Topeka Nearly a week after the House approved and Gov. Sam Brownback said he would sign into law a budget-busting tax cut, legislators on Tuesday resumed talks aimed at forming an alternative package.
But the discussion between House and Senate negotiators didn't get far.
State Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, presented a scaled-down tax cut proposal that he said Senate leaders approved, but the House's lead tax negotiator state Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, rejected it.
The two sides, however, agreed to meet again later today.
It was the first meeting of the House-Senate tax conference committee since Wednesday when the House approved a bill that would reduce personal income tax rates and phase out non-wage income taxes for nearly 200,000 businesses.
Critics of the bill said it would benefit mostly the wealthy at the expense of low wage earners while robbing funds from schools, social services and public safety.
A projection by the Kansas Legislative Research Department showed the plan would start producing budget shortfalls within a year, growing to a range of $2.5 billion to $3 billion in 2018. The current state revenue fund is about $6.2 billion.
Even so, Brownback said he was prepared to sign the bill into law, although adding he preferred a plan that had been earlier put together by the House-Senate tax conference committee that was less aggressive.
Brownback had urged the House to approve the larger tax cut, saying that was needed to get Senate leaders to negotiate. The maneuvering on tax cuts and redistricting has produced bad feelings among many legislators.
Under the proposal laid out by Donovan, the top income tax rate would drop from 6.45 percent to 6 percent, and the lower one would decrease from 3.5 percent to 3.25 percent. The plan approved by the House would drop the top rate to 4.9 percent and decrease the lower rate to 3 percent.