Kansas House Debates $1B Income Tax Increase

Kansas legislators who favor balancing the state budget with a big income tax increase are preparing to test fellow lawmakers’ appetite for such a fix.

The Kansas House of Representatives debated a bill Wednesday which would boost personal income taxes to raise more than $1 billion over two years, starting in July. The measure would abandon core policies championed by Gov. Sam Brownback going back to 2012.

The measure has bipartisan support but Republicans in the GOP-controlled House are split.

The bill would end an exemption for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners while boosting income tax rates.

While Brownback stopped short Wednesday of saying he would veto the bill, he strongly criticized the measure during a speech to members of the National Federation of Independent Business. He urged NFIB members to lobby against it.

The House gave first-round approval Wednesday to the bill. Brownback told reporters afterward that he has never been for income tax increases. He said in a statement later that the bill would hurt middle-class families.