taxes

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.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Stephen Koranda

The chairman of the House Tax Committee believes lawmakers will need to rely mostly on taxes to fill a hole in the Kansas budget. The state faces a $400 million shortfall next fiscal year. Republican Representative Marvin Kleeb says they’re hoping to avoid cuts to K-12 education, which accounts for half the state budget.

“I don’t think there’s a tremendous amount of expenditure improvement that can happen. We held schools harmless and I think a lot of us feel we made a promise to schools to keep that block grant funding stable for the next two years,” says Kleeb.

Stephen Koranda

A group of state officials and economists will meet on Monday to put together a new estimate of Kansas tax collections.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the information is critical for lawmakers as they build the state budget.

Kansas legislators decided to wait to do the final work on the budget until after their spring break.

Stephen Koranda / File Photo

Twenty-four hours in politics is like a year in ordinary life, when surprising and unexpected happenings occur.

Governor Brownback asserted in his State of the State speech that the “march to zero” on income taxes would continue in Kansas. Twenty-four hours later, the administration announced that this “march” would be slowed.

Two new tax proposals were also announced. One is a 300 percent increase on a pack of cigarettes, from 79 cents to $2.29. The other raises the tax on liquor from eight percent to 12 percent.

A group meeting on Monday will update estimates for Kansas tax collections. The revenue predictions let lawmakers know how much money they have to spend as they write the state budget. Stephen Koranda reports...

The Kansas Consensus Revenue Estimating Group is made up of members of the governor's administration, non-partisan legislative researchers and economists from universities in Kansas. They meet twice per year.

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