Douglas County legislators today offered a preview of what may be one of most contentious debates in the 2012 legislative session — a proposal by Gov. Sam Brownback to decrease the state personal income tax.
State Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City, the leading Democrat in the Senate on tax issues, said elimination of the personal income tax, which provides nearly one-half of state budget revenue, will result in increases in local sales and property taxes, shifting the tax burden from the wealthiest Kansans to the middle class.
But state Rep. TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, said states that have reduced their state income tax have seen economic growth. She said Boeing Co. left Kansas for two states that do not have a state income tax.
State Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, however noted that Boeing company executives have said the existence of a state income tax in Kansas was not the reason the company announced it was closing its Wichita defense plant.
Brownback, a Republican, has said he wants to reduce the state personal income tax, but has not provided details. His office has said he will unveil the tax plan during his State of the State speech on Wednesday.
Both the House and Senate will gavel in the 2012 session at 2 p.m. today.
The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce this morning hosted a question and answer session with Douglas County legislators.Those legislators attending were state senators Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Holland, and representatives Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, and Gregory and Mah.