taxes

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers are wrestling with a budget deficit and looking at a wide range of tax proposals to help cover the shortfall. A House committee considered the merits of a flat tax Monday, but the bills don’t seem to have much support.

The plans would eliminate tax brackets, so there would only be one Kansas income tax rate. One bill would set that at 3.9 percent, the other at 5 percent.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

At a time when lawmakers are considering tax increases to help balance the budget, a proposal in the Kansas Senate would make it more difficult to raise taxes.

The proposed constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds vote by lawmakers for any tax increase, and it would cap state spending and revenue growth. To overcome that cap would require a public vote.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson says the public should have more say when it comes to tax increases.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Editor's note: This post was updated at 5:18 p.m.

Kansas tax receipts came in about $37 million above estimates in February, chipping away at the state’s budget deficit.

The Kansas Budget Office on Wednesday reported about $331.5 million in tax receipts for the month, which was about 13 percent higher than projected revenue. Tax revenues were up about 9 percent compared to February 2016.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

A tax and budget debate fizzled in the Kansas Senate Thursday, before it had even started. As Stephen Koranda reports, the situation reveals just how divided lawmakers have become as they work to solve the state's budget crisis.

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 / KPR/File photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released on Wednesday a wide-ranging plan for fixing the state’s budget shortfall. It would take money from the highway fund, raise some taxes and overhaul the funding system for children’s programs. It would also take longer to pay off a shortfall in the state's pension plan, KPERS.

Jim McLean, of the Kansas News Service, spoke with Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda about the budget plan and how lawmakers are reacting.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is proposing hiking tobacco and alcohol taxes and shifting money from other parts of the budget to balance the state’s finances. The proposal would take money from the state highway fund and delay the payoff date for a deficit in the state pension plan.

Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, outlined the proposed budget during a committee meeting Wednesday morning. He said they’ve submitted a reasonable proposal.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out new policy proposals and budget plans during his State of the State address Tuesday. Even though Kansas faces a budget deficit adding up to almost a billion dollars by next year, the governor began his speech by showcasing some of the state's strong points. KPR's Stephen Koranda reports.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers wasted no time getting down to business on the first day of the 2017 legislative session. House tax committee members met and introduced their first tax proposal Monday afternoon.

The bill would repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 Kansas businesses to help balance the state budget in the face of a deficit. Republican Steven Johnson, the committee’s chairman, said they’ll also be considering other ideas.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

For the last two months, Kansas has met its state tax collection targets. That hasn’t happened for quite some time. Some state officials think it might be the start of a trend, while others aren’t so sure.

After the state lowered its revenue estimate, Kansas met the new forecast for November and December. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning told the Topeka Capital- Journal that he thinks Kansas now has a handle on the revenue numbers and will be consistently hitting them.

Gov. Sam Brownback says he sees some positive signs, but he isn’t as upbeat as Denning.

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