House preparing to debate proposals to raise taxes

Kansas Statehouse (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – Kansas House members are preparing to debate proposals for raising sales, tobacco and business taxes to close a projected budget shortfall.

Republican leaders in the GOP-dominated chamber put three tax bills on Friday’s agenda. Top Republicans hope the House passes at least one.

Lawmakers must close a $406 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The gap arose after they cut income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy.

One key issue is increasing the state’s 6.15 percent sales tax.

Another is whether to backtrack on a 2012 policy allowing more than 330,000 farmers and business owners to avoid income taxes on their profits.

A third issue is raising the tax on cigarettes of 79 cents per pack.

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