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Proposed Kansas Constitutional Amendment Would Make It Harder To Raise Taxes

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo
Republican Sen. Ty Masterson speaks last year.

At a time when lawmakers are considering tax increases to help balance the budget, a proposal in the Kansas Senate would make it more difficult to raise taxes.

The proposed constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds vote by lawmakers for any tax increase, and it would cap state spending and revenue growth. To overcome that cap would require a public vote.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson says the public should have more say when it comes to tax increases.

“Because it’s their money," Masterson says. "The opponents to putting these bumpers in place are those that consume the money. The proponents are those that represent the people that actually give the money."

Critics of the plan say the public does have a say in tax policy by electing the members of the Kansas Legislature. Mark Desetti, with the Kansas National Education Association, says the restrictions would cause continual budget problems.

“The Legislature would have no control over repairing damage to the budget and we would be in a perpetual state of decline,” Desetti says. The proposal would also create a rainy day reserve fund for state government.

For the plan to become part of the state Constitution, it would need to be approved by the Legislature and voters.