TOPEKA, Kansas – Governor Sam Brownback announced his tax plan Saturday morning to fix the Kansas budget deficit.
The governor believes his tax policy promotes economic growth and balances the budget.
He started by acknowledging the accomplishments of the Kansas Legislature saying they “moved swiftly” to balance the 2015 budget.
“The Legislature worked very hard this year to hold the line on government spending by addressing our three major expenditure drivers: education, Medicaid, and KPERS. For the first time ever, Kansas is putting more than $4 billion into K-12 education. That is a record investment,” says Brownback.
Brownback also said he believes the state’s tax policy is working and proof can be seen by low unemployment rates and extra money in Kansan’s pockets.
He also pointed out that 71% of the 2012 tax cuts went to reducing personal income taxes and 29% to reducing the tax burden on small businesses.
The governor has had no luck so far selling his idea of saving the 2012 tax breaks that he championed.
On Saturday, he spelled out his tax plan in hopes of selling it to lawmakers.
The governor says with lawmakers still going over two different tax plans of their own, it’s time to start putting plans forward and voting on them.
Brownback’s tax plan calls for eliminating income taxes for 388,000 low-income Kansans, a plan he’s been trying to get lawmakers to go for over the last two years.
The governor also wants to kill tax breaks for the smallest businesses in the state, businesses known as limited liability corporations.
Brownback is also pushing lawmakers to do a significant hike in the sales tax on everything you buy, increasing sales tax to 6.65%.
He says his plan would generate enough revenue to balance the budget.
“One-third of the revenue generated by this plans comes from closing loopholes in the income tax, the remaining two-thirds comes from consumption taxes,” said Brownback.
However, the governors recommendations aren’t sitting well with lawmakers on both sides of the isle.
Republican Senator Susan Wagle, who has long been one of the biggest allies of the governor, says the 20-2 tax policy the governor has been trying to keep just isn’t working.
“I have concerns that business owners don’t pay income tax and i think that would be fair thing to do to address that problem,” said Wagle.
And Democratic representatives like Jim Ward say the fact they’re hasn’t been more debate about a solution is, as Ward puts it, legislative cowardness.
“They don’t have 63 votes close the loophole or raise all those the regressive taxes you’ve been hearing about, sales tax, gas tax, cigarette tax, they don’t have 63 votes to do anyone of those ides,” said Ward.
Brownback says this plan will leave a projected ending balance of approximately $75 million in FY 2016 and $250 million in FY 2017.