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.

Governor Sam Brownback says he will not draw clear lines on what he'll accept from the Kansas Legislature, which is considering rolling back one of his major economic initiatives.

Lawmakers are working to close a projected budget deficit of $406 million dollars for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st.

The House Taxation Committee was working on a plan to raise the state's sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent.

Stephen Koranda

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has met with top GOP leaders as the Kansas Legislature continues its discussions about raising taxes to erase a state budget shortfall.

Brownback had a private session Tuesday morning with Senate President Susan Wagle, House Speaker Ray Merrick and the majority leaders in both chambers.

Their gathering came before the Senate tax committee convened to discuss revenue-raising proposals.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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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The question of what to do to fix a $400 million budget deficit projected for the state of Kansas next fiscal year is fraught with political peril for officeholders, especially if taxes are increased, which is likely.

Kansas says it collected $4.4 million dollars less in taxes than anticipated this month.

The Department of Revenue said on Thursday that the lower-than-expected collections may be due to how tax returns have been processed since the April 15 filing deadline.

Spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said the agency can't predict which returns will be processed first.

The state expected to collect nearly $516 million dollars in taxes for the month. Instead, it collected $511.5 million.