Lawmakers buzzing over tax breaks

Kansas Lawmakers (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kansas – Governor Sam Brownback urged lawmakers to give business tax breaks in 2012. Now, many are looking at repealing at least part of those breaks.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars is not an easy find,” says Democrat Representative Jim Ward of Wichita. “But the one thing we have to do is we have to pass a bill and we have to balance a budget.”

By Kansas law, legislators have to pass a balanced budget.

New taxes are certainly being talked about, everything from a sales tax increase to “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco.

But it’s those tax breaks that are getting a hard look from many lawmakers who say they are not a big fan of “consumption taxes”.

“Still ‘no’ on sin tax,” says Senate member Michael O’Donnell, a Republican from Wichita. “Any support or any more support for alcohol or cigarette taxes so I would absolutely say, no, it has not gained any steam. However, no other tax has been gaining steam, either.”

O’Donnell says key Republicans say they are done finding efficiency in the Kansas budget, or cutting, as some call the changes to the Kansas budget.

“The house tax committee and the senate tax committee are both meeting today and looking at the 2012 tax cuts,” explains O’Donnell. “Looking at the implications and looking at other revenue. It doesn’t mean there will be incentive by the committee, but there will be a close look.”

There will be movement soon, on either new taxes or repealing tax breaks or a combination of both.

“We have to balance the budget, so it will get done,” says O’Donnell.

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