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Tax Talks Slow In The Kansas Statehouse

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio
House Tax Committee Chairman Steven Johnson during tax talks last week.

Negotiations on potential tax hikes have slowed in the Kansas Statehouse. Eliminating a budget deficit and writing a new school funding formula are the top issues lawmakers need to finish before ending the session.

Last week, a conference committee pushed out a couple tax bills, but legislative leaders chose not to debate them after support fizzled. This week, the committee hasn’t produced any bills so far.

“I think what we learned last week is everyone needs time to digest the numbers and the impact," says Republican Steven Johnson, the top tax negotiator in the Kansas House. "It’s uncertainty, it’s not being in full agreement on how much we need for education as well as how much we need for the budget."

House lawmakers could advance a school funding proposal in the coming days, and Democratic Sen. Tom Holland says that will give them a financial target.

“Once the school finance plan gets shot out of the House I think that we’ll have a basis for the tax plan so people can make one [tax] plan, one vote and we can wrap this session up,” he says.

Lawmakers are planning to end the session within the next couple weeks.