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Kansas Senate Committee Starts Work On Tax Plan, Vote Coming Soon

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio
Senators listen during a hearing on the tax plan. From left to right are Republican Dan Kershen, Republican Chairwoman Caryn Tyson and Democrat Tom Holland.

A Kansas Senate committee started discussions on a bill Monday that would repeal a key piece of the 2012 tax cuts and raise personal income tax rates. A committee vote on the plan could come as soon as Tuesday.

The bill would eliminate an income tax exemption for some business owners. Drew Quinn, a real estate broker from Overland Park, told the Senate tax committee that changing course on tax policies would drive away business.

“You are screaming to the outside public, 'you cannot trust the state of Kansas, you cannot make business plans, you don’t want to come here because we’re unreliable,'” Quinn says.

Quinn says the state needs to cut spending, not raise taxes. Others argued tax changes could help put the state on a better financial footing.

Republican Sen. Dan Goddard says he’s concerned about the state’s ability to invest in transportation and address a shortfall in the state pension plan.

“Without revenues coming in, it really concerns me about how we’re going to move into the future,” Goddard says.

The tax bill alone would not be enough to eliminate a shortfall in the state budget next fiscal year.

Gov. Sam Brownback also took a preemptive strike at the proposal, saying it would hurt job creators, middle- and low-income Kansans. Brownback pushed for the tax cuts and has staunchly defended them.

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.