Kansas Senate Committee Advances Tax Bill Despite Cost Questions

Feb 1, 2019

A Kansas Senate committee brushed aside concerns about the cost of a tax relief bill Thursday and advanced it as a way to keep Kansas attractive to businesses.

The legislation would respond to the recent federal tax overhaul by tweaking state rules for foreign corporate income. It would also allow some individual taxpayers to itemize again.

The official estimate pegs the cost to the state at $400 million over three years, but lawmakers say they aren’t sure that’s accurate.

Republicans, including Sen. Julia Lynn, say without the change large businesses could leave Kansas for other states.

“We’ll have another workforce problem if these companies move, because then we’re going to lose a bunch of jobs," Lynn said. "I mean jobs. That’s my issue, pure and simple.”

Democrats raised concerns about the estimated $400 million cost over three years. Sen. Tom Holland said it would drive Kansas back into fiscal trouble.

“This to me is going back to the Brownback years,” Holland said.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle isn’t sure that cost estimate is correct. She said without the bill, large corporations would see a tax increase that could drive them away.

“I wish we could have a fiscal note on what would happen if we didn’t pass this bill,” Wagle said.

If the Legislature approves it, the plan could face a veto from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who has said she opposes any tax policy changes right now.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.