A tax relief bill pushed by Republican leaders has cleared the GOP-controlled Legislature.
The measure went to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly after the Senate’s 24-16 vote Thursday evening. The House approved it last week.
The bill is designed to prevent businesses and individuals from paying more in state income taxes because changes in federal tax laws at the end of 2017. It also contains a small cut in the state’s sales tax on groceries.
Republicans said the bill is a matter of fairness and prevents an unlegislated tax increase.
But Democratic senators excoriated the bill as a budget-buster.
Kelly has stopped short of saying she will veto the measure but lawmakers in both parties expect her to reject the measure.
Senators approved the bill after passing an education funding increase.
The following statement is from Governor Laura Kelly regarding the passage of Senate Bill 22:
“Just two short years ago, the State of Kansas was on the brink of financial disaster. Our state faced a massive, self-inflicted budget crisis that caused three credit downgrades and devastating budget cuts. The consequences of those cuts were real and painful.
“In 2017, we defied the odds, acknowledged the mistake, and ended the experiment in a historic act of bipartisanship. Since then, Kansas has seen a gradual recovery. My administration has only just begun to repair the severe damage done in the last eight years. Our recovery is tenuous; our budget is fragile. This is not the time to make significant changes to our tax code.
“Senate Bill 22 will absolutely undue all the progress we’ve made. It will put our state once again in a self-inflicted budget crisis forcing hardships on our schools, our highway program, our most vulnerable children and our economy. The State of Kansas cannot afford to go backwards.”