One Kansas lawmaker thinks county-level income taxes are the answer to sparing Kansans the burden of ever-increasing property taxes.

Sen. David Haley, D Kansas City, calls the proposal, SB 79, an earnings tax and says it's based on the system in Kansas City, Missouri.

Under the proposal, county residents would have to approve the up to 1% tax by vote.

“We contend that a majority of anyone in a taxpaying entity, or that county, should be allowed to vote,” Haley told the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee Monday morning.  “This would be triggered by the vote of each county, as to whether or not this would be imposed.  And it would be put before the electorate every so often - in 10 years.”

Half of the money raised would go to lower property taxes in that county.

A Leavenworth County Commissioner told lawmakers this idea would make a big difference in his county, where the federal government owns 35% of the property and is exempt from taxes.

“So, a few people are paying a lot,” Jeff Culbertson said.  “If you go to an income tax or sales tax, you get way more people paying a little.  Moreover, people making more money can afford to pay more taxes, but the people making less money will pay fewer taxes.  Property tax systems (do) not care how much money you make.”

Committee chair Sen. Caryn Tyson, R Parker, said Jason Watkins, the lobbyist for the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, was scheduled to testify against the bill but was not able to attend the hearing to testify in person.

Supporters admit the proposal wouldn't help rural counties nearly as much as counties with bigger populations.