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Kansas House Set To Debate Tax Bill

Jimmy Emerson

Members of the Kansas House are scheduled to debate a tax plan Wednesday that would raise income tax rates and repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 business owners. It’s the first tax bill that will be debated by one of the full chambers this year.

Kansas lawmakers are looking at ways to erase budget deficits that total around $1 billion by the middle of 2019. They started cutting taxes several years ago and the bill they’ll debate would undo some of the cuts.

The chairman of the tax committee, Republican Steven Johnson, says he’s expecting critics to say both that the bill taxes too much and not enough.

“We will see numbers and the policy continue to evolve. This will help us get a firmer idea whether the details are in the right place,” Johnson says.

Johnson says whether the bill passes or fails, they’ll be learning which way lawmakers might want to go, and how much budget cutting and tax raising they want to do to balance the budget.

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.