Kansas House, Senate look for compromise on flat income tax bill
In a Kansas Statehouse committee room Monday, house and senate lawmakers tried figuring out how much you’ll have to pay in taxes next year.
Representative Adam Smith the house taxation chair said “I think we've got a lot of good tax policy in front of us right here. As we dealt with in the house tax committee, it's ultimately probably going to boil down to what the overall fiscal impact of the aggregate tax cuts is."
All session long, Republicans have been pushing to change the state’s income tax from a tiered system to a single-rate flat income tax.
The Senate passed a bill making 4.25%, the house is at 5.25%.
Dr. Neal Allen, a political science professor at Wichita State, says “the senate bill is focused more on tax relief for high-income taxpayers, while the House bill is more balanced with an accelerated elimination of the sales tax and property tax relief for lower and middle-income homeowners.”
Talks on Monday started between the two chambers on a compromise bill. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking to cut taxes while not putting any long-term revenue in danger even as the state has a record surplus.
“It's not like that surplus came from year to year government revenue, revenue coming into those state legislatures or the state coffers. I've heard from both Republicans and Democrats on that one, especially Republicans, they're concerned about long-term fiscal viability" Dr. Jay Steinmetz with Fort Hays state told KAKE.
Both Allen and Steinmetz say this tax bill will need to end closer to the house version than the senate version or else Governor Kelly could veto it. They say as it's written, the senate bill would cut too much revenue while the house bill Allen says "gives her a lot of what she wants, in terms of sales tax elimination quicker. But the senate bill is just a budget buster that Kelly's gonna have problems backing.”
Steinmetz adds "Laura Kelly is term-limited as well. So she's not going to be running for reelection to Governor, she doesn't have that kind of pressure to make deals that are going to substantially, you know, affect a reelection campaign or something like that.”