Brown back Signs Tax Hike Bill
June 16, 2015

(AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed bills raising sales and cigarette taxes to balance the state’s next budget.

The Republican governor announced the signings Tuesday, only hours after he had a Statehouse news conference to defend the higher taxes.

Brownback said the bills don’t really represent a tax increase because of past income tax cuts he pushed successfully through the GOP-dominated Legislature in 2012 and 2013.

A budget shortfall arose after those income tax cuts, and the two bills passed this year together raise $384 million during the fiscal year beginning July 1 to avert a deficit.

One bill increases the sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The other increases the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29. Both laws take effect July 1.

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.

KS Legislature in OT Because of Sales Tax Deadlock
May 25, 2013

(AP) — Republican negotiators in the Kansas Legislature agreed Friday on a plan to cut income taxes further and set the state’s sales tax at 6 percent, but a Senate leader doubted it could pass both chambers.

House Republicans drafted the proposal during negotiations with senators on tax issues. GOP senators accepted it so both chambers could vote on it, with the House taking it up first, possibly Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and most members of the GOP-dominated Legislature want to follow up on massive income tax cuts enacted last year with further reductions, believing it will stimulate the economy. To head off budget shortfalls, Brownback proposed keeping the sales tax at its current 6.3 percent, rather than dropping it to 5.7 percent in July, as called for by state law.

An impasse among top GOP legislators has pushed the Legislature’s annual session, normally scheduled to last 90 days, to at least 95 days.