Topeka In Kansas, a married couple making $60,000 per year has the same state income tax rate as a couple earning $6 million per year.
“To me, that’s inherently unfair,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.
Hensley has proposed a plan to add three more taxable income brackets to the three that already exist in the state income tax system. And he would reduce the rate for the lower three brackets.
Under his proposal, taxes for 98 percent of Kansas taxpayers would decrease, while those couples earning $200,000 or more would see a 12 percent increase in their tax liability.
The proposal, which surfaced during Senate budget and tax talks, would raise $56 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1.
Kansas legislators return for the wrap-up session on Wednesday facing an estimated $500 million revenue shortfall.
Hensley said Democrats would like to see changes in the state income tax rates as part of any tax package to address the budget crisis, especially if the state sales tax rate is increased.
Sales tax increases are a greater burden on lower-income families because they pay the same rate on necessities, such as food and clothing, as upper-income families.
Establishing graduated taxable rates on income would be more fair, mitigate the effects on low-income families from a sales tax increase and help solve the budget crisis, Hensley said.
Other changes to the state income tax that have been floated include adding a temporary 5 percent surcharge on income tax liability.