Government

Government
3:07 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Kansas House Committee Votes To Roll Back Business Income Tax Cut

Credit 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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Government
11:37 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Must Finish This Week To Avoid Overtime

Kansas legislators must wrap up their business for the year within a week to avoid having their annual 90-day session go into overtime.

Lawmakers are returning to the Statehouse today without yet having drafted a plan for raising taxes to close a budget shortfall and with a full plate of other issues.

It's 85th day of their annual session. Legislative leaders schedule 90-day sessions each year, though the state constitution doesn't limit the length in odd-numbered years.

The 90th day of the session would be Saturday.

Government
11:34 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Kansas' Broad Marijuana Bill Attracts Bulk Of GOP Votes

Credit Lancerenok / Flickr--Creative Commons

Supporters of a broad bill that would ease marijuana laws that's making its way through the Kansas Legislature claim the bill is a narrow enough set of reforms that conservative Republicans can vote for it.

Supporters also say it demonstrates a shift in a long-running discussion.

The Republican-dominated House passed the bill by a wide margin Thursday.

It would decrease penalties for marijuana possession, launch a study of industrial hemp and legalize the limited production and sale of hemp oil for seizure treatments.

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Government
11:30 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Kansas House Panel To Debate Proposals For Raising Taxes

Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House committee is preparing to debate proposals for raising taxes to erase the budget shortfall.

The Taxation Committee plans to discuss various revenue-raising proposals today. Legislative researchers say lawmakers must eliminate a $422 million deficit in the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Budget problems arose after the Legislature aggressively cut personal income taxes at Gov. Sam Brownback's urging in 2012 and 2013 in an effort to stimulate the economy.

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Government
11:19 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Urban/Rural Divide Mucking Up The Works In Kansas Senate Tax Committee

Credit Stephen Koranda

A divide between rural and urban lawmakers appears to be holding up work in the Senate’s tax committee. The panel has had two meetings where there was little agreement on tax plans. As Stephen Koranda reports, lawmakers are looking for ways to fill a budget gap of more than $400 million.

Senator Jeff Melcher is a Republican from Leawood in Johnson County. He says the Johnson County lawmakers on the tax committee will not support any major tax plans until another issue is settled.

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Government
4:50 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Sedgwick Co. Commission Expected To Delay Decision On Zoo Funding Agreement

Credit Travel KS / Flickr

The Sedgwick County Commissioners are set to vote Wednesday on a resolution that would delay a decision on the future of a funding agreement with the Sedgwick County Zoo.

KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports.

The commissioners and zoo officials met several times in the last month about possible changes to the present five-year funding agreement.

Under the current terms, funding will run until 2018. The county itself was required to notify the zoo that it was considering terminating the current agreement to replace it with a year-to-year plan.

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Government
3:02 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

State House Approves Measure To Loosens Marijuana Laws

Credit TMartin_33 / Flickr

The Kansas House has approved a measure that would decrease penalties for marijuana possession, allow the limited use of medical marijuana and study the use of industrial hemp.

House members voted 81-36 Thursday to send the bill to the Senate for consideration.

First- and second-time marijuana offenders without serious prior convictions would avoid jail time under the bill. That would decrease the population in the state's overcrowded prisons and save more than $1.7 million over the next two fiscal years, according to state estimates.

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Government
2:48 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Kansas House Committee Considers Rolling Back Business Tax Cut

Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House Committee is looking at rolling back a key part of the 2012 tax cut. It's specifically aimed at the tax break that allows more than 300,000 business owners to pay zero income tax on their business income. The goal of the tax break is boosting the economy. Republican Representative Mark Hutton says the tax cut for businesses isn't paying off.

“The individual tax savings are not significant enough to spur employment growth or lure companies to our state, yet it’s costing our state over $200 million,” says Hutton.

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Government
2:04 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Kansas House Committee Considering Sales Tax Hike

Credit Stephen Koranda

The House Tax Committee is considering a plan to raise the sales tax in Kansas to help fill a budget hole. During a hearing on Wednesday, no one spoke in favor of the plan and only one person signed up to speak against the bill. The Kansas Policy Institute opposes the tax increase and says lawmakers should instead consider more budget cuts.

The committee’s chairman, Republican Marvin Kleeb, says raising the state sales tax from 6.15 to 6.5 percent would provide a quicker infusion of cash.

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Government
11:50 am
Mon May 4, 2015

KanCare Has Lacked An Inspector General For Almost A Year

The job of inspector general for the state's managed care Medicaid program has been open for nearly a year.

The post has been empty since Phil Hermanson resigned in June 2014, just months after he was hired to lead KanCare, an umbrella program for three private managed health care companies.

The lack of a leader for the $3 billion program has drawn attention from lawmakers.

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