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Kansas Tax Changes Leave Fewer Dollars For Services

City and county leaders met Thursday at KU for a panel that focused on the effects of recent changes to state tax policy.

Kansas has cut individual income tax rates and eliminated taxes for nearly 200,000 businesses over the past two years.

The changes have resulted in lower tax rates for most taxpayers, but also fewer dollars available for state government and state aid to local governments.

Local officials say the state is pushing more responsibility for funding and providing public services on them.

Hannes Zacharias, Johnager says the county has lost state revenue for jobs such as inspecting sewer septic tanks for new residents in rural areas. 

Salina City Manager Jason Gage says other factors besides tax rates affect whether new residents or businesses move to an area, including the quality of life, services and a trained workforce.

Gage said low taxes typically result in low-quality services, like bad roads.

Panelists said higher sales and property taxes could be an option to boost revenues.

Some suggested that a 10 percent sales tax might be ideal for Kansas, but could not say how much the state would charge and how much local governments would have left.

The Kansas statewide sales tax is 6.15 percent.

The event drew more than 100 state and local government officials, as well as economists.