TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas House is planning to debate a proposal to increase the state’s spending on public schools before it considers a plan for raising taxes to pay for it and fill holes in other parts of the budget.
The House was debating a proposal Wednesday afternoon to phase in a $280 million increase in education funding over two years. The bill is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that said education funding is inadequate.
Attorneys for four school districts that sued the state have said such an increase would not be sufficient to satisfy the court. GOP lawmakers disagree.
The House initially had planned to take up tax issues first. But a measure that would boost taxes to raise $953 million over two years wasn’t ready.
Kansas legislators have rewritten parts of their latest plan for raising taxes to fix the state budget and provide additional dollars for public schools.
House and Senate negotiators agreed Wednesday on a revised plan that would raise $953 million over two years by increasing income taxes, boosting liquor taxes and imposing the state’s sales tax on a few services.
The House planned to debate the plan Wednesday afternoon and then take up a measure that would phase in a $280 million increase in spending on public schools over two years.
House negotiators on tax issues wanted the tax plan to pledge to drop the 6.5 percent sales tax on food to 5.5 percent in July 2020 in an effort to make the new taxes on services easier to sell.
Kansas lawmakers are postponing debates on a new plan for raising taxes to fix the state budget and another measure that would boost spending on public schools.
House and Senate negotiators were meeting again Wednesday to rewrite parts of a plan for raising $948 million over two years with income and liquor tax increases while also imposing the state’s sales tax on some services.
The House hoped to debate taxes Wednesday afternoon and then the school finance plan on the 100th day of the Legislature’s annual session.
The education measure would phase in a $280 million increase in spending on schools over two years.
Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019, and the state Supreme Court has said funding for public schools is inadequate.