Topeka Don't expect the Kansas Legislature to be as generous as Congress this year and offer taxpayers a rebate.
Last month, Congress and President Bush approved a package aimed at stimulating the economy that will result in millions of Americans receiving rebate checks ranging from $300 to $1,200.
Several states are following the example of the feds by proposing their own state tax rebate programs as a way to fight against an economic recession.
In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell has proposed a one-time rebate of up to $400 to lower-income, working families. Lawmakers in Connecticut have proposed rebates of $50 to $290.
But Kansas lawmakers, facing a tight state budget, probably won't offer anything like that.
One problem is that the federal rebate action will short Kansas state coffers by $87 million, state officials say.
The federal stimulus package includes acceleration of write-offs for businesses, such as the ability to depreciate the cost of new equipment and machinery. Kansas' tax revenue is affected because it links its tax code to that portion of the federal tax code.
There has been some talk of approving legislation that would "de-couple" that part of the state tax system from the federal one, so that businesses in Kansas, while they would receive a break on their federal taxes, wouldn't on their state taxes.
But Republicans are opposed to that.
"We are not going to de-couple, so we'll be letting that pass on through," said state Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing and chairman of the House Tax Committee. "That is supporting the federal stimulus package."
While there won't be a state tax rebate, Wilk said one thing that will help Kansans is that the Legislature is sticking to its commitment that started last year to phase in exempting Social Security benefits from state income taxes and the expansion of a homestead property tax refund for low-income seniors.
And, he said, lawmakers are continuing work on readjusting business taxes, which he said is aimed at helping the economy.
House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg, said Kansas state government actually jumped ahead of other states in stimulating the economy by phasing out the property tax on machinery and equipment.
"So as far as stimulating investment in productivity, we're several years ahead of those other states," McKinney said.
McKinney said that the federal economic stimulus package would have been better if the money had gone to repairing bridges and highways.
"That way we would've put people to work and produced a long-lasting benefit," he said.