By Chuck Samples
February 8, 2017
Kansas Senators will debate budgets and taxes before the week is out. The discussion will likely take place soon in the House as well.
This follows Tax Committee approval of Senate Bill 147, which reinstates taxes on business income from limited liability corporations. It also bumps personal income tax rates up 0.3 percent for the upper bracket and 0.4 percent for the lower bracket.
The current package could raise about $290 million, well short of the projected budget shortfall of over $500 million for fiscal 2018.
A House Tax Committee bill, HB 2237, orignates with several groups — the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, Kansas Action for Children, Kansas Contractors Association, Kansas Organization of State Employees and Kansas NEA. The Topeka Capital-Journal says it could raise up to $900 million over the next two years. Part of that would be reinstating a third tax bracket eliminated five years ago and raising the upper tax bracket rate almost two full percentage points. It would also eliminate the LLC tax exemption.
In separate action, the Senate Ways and Means Committee has voted to cut $128 million from K-12 education, or 5 percent, and another $23 million, or 3 percent, from higher education. This comes with the Kansas Supreme Court still mulling a decision on whether K-12 funding is adequate. If it’s not, that money — and hundreds of millions of additional dollars — could have to be added to the state’s bottom line.