A legislative committee on Monday recommended lawmakers consider new state transportation plans that would increase taxes.
The proposals will be sent to the 2010 Legislature, which starts Jan. 11.
The special House-Senate committee forwarded two options.
One option would reduce the motor fuels tax by 5 cents per gallon, but apply the state sales tax of 5.3 cents per dollar on motor fuels purchases. That would raise $4 billion over 10 years.
The other option would increase the motor fuels tax by 7 cents per gallon and then enact further increases based on the Consumer Price Index. That would raise $3.7 billion over 10 years.
Under both scenarios, the tax increases would not take effect until 2013. The plans would also increase car and truck registration fees.
Any final plan would have to be approved by the Legislature.
The committee had a vigorous debate over whether to push the options forward.
Several members said they didn’t want to increase taxes, while supporters of the recommendation said they simply wanted to get a plan before the rest of the Legislature.
“The primary purpose of any recommendation is to provide information to our colleagues, stimulate discussion and get feedback from them,” said state Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood.
The Kansas treasury will receive approximately $40 million as part of negotiations in disputed tax cases, Kansas Department of Revenue Joan Wagon said Monday.
“I think we got the best deal for the taxpayers,” Wagnon said. “We did not have a fire sale,” she said.
The news comes as state agencies struggle to deal with budget cuts amid dwindling tax revenues.
Auditors and attorneys for the Revenue Department helped clear disputed coporate income tax, sales tax and privilege tax cases.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, issued a news release staking out his opposition to immigration legislation “that would create an amnesty program rewarding illegal immigration.”
“Once again, the Obama Administration is proposing a disastrous idea that will further bankrupt the country. Amnesty legislation would just encourage more illegal immigration,” said Moran, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
Reports out of Washington over the past few days have indicated the Obama administration wants to start work on immigration reform, but that the issue may have to wait because of other domestic priorities -- the economy and health care -- the divisiveness of the subject, and the upcoming mid-term elections in November.
A bill in the House would grant permanent resident status to unauthorized immigrants who pay a $500 fine, learn English and pass background checks. It also seeks to strengthen the border area.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill, said of his proposal, “It keeps families together, but understands we must secure our borders. It keeps people working, but understands the needs of our economy. It gives a pathway to citizenship, but understands that immigrants must learn English, pay taxes and contribute to their communities.”
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, is expected to unveil his proposal this month.
Moran is vying for the Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who is running for governor. Moran faces U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, in the GOP primary in August.