Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

The Kansas House had been planning to debate a tax bill Thursday, but dissatisfied members of the chamber were able to stop the debate before it even started. The bill failed to get the two-thirds vote needed to be brought up for debate. It appears conservative Republicans and a small number of Democrats were able to block the discussion.

House Republican Majority Leader Jene Vickrey says the bill will be back on the agenda Friday.

 

Stephen Koranda

After the first week of June, Kansas state employees could be furloughed if there isn’t a budget in place for the coming fiscal year. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s administration has said they are working on plans to do that.

 

While his office is considering options, Governor Brownback says they have some flexibility on when Kansas state workers would be sent home without pay. Brownback says he’ll be pushing for lawmakers to avoid furloughs.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate spent hours yesterday debating a tax plan and eventually there was agreement: Virtually everyone in the chamber agreed that they did not like the bill. The plan failed with 30 votes against it and only one in favor. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports on the proposal, which would have raised a variety of taxes to fill a budget hole.

 

The Kansas Senate has spent today debating a bill that would raise taxes to close a projected budget shortfall.

The work started with Republican Sen. Dennis Pyle moving to kill the tax bill, saying increasing taxes is not the way to fix the state’s budget. He wants lawmakers to look for more budget cuts.

“By not raising taxes, you’re going to empower the private sector," Pyle says. "Or are you going to empower big government, are you going to empower more government consumption?”

Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers return to Topeka Tuesday after a four-day weekend. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’ll have to wrap up tax and budget issues before they can end the session.

Lawmakers can’t leave until they balance the budget. They seem to be leaning towards a tax increase following tax cuts in recent years, but there’s still division among lawmakers over what kinds of taxes should be increased.

The Senate will take up their first tax proposal this week, after abruptly canceling a debate on a bill last week and then leaving town for the holiday.

Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Legislature has approved a compromise with the ride-hailing service Uber that should bring the company back to Kansas. As Stephen Koranda reports, the bill is now headed to Governor Sam Brownback for consideration.

Both chambers in the Kansas Legislature easily passed the compromise, which adds background checks for drivers and insurance requirements.

Some lawmakers say similar laws could appear around the country.

Stephen Koranda

House lawmakers are going back to the drawing board on Monday after the chamber roundly rejected a tax proposal last week. The bill they rejected would have mostly relied on a sales tax increase to fill a budget hole of more than $400 million. Statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda explains...

KPR

Lawmakers in Kansas have unveiled a compromise with the ride-hailing service Uber that they say will bring the company back to the state. The bill includes background checks and insurance rules for drivers. As Statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda explains, Uber previously pulled out of Kansas.

Republican state Representative Scott Schwab says it is a relief to reach an agreement. “There’s a cult following with Uber that they’ve been able to create,” says Schwab.

Stephen Koranda

There’s a new tax plan headed for debate in the Kansas House. A legislative committee has advanced a proposal that would focus on sales taxes to fill a budget hole of more than $400 million. Statehouse Reporter Stephen Koranda has more.

The bill relies mostly on increasing the Kansas sales tax rate from 6.15 percent to 6.85 percent. It also reduces or eliminates most tax deductions. Republican Representative Kasha Kelley, one of the plan’s authors, would prefer more spending cuts but says sales tax is another option.

Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House committee has voted to undo part of the tax cuts that Governor Sam Brownback pushed.

The committee voted to reinstate some business income taxes, which were completely eliminated by the 2012 tax cut.

The bill would raise nearly $134 million during the next fiscal year.

The state would impose a 2.7 percent tax on most of the business owners' and farmers' profits, but income from rents and royalties would be taxed at 4.6 percent - mirroring the two income tax rates on wages.

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