Another tax plan that would roll back key parts of Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts has been sketched out by members of the Kansas Legislature, but it is unclear if the proposal patched together Monday night will have enough support to pass.
Leading lawmakers on the House and Senate tax committees have agreed to sign off on a new tax plan that would raise individual income tax rates, end a tax exemption for business owners and bring the state an estimated $879 million over a two-year span.
The proposal resembles an income tax bill vetoed by Brownback back in February, though it makes several tweaks to the legislation that was originally passed with bipartisan support.
“It’s very similar to what we tried in the past,” said Rep. Steven Johnson, an Assaria Republican who leads the House tax committee.
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Kansas only has two individual income tax rates as a result of Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts.
If passed, individual income tax rates would begin to increase this year, when a third tax bracket would be brought back into the fold.
That bottom rate would remain at 2.7 percent for married joint filers whose taxable income is less than $30,000.
Those same filers would see their income tax rate jump to 4.9 percent if their taxable income falls between $30,000 and $100,000. If those filers taxable income is higher than $100,000, they would pay a top rate of 5 percent this year.
But those rates are only for the phase-in of the bill.
By 2018, the lowest rate would remain at 2.7 percent, while the second rate would rise to 5.25 percent. The highest rate would climb to 5.45 percent.
Sen. Caryn Tyson, a Parker Republican who leads the Senate tax committee, said she was willing to let the legislation be debated by other lawmakers.
Asked if she would vote for it, Tyson said, “That’s a great question.”
“I don’t see a reason to at this point,” Tyson said about whether she would support the bill.
Johnson said the Senate would vote on the legislation first, and that the vote could happen as soon as Tuesday.
The new plan still needs to pass both chambers with enough support to overcome a likely Brownback veto.
“I think so,” Johnson said about the bill having enough votes to pass the House. “But I don’t know that we know.”
Some lawmakers said they are still concerned that the bill may not raise enough money and lead to lawmakers having to take multiple votes on tax increases.
The state is facing projected budget shortfalls of almost $900 million over the next two fiscal years.
Lawmakers are also trying to find a way to put more money toward funding Kansas public K-12 schools as they face a June 30 deadline from the Kansas Supreme Court to pass a new school finance formula.
“This plan does not raise any dollars for the school finance plan,” said Sen. Tom Holland, a Baldwin City Democrat.
Brownback has resisted weighing in on hypothetical tax plans, though he said during a brief interview Monday that he would “like to see a single bracket” instead of a similar version of the bill he vetoed earlier this year.