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Government

Kansas House Faces Vote On Raising Taxes To Balance Budget

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Stephen Koranda
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Kansas House members could balance the next state budget by approving a bill to increase sales and cigarette taxes. The Senate's vote Sunday night was 21-17 to approve the measure.

The House could vote on the tax plan today; it's the 109th day of the legislative session, now the longest in state history.

Each extra day of the session has cost the state more than $40,000. Lawmakers traditionally schedule their sessions to last 90 days.

Passage by the House would send the measure to Governor Sam Brownback.

The bill approved by the Senate this weekend would raise $423 million dollars during the next fiscal year, by increasing the state's sales tax to 6.55 percent and raising the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29.

The bill would raise $24 million dollars during the next fiscal year by increasing taxes for business owners.

More than 330,000 business owners and farmers don't have to pay income taxes on their profits thanks to a 2012 law.

The governor has threatened to veto any plan that increases taxes for business owners by more than $24 million during the next fiscal year.

The state's budget problems began after lawmakers cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at the governor's.

The Senate also approved the bill containing most of the budget for the next fiscal year on a 23-11 vote.

The House passed it last week, and it goes next to Brownback.

Republicans' inability to resolve budget and tax issues had threatened to force the state to furlough thousands of workers this week.

Lawmakers passed a bill to avert a partial government shutdown, Brownback signed it, and the new law took effect Saturday night.

With furloughs averted and a state budget completed, the House's vote on the tax plan will determine whether lawmakers would wrap up business today.