Kansas lawmakers to kick off debate over ending tax break

Kansas Statehouse (KSN Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature expects to kick off its debate over ending an income tax break championed by GOP Gov. Sam Brownback shortly after lawmakers open their annual session.

The House Taxation Committee plans to meet Monday afternoon, less than two hours after both chambers convened for what traditionally has been a day long on ceremony and speeches and short on substantial business.

But Chairman Steven Johnson, an Assaria Republican, said he wants the House panel to begin working quickly on revenue-raising proposals.

Lawmakers must close a projected $342 million shortfall in the current budget and gaps in funding for existing programs totaling nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019. Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since GOP legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging in what many voters now see as a failed economic stimulus effort.