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Kansas Lawmakers Debate Tax Proposals; Look to Wrap-Up Session

Kansas Statehouse (Photo by J. Schafer)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee is preparing to debate proposals for raising taxes to erase a budget shortfall.  The Taxation Committee plans to discuss various revenue-raising proposals today (MON).  Legislative researchers say lawmakers must eliminate a $422 million deficit in the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.  Budget problems arose after the Republican-dominated Legislature aggressively cut personal income taxes at Governor Sam Brownback's urging in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy.  The state dropped its top rate by 29 percent and exempted more than 330,000 business owners and farmers from income taxes altogether.  The committee is reviewing a bill backtracking on the exemption for business owners despite Brownback's opposition.  The committee also is considering higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco and increasing the state's sales tax.


Kansas Lawmakers Must Finish this Week to Avoid Overtime

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators must wrap up their business for the year within a week to avoid having their annual 90-day session go into overtime. Lawmakers are returning to the Statehouse today (MON) without having drafted a plan for raising taxes to close a budget shortfall and with a full plate of other issues.  It was the 85th day of their annual session. Following tradition, legislative leaders schedule 90-day sessions each year, though the state constitution doesn't limit the length in odd-numbered years.

Legislators have remained in session more than 90 days in 29 of the past 40 years. The longest session was in 2002, at 107 days.  Last year's session was the shortest since 1974, at only 79 days.


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