TOPEKA, Kan. (KSN and AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to increase taxes and fees for business owners and to boost state liquor and cigarette taxes to address the state’s budget problems.
The governor also outlined proposals Wednesday to continue diverting highway funds to general government programs, scale back state contributions to public employees, and liquidate a state investment fund.
He also proposed selling off the state’s rights to collect its share of funds from a 1990s legal settlement with tobacco companies to raise $530 million or more.
Some lawmakers say they could include cuts into the mix, to make the budget work. The governor’s proposal could be changed by lawmakers, or not adopted at all.
“Well, we’re looking at, we’re in a current shortfall of $350 million so we want to address it quickly. Also in the Kansas Senate, you know, we need to provide predictability for this year’s budget,” says Senate President Susan Wagle, Wichita. “We really are adverse to taking a one-time fix or borrowing money through this current shortfall, that just makes it harder next year to make the ends meet. So our first goal in the Kansas Senate is to really look at the current budget and come up with a recession bill which includes cuts.”
The governor’s plan does not do cuts, and is essentially not a recession idea. It moves money around, and includes some new taxes. Like the so-called “sin tax” on some items.
The cigarette tax under the Brownback plan would increase by $1 a pack, to $2.29. The state’s liquor enforcement tax would double to 16 percent.
Business owners would pay personal income taxes on rents and royalty income that is now exempt and higher annual filing fees.
But some lawmakers say the business tax breaks handed out in 2012 may have to go this year. Brownback has considered the tax breaks his signature piece of work.
“I think they are on the table in both the House and the Senate,” said Wagle of the tax breaks.
The Governor’s Budget Report for FY 2018 is published online in two volumes. Volume 1 is a narrative summary of the Governor’s budget recommendations, while Volume 2 presents the budget by agency program. Follow the links below for these publications.