Gov. Sam Brownback's signing of a bill in 2012 eliminating income tax on 330,000 business owners and lowering personal income tax rates. Until repealed in 2017, Brownback's tax policy drove revenue shortfalls, budget cuts, increased debt and lower credit ratings.

"While Kansas continues to recover from the tax experiment of the prior administration, there’s a need for tax reform designed with adequacy, equity and stability in mind," Kelly said.

She asked the council to address issues raised in the 2019 legislative session, including how Kansas could respond to change in federal tax law. She said the state's 6.5% sales tax on groceries and issues related to local property taxes would be on the agenda. The panel was urged to determine what part of future tax revenue might be used to lower the tax burden.

The council plans to meet Sept. 24-25, Oct. 15-16, Nov. 14 and Dec. 3-4 before drafting of an interim report for the 2020 Legislature. The final document will go to the 2021 Legislature.

In addition to Lee, Morris and Goossen, the council includes Joe Grisolano, Pittsburg, Crawford County treasurer; Shannon Kimball, Lawrence, president of Kansas Association of School Boards; Anthony Swartzendruber, Hesston, Harvey County administrator; Susan Sherman, Olathe, assistant city manager of Olathe; Dennis Hays, Kansas City, Kan., former administrator for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County; Larry Weians, Lenexa, vice president of finance for Sprint; Lon Frahm, Colby, CEO of Frahm Farmland; Carl Brewer, Wichita, retired operations manager at Spirit AeroSystems and former mayor of Wichita; Audrey Langworthy, Prairie Village, former senator; John Wilson, Lawrence, Kansas Action for Children vice president and former House member; Kelly's budget director; and Cabinet secretaries of revenue, commerce and transportation.