Kansas lawmakers wrestle with tax, school funding issues

(In the Finance Committee) it was nearly unanimous. Baker offered a similar proposal but it was not part of the House budget approved last month.

Even if Justice sends up the budget bill Friday, senators and delegates still are bound to the legislative process.

The rate would stay at 6 percent, but consumers would have to pay the tax on their cell phone bills, gym memberships, and on construction labor up to $40,000.

However, Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said if the House passes its revenue bill, he anticipates the issue ending up in a conference committee. "The House will be in the position of having to adjust the budget based on that tax reform proposal they have brought forth through the Finance Committee".

There are no public signs the Senate and House will find common ground on a Permanent Fund plan.

They backed his proposed legislation earlier. While majority leaders in both chambers want a budget that limits government and doesn't create new spending, their means of supporting the budget have some overlap, but largely differ in execution.

Although number-crunching was ongoing Thursday afternoon after the committee made numerous changes to the original Justice administration bill, Finance Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said he believes it would raise about $110 million to $120 million a year in new revenue. Ashley Jones-Wisner said the sales tax on food disproportionately impacts lower-income Kansans and can cause them to choose less healthy options in the grocery store. That measure gives the governor the ability to furlough state employees in times of a "fiscal crisis".

The House bill renamed the local option budget the local foundation budget and replaced the cost-of-living weighting with a local excellence budget. But Sen. José Menéndez, a Democrat also from San Antonio, attached an amendment to the bill so that it does not affect an agreement between San Antonio and Converse for annexation of that area.

By comparison, the Senate's Tax Reform Act of 2017, passed Tuesday, increases the corporate net income tax to 7 percent, decreases the overall income tax and increases the sales tax to 6.95 percent.

It also eliminates exemptions for communications, health and fitness club memberships, construction services on labor only for the first $40,000, and certain expenses related to broadband expenses in the state.

But the delegates' bill differs significantly from one that passed the state Senate earlier this week during special session.

The bill would raise about $110 million over two years.

It isn't clear those lawmakers would vote for the repeal bill hitting taxpayers with a $649 million increase next fiscal year and $772 million in the next fiscal year. In addition, the bill does not change petition requirements for citizens to force an election and there would not be an automatic election. "If they have to amend the bill next week after they are informed of its effects, then they will have a very hard time doing so given the fierce backlash over Trumpcare that we've seen in the days since passage".

The Senate on Wednesday also advanced to third readings bills pertaining to the flat fee for the West Virginia Turnpike, and raising Division of Motor Vehicle fees. "I think running any tax plan is premature". The 100 members of the House are next scheduled to convene at 11 a.m. today.

The Senate's language would have required the Green Mountain Care Board to convene a working group.

  • Zachary Reyes