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Kansas House Passes Tax Plan, Moves To The Senate

KSCB News - June 12, 2015 11:53 am

The Kansas Senate will determine whether a plan for raising sales and cigarette taxes to erase a budget deficit will clear the Republican-dominated Legislature and go to GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.

Two bills contained parts of the tax plan. The measures together would raise $384 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The Senate was expected to vote Friday on a bill increasing the state’s sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The House approved it early Friday morning, 63-44.

The Senate approved the other part of the package Sunday. It is a bill raising the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29. The measure also includes a modest tax increase for business owners.

The House approved the bill early Friday, 63-45. But House GOP leaders used a procedural maneuver to block the bill from going to Brownback until they saw how the Senate voted on the other measure.

The state’s budget gap arose after the Republican-dominated Legislature slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy.

Eliminating sales tax exemptions could be a key issue when the Senate considers a plan for balancing the state budget.

The Senate was expected to vote Friday morning on a bill increasing the state’s sales to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The House approved it early Friday morning, 63-44.

It’s part of a larger plan to raise $384 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1. A second bill would increase the state’s cigarette tax.

Some Republican senators pushed to create a commission to study eliminating sales tax exemptions. They favored a plan to repeal most exemptions in 2020 unless lawmakers moved to preserve them.

But House and Senate negotiators dropped provisions creating the commission and the repeal of the exemptions in 2020 from the final version of the bill.

Legislators still could consider repealing sales tax exemptions on their own. But lead Senate tax negotiator and Wichita Republican Les Donovan said the proposals were important to some GOP senators.

4:10 a.m. (CDT)

The Kansas House has approved the second part of plan for raising taxes to help erase a budget deficit.

The vote early Friday morning was 63-45. The measure before the House included a cigarette tax increase of 50 cents a pack to $1.29 and a modest increase in taxes for business owners.

The Senate approved the measure Sunday, but House Republican leaders were using a procedural maneuver to keep it from going to GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. They wanted to see how the Senate would vote on the first part of the tax package.

The House approved the first part, 63-44. It would raise the state’s sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent.

The two bills together raise $384 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The state’s budget gap arose after the Republican-dominated Legislature slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy.

1:50 a.m. (CDT)

The Kansas House has approved the first part of a new plan for raising sales and cigarette taxes to help erase a budget shortfall and avoid deep spending cuts.

The House voted 63-44 for a bill that increases the state’s sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The measure goes next to the Senate.

The House immediately began debating a second bill that would increase the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack to $1.29.

A similar plan that contained both tax increases failed by a wide margin in the House early Thursday. But Gov. Sam Brownback later publicly pleaded with GOP lawmakers to pass tax increases.

Republicans who drafted the latest plan anticipate that Brownback still would have to cut up to $50 million from a budget lawmakers already have approved. The Kansas Constitution requires a balanced budget.

1:30 a.m. (CDT)

The Kansas House is debating a new plan drafted by Republican members for raising sales and cigarette taxes to help erase a budget deficit and avoid deep spending cuts.

The plan is contained in two bills that were before the House early Friday morning. Republican leaders hoped to vote on both, but that depended on whether the first measure passed.

The first bill increases the state’s sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The second bill raises the cigarette tax of 50 cents a pack to $1.29. A similar plan failed by a wide margin in the House early Thursday.

The two bills together would raise about $384 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1. Republicans who drafted the plan anticipate that GOP Gov. Sam Brownback still would have to cut up to $50 million from a budget lawmakers already have approved. The Kansas Constitution requires a balanced budget.

The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers slashed income taxes at Brownback’s urging.

 

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