Kansas lawmakers quickly tried to put together a new tax plan Tuesday after a different proposal failed to gain enough support to make it to the Senate floor.
Leading legislators on the House and Senate tax committees agreed to the new idea Tuesday evening, but it still faces the tall order of passing both chambers.
This time, the bill calls for different income tax increases and raises around $1 billion over a two-year span as the state faces budget issues in future years.
An effort to pass the bill could start in the House as early as Wednesday.
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“We’ll continue to see how far the wheels stay on this one,” said Rep. Steven Johnson, an Assaria Republican who leads the House tax committee.
The proposal ends the business tax exemption long championed by Gov. Sam Brownback and also fundamentally rolls back a large part of the tax cuts the governor signed into law during his first term in office.
Individual income tax rates would begin to rise this year, when a third bracket would become law. The new rates would be 2.85 percent, 4.9 percent and 5.1 percent.
They would then continue to increase in 2018 when the rates would be 3 percent, 5.25 percent and 5.6 percent.
Those changes are expected to bring the state an estimated $500 million in fiscal year 2018, and $550 million the year after.
Rep. Tom Sawyer, a Wichita Democrat, said the big question mark is whether the Senate would even be able to pass the bill.
The bill has some positives things in it, he said.
“But it doesn’t fund schools,” Saywer said, referring to an order earlier this year from the Kansas Supreme Court to address adequacy issues when it comes to the funding of state public schools.
Johnson said he wasn’t sure if the bill could get the two-thirds majority required to overcome a likely Brownback veto.
“I would actually expect that it would not on our first pass,” Johnson said. “I know that there’s still concerns of whether folks want to vote on a tax bill at this time, whether it raises enough; I know it doesn’t raise enough for many people.”
Senate Republicans decided Tuesday morning to pull back a different tax bill, which led to the evening negotiations.
The bill would have raised an estimated $879 million over the next two fiscal years — too much money for some lawmakers, not enough for others.
The state is facing projected budget shortfalls of roughly $889 million over the next two fiscal years.