Kansas Senate Scuttles Tax Debate and Leave for Holiday Weekend
May 21, 2015

Lawrence Journal World:

Topeka — Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate called off a scheduled debate and vote on a $496 million tax package on Thursday, then adjourned for an extended Memorial Day weekend.

Lawmakers will return Tuesday for what will be the 96th day of the 2015 session, leaving a number of Lawrence-area legislators frustrated at the lack of progress in solving the state’s looming budget crisis.

Senate Republican Leader Terry Bruce of Hutchinson said the debate was postponed because of “a plethora of amendment requests” that legislative staff had not had time to draft.

“It just shows you how bad the work product is right now,” said Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, the ranking Democrat on the tax committee that put together the bill that was to be debated Thursday.

Kansas Lawmakers Still Searching for Budget Deal
May 18, 2015

(AP) – Kansas legislators will be working with a reduced staff of secretaries and assistants now that their annual session is in overtime.
Lawmakers were returning Monday to the Statehouse for the 92nd day of their session. Legislative leaders traditionally schedule sessions for 90 days, but that day came Saturday.
The Legislature’s administrative services staff says a typical day in session costs the state about $60,000. But starting Monday, the cost is expected to drop to about $43,000 a day.
The Legislature ended seasonal jobs Friday for about 150 workers, leaving about 60 employees, including the full-time staffs in each chamber.
At least 11 of 125 House members and three of 40 senators have given up their $89-a-day salaries going forward. Lawmakers also receive $129 a day for expenses.

Kansas House Rejects Sales Tax Hike
May 15, 2015

(AP) – The Kansas House has rejected a proposal to repeal an income tax break for business owners and farmers as it debates measures for raising new revenues to balance the state budget.

The House was debating a bill Friday to increase the state’s sales tax to 6.85 percent from 6.15 percent while dropping the rate on food to 5.9 percent.

Republican Rep. Bill Sutton of Gardner proposed an amendment to repeal a policy enacted in 2012 exempting the profits of more than 330,000 business owners and farmers from income taxes.

The House rejected Sutton’s proposal on a voice vote. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has championed the tax break as an economic stimulus.

Legislators must close a projected budget shortfall of $406 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Kansas Lawmakers Eyeball Sales Tax Hike
May 12, 2015

(AP) – Republican legislators in Kansas are moving toward increasing the state’s sales tax to help close a budget shortfall while also reducing the tax on food.

The House and Senate tax committees reviewed multiple proposals Tuesday for raising revenues to close a projected $406 million deficit in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

No plan emerged from either committee.

But Republican legislators kept coming back to proposals to raise the state’s 6.15 percent sales tax.

The House committee considered and rejected proposals to boost the tax to 7.15 percent and 6.8 percent, but members planned to review more alternatives Wednesday.

The Senate committee plans to debate a proposal to raise the sales tax to 6.5 percent.

Both committees are considering proposals to drop the sales tax on food.

Ks lawmakers Consider Bigger Bump in Sales Tax
May 6, 2015

(AP) – Kansas lawmakers are considering increasing the state sales tax as the Legislature gathers proposals to close a looming budget deficit.

The House Taxation Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a measure that would increase the state sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The move would raise an estimated $164 million in each of the next fiscal years, but much more would be needed to balance the state’s budget.

The projected shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is about $800 million, but a proposed budget would narrow that to about $422 million.

Taxation Committee Chairman Marvin Kleeb, a Republican from Overland Park, said that he expects the Legislature will begin building consensus on the combination of tax increases needed to close the gap next week.


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