In this issue …
Senate tries to lure House with food sales tax cut
After several meetings of the Tax Conference Committee this week and a seeming deadlock over extending the temporary sales tax, the Kansas Senate tried a new approach Thursday evening. They sent the House a bill that keeps the sales tax at 6.3%, but lowers the sales tax on food to 4.95%.
After three hours of debate, Senators passed the measure (HB 2084) by a vote of 24 to 18. The bill originally had to do with tax credits for community services contributions. It was gutted and the new language added that is basically what the Senate has offered in the past, with the exception of the food sales tax reduction.
By the year 2018, all itemized deductions except charitable are completely eliminated. That includes the real estate mortgage interest deduction, a move that has been strongly opposed by the Kansas Association of Realtors.
The top income tax bracket is eventually reduced to 3.5%, while the bottom bracket is reduced to 2.5% (both by 2018). There is no mechanism for totally eliminating the individual income tax after 2018.
The bill now goes to the Kansas House of Representatives where it’s unclear what will happen. It is unknown whether House leadership will take the bill up and allow a vote, which is what the Senate wants.
Both chambers are holding off on passing a budget until a tax bill is passed.
The House goes in at 9 a.m., the Senate at 10:30.
As the legislative session drags on, some legislators are leaving due to previous plans made in anticipation of everything being done by now. Each passing day finds several absent.
Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee Chairman Les Donovan (R-Wichita) has been a key negotiator for the Senate. He left Thursday for a long-planned family event.
Senate leadership has indicated they are willing to work into the Memorial Day weekend, but several lawmakers are skeptical and believe the lawmakers will have to return to the Statehouse next Tuesday.