TOPEKA (KSNT) – Before adjourning until March, the Kansas Senate pushed through multiple bills Thursday night.
The Kansas Senate approved SB 169 which would give most Kansans a single-rate tax rate in a vote of 22-17. Similar to a flat tax, the bill would do away with the state’s current tiered income tax system and set the state income tax rate at 4.75%. For those who make around $5,000 or less a year, there would be no income tax. The bill now goes to the Kansas House.
Bill restricting advanced voting ballots in Kansas passes
Also Thursday night, in a vote of 22-16, the Kansas Senate approved a new food tax bill. Instead of eliminating the tax on healthy foods, as originally written, SB 248 would instead drop state taxes on all food ingredients starting the first of next year. If approved, this bill would cancel out the current gradual reduction that took effect this year. Right now, the food sales tax is at 4% and is set to drop off completely in 2025. The bill now goes to the Kansas House.
The Kansas Senate also passed SB 96 Thursday in a vote of 28-11. The bill would have the state pay up to $10 million in tax credits to people who contribute to charitable organizations that operate as pregnancy centers. The “Pregnancy Resource Act” would apply to non-profit facilities that operate solely to provide assistance to women in order to carry their pregnancy to term. Opponents said these centers discourage people from getting abortions through misinformation and pressure tactics.
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The Kansas Senate also approved a bill to strip local health officials of their power to fight contagious diseases. In the early months of the COVID pandemic, Gov. Laura Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment declared a public health emergency ordering the temporary closure of schools, a statewide lockdown and mandatory COVID precautions. In a vote of 22-18, the Senate passed SB 6. If passed by the House, the state would only be able to issue recommendations, not mandates.