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Kansas Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Rolling Back Business Tax Exemption

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio/File Photo

State lawmakers are considering how to erase a budget shortfall, and on Thursday a Kansas Senate committee took a look at business taxes.

Lawmakers held a hearing on a bill that would partially roll back a tax exemption for business income. Jim Eschrich is a business owner who says the tax changes overall have been good, but he says it’s unfair for some business owners not to pay income taxes.

“We’ve done a lot of good things. I just think the budget realities are such, the political realities are such, that we need to retreat a little bit on this one aspect of the tax policy,” Eschrich says.

Eric Stafford, with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, says the goal of the tax cuts is growing business, and the state shouldn’t change course. Stafford says lawmakers should focus more on spending cuts.

“We’re trying to grow the private sector here, folks. Would you rather have –and it’s a simple question– would you rather have more money in the pockets of the private sector business owners or in state government? We would prefer that taxpayers hold on to more of their money,” Stafford says.

Lawmakers will need to find nearly $300 million in cuts or tax increases to balance the budget through the middle of next year.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.