Top Republicans propose new bill to address budget deficit

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – A bill proposed by top Kansas Republicans in the Senate aims to address the state’s budget deficit.

The bill is projected to raise $660 million over two years.

Under current law, individuals with income less than 15,000 dollars a year, or couples who have income of $30,000 or less pay a tax rate of 2.6 percent.

Those individuals with an income more than $15,000 a year or couples with an income of $30,000 or more, pay a tax rate of 4.6 percent.

The proposed bill would raise those rates anywhere from 3 percent for those in the bottom tax bracket up to 4.9 percent for the top rate.

Republican Senator Julia Lynn from Olathe says they are looking at all their options

“I think everybody knows everything is on the table right now,” said Lynn.

However, Democratic Senator Tom Holland says one bill alone won’t fix the problem.

“I’m really curious to hear from Senate leadership to hear how they want to address that structural gap,” said Holland.

This bill would also take aim at rolling back Governor Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts.

This would signal an end to the existing exemption for 388,000 small business owners, including farmers.

“We’ll hopefully come to a good consensus that will not be damaging to the economy but also not to our constituents,” said Lynn.

Those on both sides of the aisle are still debating.

“We have known for months if not years that the changes made in 2012 were bankrupting state and that contrary to governor’s claim, that this would be a shot of adrenaline to the state’s economy what this turned out to be was a boondoggle for the wealthiest Kansans.”

One Republican lawmaker says the plan wouldn’t address the problem as a whole.

“I am not a fan of the 2012 tax plan necessarily, but I don’t think the solution is to tax and spend your way out of a recession. That is where we are at that is the proposal that is being considered right now, to increase taxes and increase spending,” says Rep. John Whitmer, Wichita.

The bill would also restore taxes for those small businesses that currently don’t pay taxes under the LLC provision in the current law.

Governor Sam Brownback issued a statement on the plan today saying, “Senator Wagle’s tax plan needlessly harms the real people that serve as the lifeblood of Kansas. It punishes the middle class-teachers, police officers, and nurses-working hard to provide for their families and serve their communities.”

The Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee is expected to debate Senate Bill 147 on Tuesday.

The House is expected to have a hearing on their version of a tax bill Tuesday as well.

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