Kansas House approves tax bill that would raise Brownback tax cuts

Feb 16, 2017

Credit KCUR

  The Kansas House approved a tax bill Wednesday that would raise Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax cuts.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the proposed bill would include an end to a tax cut for roughly 330,000 business owners and generate more than $1 billion over the next two years, according to state estimates.

But Brownback said he won’t sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.

The bill was passed with 83 legislators in favor and 39 against. A final house vote was expected Thursday and then will need to be taken up by the Senate before it could make it the governor’s office.

The more moderate Legislature was expected to push a tax plan through that would help the state with its budget shortfall and Republicans and Democrats alike said Wednesday’s vote sent a strong signal.

Don Hineman, R-Dighton, the Republican House majority leader voted for the bill and said it’s unusual for a tax bill to pass with that many votes.

Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts trimmed income tax rates, did away with the third tax bracket and created the tax exemption for roughly 330,000 business owners.

The state faces more than $750 million in budget shortfalls over the next two years, and the current $320-million-dollar shortfall cannot be closed through the tax increases included in the bill, which would keep the lowest income rate in place, raise the second rate to 5.25 percent and reinstate a third rate of 5.45 percent that covers single filers who make more than $50,000 and joint filers who make more than $100,000.

During a short speech, Brownback said the debate over tax increases is far from over and asked roughly 20 people in the room to talk to lawmakers and take a stand against the bill.

“I don’t want to keep you long because I want you getting out in the hallways and talking with members here about ‘Don’t raise taxes,’” Brownback said.