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Kansas Senate to Consider Tax Bill


Kansas lawmakers are still trying to decide how to fill a $400 million budget hole. The Senate is scheduled to debate a tax plan this week that would raise a variety of taxes to close the gap. However, passage in the chamber is far from a sure thing.

Some legislative leaders have argued there isn’t that much left to cut in the state budget to fill the hole. But Republican state Senator Ty Masterson, that chamber’s top budget writer, says he’s ready to take action if needed after tax plans begin to develop.

Democratic Senator Laura Kelly, of Topeka says the deep income tax cuts enacted several years ago will have to be repealed in order to balance the budget.

Some Republicans in both the Senate and House are resisting any increase in taxes on businesses. But Republican Representative Mark Hutton of Wichita, says some smaller tax hikes on business income will have to be part of a package that should also include higher sales taxes.

A tax plan was approved by a Senate panel last week while a House committee is still formulating a proposal.  Lawmakers are struggling to bridge an estimated $406 million deficit and are already into overtime. The 90-day session was supposed to wrap up earlier this month.

Stephen Koranda is KPR's Statehouse reporter.