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Kansas House Roundly Defeats Plan to Reinstate Business Income Taxes

Republican lawmakers watch a board displaying the vote count. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

An unusual coalition of lawmakers helped soundly defeat a bill that would have repealed a tax exemption for Kansas businesses. The tax policy allows more than 300,000 Kansas businesses to avoid paying income taxes. Republican Representative Sue Boldra called the repeal effort a step in the right direction.

“It’s not the whole pie, as many of us desire, but certainly this is enough to right our ship of state and get a handle on our budget,” said Boldra.

The vote split both the Democratic and Republican caucuses. The top Democrat in the chamber, Tom Burroughs, voted against the bill.

"While this is an important piece of the pie, this isn't everything that needs to be fixed," said Burroughs.

Some Republicans shared a similar view that just repealing the business tax exemption wasn't sufficient.

“The LLC fix is only a component of what it seems to me we need to be looking at for real revenue reform,” said Republican Don Hill.

Many conservatives also cast “no” votes because they don't want to increase taxes to fix the budget deficit. Republican Jerry Lunn wants to see more spending cuts.

"As a Republican that's for smaller government, lower taxes, let the people keep more of their money, it's a hard vote for me to go out and say 'yeah, let's go raise taxes on the small business sector,'" said Lunn.

The tax plan failed on a 45-74 vote. It's not yet clear what option lawmakers will take for filling a budget hole before leaving Topeka to end the 2016 legislative session.

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