Kansas lawmakers are just beginning the job of reviewing and modifying Governor Sam Brownback’s tax and budget plan. The governor’s proposal slows scheduled income tax cuts and reduces spending to help fill a budget shortfall. Republican state Senator Ty Masterson chairs that chamber’s budget committee. He says after revenue collections came up short of predictions, it’s prudent to adjust the tax cuts.
“We had the largest revenue estimation miss in the history of the state, and so now you just have to reevaluate. The purpose is still the right purpose,” says Masterson.
Republican Senator Jeff Melcher has some concerns about the governor’s proposal. He says he’d like to see a broader tax base, by eliminating sales and property tax exemptions. The plan includes big increases in tobacco and liquor taxes. Melcher says in his area of Johnson County he’s not sure how much that would accomplish.
“Honestly, in my district it won’t really apply much, since most people already drive across the state line to Missouri to buy both of those products,” says Melcher.
Budget committees in the Legislature will start their work in earnest this week with hearings on Brownback’s plan to adjust the current fiscal year’s budget to address a shortfall.