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Kansas Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Rolling Back Business Tax Exemption

Senator Jeff King speaking to the Senate Tax Committee. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Lawmakers are considering how to erase a budget shortfall, and Thursday a Senate committee took a look at business taxes. Lawmakers held a hearing on a bill that would partially roll-back a tax exemption for business income.

Jim Eschrich is a business owner who says the tax changes overall have been good, but he says it's unfair for some business owners not to pay income taxes.

“We’ve done a lot of good things. I just think the budget realities are such, the political realities are such, that we need to retreat a little bit on this one aspect of the tax policy,” says Eschrich.
Eric Stafford, with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, says the goal of the tax cuts is growing business, and the state shouldn’t change course. Stafford says lawmakers should focus on more spending cuts.
“We’re trying to grow the private sector here, folks. Would you rather have –and it’s a simple question– would you rather have more money in the pockets of the private sector business owners or in state government? We would prefer that taxpayers hold on to more of their money,” says Stafford.
Lawmakers will need to find nearly $300 million in cuts or tax increases to balance the budget through the middle of next year.


A long-simmering debate over tax policy is starting to heat up as Kansas lawmakers look to fill a budget hole. A Senate committee held a hearing Thursday on a plan that would roll back a tax exemption allowing more than 300,000 business owners to avoid paying state income taxes. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.

The bill would reinstate Kansas taxes on most income from certain types of businesses. Republican Senator Jeff King says when he supported the tax cut, his intent was that only some categories of business income would be tax exempt, not all of it.
“That’s not fair. That’s not what the intent of this bill was. That’s not what we voted on, or thought we were voting on, in 2012,” says King.
Democratic Senator Anthony Hensley calls it suspicious that Republicans are only now considering rolling back the tax exemption.
“It’s an election year conversion, is what it is. It’s at the last minute. There’s no possible way that the Legislature is going to be able to address this issue in the limited amount of time that we have,” says Hensley.
Lawmakers will need to find nearly $300 million in cuts or tax increases to balance the budget through the middle of next year.

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