Kansas tax plan

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Senate has approved a big tax increase to help balance the budget. That marks a potential roll back of much of Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy.

The House had previously approved the bill. The 22-18 Senate vote sends the plan to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, where it could face a veto.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House has approved a bill that would undo many of the tax cuts passed in 2012. The 76-48 vote sends the plan to the Senate. The measure raises income tax rates and reinstates income taxes on hundreds of thousands of business owners. The chairman of the House tax committee, Republican Steven Johnson, says they have to balance tax cuts and funding government services.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

While one tax plan stalls in the Kansas Senate, another tax proposal makes headway in the Kansas House.

Thursday, the House tax committee advanced a bill that would eliminate an income tax exemption for business owners. It would also add a third income tax bracket and raise income tax rates.

Some Republicans say the income tax hikes are too steep for them to support. Others, like Republican Representative Melissa Rooker, say it would help with the state’s finances.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

A Kansas Senate committee has advanced a bill that would repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 business owners. That sends the proposal to the full Senate for consideration. The plan would also increase income tax rates overall.

Republican Sen. Julia Lynn supported the measure because she said the Legislature needs to make some progress on tax issues.

“This is a situation that has been floundering for four years. Although it might not be the best bill that’s put forward, it’s the beginning of a process,” Lynn said.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A Kansas Senate committee started discussions on a bill Monday that would repeal a key piece of the 2012 tax cuts and raise personal income tax rates. A committee vote on the plan could come as soon as Tuesday.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Lawmakers in the Kansas House are making fast progress on a tax bill. Last week was only the second week of the session, but a House committee held hearings on a plan that would repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 businesses.

Many lawmakers want to consider that option, but it’s not yet clear if they might pursue that by itself, or include other tax policies in the same bill. Democratic Sen. Anthony Hensley wants to see a larger plan put together.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers might try to increase taxes next year as one way to solve the state's budget woes, but that could be too little, too late for the immediate budget challenge.

The state faces a $350 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year, which ends in June. Undoing tax cuts and implementing tax increases would help eliminate a budget shortfall for next fiscal year, but generally would not help out in the current fiscal year.

Washburn University Political Science Professor Bob Beatty says that’s what makes this such a tough challenge.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Groups representing Kansas teachers, state workers, contractors and others are proposing a tax overhaul they say would solve the state’s budget problems. The plan would undo some tax cuts made in recent years by raising the top income tax rate. It would also reinstate income taxes on hundreds of thousands of businesses.

Former Kansas Budget Director Duane Goossen and others revealed the tax plan Wednesday in Topeka. He says the tax cuts have hurt the state’s ability to invest in needed services and the proposal would reverse that.

The state Department of Revenue reported on Tuesday that its tax collections fell $21 million dollars short of expectations in September.

The Department said corporate income tax collections exceeded expectations, $86.5 million dollars in corporate tax collections in September, 33 percent more than the predicted $65 million.

Even with the corporate taxes, the state collected $521 million dollars in taxes for September, 4 percent less than the $542 million it had anticipated.

The chair of the Kansas House Tax Committee is responding to some Democrats' claims about the tax plan passed by the Legislature last weekend.

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