The Kansas Senate has narrowly approved a tax bill that passed the House early Friday morning. The 21-19 vote sends the bill to the Governor Sam Brownback for consideration. Not long after, both chambers finished the 2015 legislative session.
The bill increases the sales tax rate and eliminates tax deductions to help fill a budget hole. It also slows some income tax rates cuts.
Democrats criticized the plan for not amending the 2012 tax cuts, which they say caused the budget problems. Anthony Hensley is the top Democrat in the Senate.
“A vote for this bill is a vote to protect reckless income tax cuts, to keep those in place, and to even go further,” says Hensley.
Governor Brownback has said if a tax plan wasn’t passed by Monday he would begin cutting state government.
Some senators wanted to reduce the food sales tax rate as part of the plan, but that was removed in the House. Republican Senator Mike Petersen was willing to compromise to avoid cuts to state services, universities and K-12 schools.
“I do not think this chamber should give up its fight to lower the sales tax on food, but at this point, the alternative if we pass nothing is more devastating on our counties,” says Petersen.
Today is day 113 of the legislative session, making it the longest in state history. The previous record was 107 days.