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Archive for Sunday, January 30, 2011

Capitol Briefing: Sen. Dick Kelsey files legislation to overhaul Kansas tax system

January 30, 2011

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Kelsey unveils tax plan

State Sen. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, has filed legislation to overhaul the Kansas tax system. He said his plan would make the system more fair and remain revenue neutral.

The measure expands the state sales tax base but eliminates the corporate income tax over two years, removes the state sales tax on food, reduces personal income taxes and eliminates the 1-cent sales tax increase approved last year.

“I believe my proposal will make our tax system more fair and more business-friendly, which will create jobs,” Kelsey said.

It also applies the reduced sales tax rate to services, excluding health care services. The rate would be added to professional, scientific and technical services, administrative and support services, and personal care and tax services.

Mum's the word on Sunflower power plant

State employees have been told by Gov. Sam Brownback’s office not to speak publicly on the proposed coal-burning power plant in southwestern Kansas because the permit for the plant has been challenged in court by the Sierra Club. Rick Brunetti, director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Air, told members of the House Energy and Utilities Committee, that Brownback’s general counsel Caleb Stegall has asked that any questions pertaining to the permit sought by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. be referred to Stegall.

Lobbying costs may rise

The army of lobbyists that follows legislators around would see a big fee increase under Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal.

That’s because Brownback proposes taking away $230,000 from the Kansas Governmental Ethic Commission in state funding. The agency would have to make that up through increases in its fees.

That means tripling fees for lobbyists.

For example, a lobbyist who spends more than $1,000 wining and dining legislators pays $300 per year to register as a lobbyist with the state. That would go up to $900. The commission is also looking at increased fees for political action committees and candidate filing.

Quote of the week

“There is a strong desire among the extreme right wing of the Republican Party to get their pound of flesh from university and state employees.”

— House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence, speaking about a proposed 7.5 percent state employee pay cut that was authored by Republicans.

What’s next:

9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday: hearing on HB 2067, voter photographic identification requirement, before House Elections Committee, 546-South, Capitol.

3:30 p.m. Monday: hearing on HB 2091, decreasing state sales tax, before House Tax Committee, room 783, Docking Building

8:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday: hearings on bills dealing with changes in unemployment compensation, before Senate Commerce Committee, 548-South, Capitol.

10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday: hearing on SB 54, allowing groceries and convenience stores to sell full-strength alcoholic beverages, before Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, 548-South, Capitol.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday: hearing on HB 2006, repeal of in-state tuition for certain undocumented students, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, 346-South, Capitol.

1:30 p.m. Wednesday: hearing on HB 2059, requiring second-hand stores to verify identity of sellers and record such information, 144-South, Capitol.

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