TOPEKA (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a tax proposal from the Kansas Legislature, which would have created a 5.15% flat income tax and sped up the state sales tax elimination on food to January 2024.

The governor announced her veto of the proposal, Senate Bill 169, on Monday at Elmont Elementary School in Topeka. Opponents of the legislation argue that the amount of tax cuts in the package would have been devastating for Kansas schools. 

Instead, the governor has proposed a new, one-time tax rebate plan. It would include a tax rebate of $450 for individuals and $900 for people filing married or jointly.

Governor Kelly said her plan would cost about $800 million. She said this is less than the legislature’s proposal, which would have cost more than $1.3 billion over three years.

John Wilson, President and CEO of Kansas Action for Children, released the following statement regarding Governor Kelly’s veto of House Sub. for SB 169 – the flat tax bill.

“Any bill that gives a majority of its tax cuts to the wealthiest Kansans deserves to be vetoed. House Sub. for SB 169 is a flat tax scheme that would eventually destabilize Kansas’ budget and make it difficult to invest in critical areas like child care, special education, public health, and infrastructure,” Wilson said. “This bill would have overwhelmingly benefitted those with the highest incomes while providing little tax relief to low- and middle-income families, who need the legislature’s support the most. We urge lawmakers to reevaluate their priorities and work together to create a tax structure that prioritizes everyday Kansans.” 

The proposal passed 85-38 in the House and 24-13 in the Senate earlier this month. The Senate would need three more votes to override the governor’s veto when it returns this week for veto session on April 26.

Speaker of the Kansas House Dan Hawkins, a Republican from Wichita, released the following statement on the Governor’s veto of the tax plan.

“In these times of economic uncertainty when Kansans need tax relief more than ever, it’s especially careless and out-of-touch for Governor Kelly to veto this broad, sustainable tax policy that provides tax relief to ALL Kansans. SB 169 provides income tax relief regardless of income level, a reduction of the tax on Social Security, a faster end to the food sales tax, tax relief for small businesses, a simpler single income tax rate, and a reduction in residential property taxes. This tax relief passed the House with a bi-partisan super majority and we intend to override the Governor’s veto for the benefit of all Kansas taxpayers.”