Kansas legislature passes income tax hike, dissolves 2012 loopholes

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TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT)  –  The Kansas Senate is prepared to send a bill to Gov. Sam Brownback that will dissolve portions of his 2012 tax plan and raise taxes across the state. The senate passed the bill 22 to 18. The vote was initially a tie at 19 each. Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) and Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) originally passed on voting, but were forced to break the tie.

“I think that there’s some more changes that we’re going to need to make and I’m not sure that this gives us enough revenue to address concerns,” said Francisco.

Francisco said she also has concerns about how much the middle class is taxed in comparison to those at the top. The bill raises taxes on anyone making over $30,000 from 4.6% to 5.2%. Those making over $100,000 are taxed at 5.4%.

The Kansas Legislature has yet to pass a budget for this year. Lawmakers are facing a projected $1.1 billion shortfall through June 2019. This bill is expected to raise $1 billion in the next two years.

“It’s kind of the cart before the horse to complete this package, put this in place and not know what it is we’re going to fund,” said Haley.

Francisco and Haley ultimately voted yes on the bill. For Haley it came down to restoring income tax for 330,000 businesses and farms, a key piece of Brownback’s 2012 tax plan.

“I campaigned for re-election on that and I could not be the one that did not vote to do away with that,” said Haley.

The bill did not receive two-thirds the vote in either the house or the senate. This means the bill currently could not survive a governor veto.

Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) voted no on the bill, but feels Brownback should think twice before vetoing the measure.

“He gave us a budget this year that borrowed money and sold our assets in order to pay the bill, so if he wants to veto that bill he needs to come back to the legislature with a new budget plan that gives us a structural fix,” said Wagle.

Brownback has vowed to fight any attempts to raise income taxes in the state. His office is calling this “the largest tax increase in Kansas history.” Still he has not said publicly that he will veto the bill. The bill has already passed both chambers, so if Brownback decides to do nothing it will become law after 10 days.

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