Topeka — A tax package that probably includes an increase in the state sales tax will be unveiled today as legislators try to close a $500 million budget gap.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee fine-tuned its spending plan Thursday.
“We have to know what the ending number is out of this legislation,” said Chairman Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg.
The committee has before it a long list of ways to generate more revenue, including dedicating all of a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax to the state’s all-purpose general fund, instead of diverting a portion of it for highways, and moving up the starting time of an increase from July 1 to June 1. The state sales tax rate is now 5.3 cents per dollar.
The Legislature this week started its wrap-up session facing an estimated $500 million revenue shortfall.
Over the past year, nearly $1 billion in state spending has been cut.
The Ways and Means Committee considered several budget adjustments that could reduce the need for taxes by nearly $280 million.
But several committee members questioned whether some of the proposals were realistic.
For example, one proposal involved hiring a private company to contain Medicaid expenses by $40 million.
Several committee members said they doubted that much could be found because the state already has several agencies and offices watching Medicaid expenditures.