Topeka A House-Senate conference committee started work Tuesday on negotiating legislation that contained hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed tax cuts.
“We do want to make substantive changes in Kansas tax law to grow the economy,” said Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, who is chair of the House tax committee.
Across the table from him was the Senate tax chair, Les Donovan, R-Wichita. He agreed with Carlson, adding he wanted to pass a tax plan that “harms the fewest people possible and benefits the most.” But Donovan added, “I don’t think we’re ready to make an omelet yet.”
Cutting taxes is also one of Gov. Sam Brownback’s top priorities and he pushed hard to get the Senate to approve a bill so the conference committee process could start.
Both the House and Senate have approved different tax-cutting proposals, so now the two sides will work to see if they can reconcile differences.
Democrats have opposed both plans and Brownback’s proposal, saying the plans would benefit the wealthy the most and rob state funding from critical needs, such as education and social services.
Both House and Senate plans would eliminate taxes on non-wage income for nearly 200,000 businesses, although the House proposal would phase in the reduction.
Both plans would reduce state income taxes and increase the standard deduction for head of households and married, filing jointly. The Senate plan cuts income taxes quicker, while the House plan would provide further income tax reductions if state revenues grew by more than 3 percent.
Another big difference is the House plan would repeal the state sales tax on food, while the Senate plan would keep in place the Earned Income Tax Credit. The House plan would cut the EITC in half.
The House plan would reduce revenue to the state by $370 million in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1; another $489 million in the year after that; and $492 million in the next year. The Senate plan reduces revenue to the state by $233 million in the next fiscal year; $829 million the year after that, and $851 million the following year.