Kansas Lawmakers React to Income Tax Bill
Kansas lawmakers react after an income tax bill moves to the Governor’s desk. The bill would raise the top income tax rate from 4.6 percent to 5.45 percent. It would restore a third tax bracket that Brownback successfully sought to eliminate and end an exemption for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners that he championed.
This would be the third major tax increase to fill budget gaps in the 5 years since the first Brownback inspired income taxes were enacted.
Democratic State Representative Monica Murnan voted yes to the bill.
“It has multiple parts and the thing that I appreciated about it is that it was comprehensive in nature and it had bipartisan support, that’s why I voted yes,” she says.
She says the budget problem will take a long time to fix and that this is the best first step.
” We have a structural problem with our budget in the state of Kansas and it is much deeper than anyone anticipated that it would be, but it ‘ s something that will take several years to turn around. I believe the steps we took this week is the first step in that turnaround, ” Murnan adds.
Republican State Representative Mike Houser voted no to the bill.
“I voted no because I don’t feel that we needed to raise taxes again at this time, to me that would be a terrible blow to our small businesses in the area and to the individuals,” he says.
He thinks cuts should be made to the budget first.
“Kansas families when we don’t have enough money, we have to curtail our spending. That’s the hard part. To me I always felt we had a spending problem not a budget problem, we just can’t live within our budget, ” says Houser.
Brownback has strongly criticized the measure but he has stopped short of saying he would veto it. He could let it become law without his signature. Although the bill passed the house without debate yesterday, the Kansas senate today voted narrowly in favor of the income tax increases. Neither chamber gave the bill the two-thirds majority it would need to override a veto but some lawmakers think they could convince some of their fellow legislators to switch their vote.