Kansas Senators have roundly rejected a flat tax proposal endorsed by Governor Sam Brownback on a 37-3 vote. The plan would have thrown out the state’s 2.7 and 4.6 percent tax brackets, so all Kansans would pay the same 4.6 percent income tax rate.
The legislation was criticized by lawmakers from both parties. Democratic Senator Tom Holland said the flat tax would not raise enough revenue to close a budget gap and would hurt low-income Kansans.
“I think this is bad tax policy. I don’t think this solves the problem long term. We need to just vote no on this bill. We need to send a message, stick a stake through the heart of flat tax theory today, because it’s not going to work for Kansas,” says Holland.
Some conservatives, like Republican Senator Rob Olson, said they shouldn’t look at tax increases to balance the budget.
“I’m not going to support a tax increase until we at least look at the expenditures. I think there are places where we can cut,” says Olson.
The proposal would have also repealed a business tax exemption for more than 330,000 business owners. Brownback endorsing the idea was seen as movement on the issue, as he’s previously defended the tax exemption.
Brownback has said the flat tax plan would create a fair system that encourages economic growth.
Lawmakers are looking for ways to erase budget deficits that totals $1 billion by the middle of 2019.