Kansas lawmakers gauge appetite for tax hikes to fix budget

Kansas Statehouse (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas legislators who favor balancing the state budget with a big income tax increase are preparing to test fellow lawmakers’ appetite for such a fix.

The state House was planning to debate a bill Wednesday that would boost personal income taxes to raise more than $1 billion over two years, starting in July. The measure would abandon core policies championed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

The measure has bipartisan support but Republicans in the GOP-controlled House are split.

Kansas faces budget shortfalls totaling nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019. The state has experienced persistent financial problems since Republican lawmakers slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging.

The bill would end an exemption for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners and boost income tax rates.