Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2017

House advances bill reversing many of Brownback’s tax cuts

House Tax Committee Chairman Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Assaria, watched the tally board Wednesday Feb. 15, 2017, as the vote was taken on House Bill 2178 which he carried on the floor of the House, in Topeka, Kan. The House, with no debate, gave early approval by a robust margin Wednesday to legislation increasing personal income taxes and reinstating taxes on some businesses. (Thad Allton /The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

House Tax Committee Chairman Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Assaria, watched the tally board Wednesday Feb. 15, 2017, as the vote was taken on House Bill 2178 which he carried on the floor of the House, in Topeka, Kan. The House, with no debate, gave early approval by a robust margin Wednesday to legislation increasing personal income taxes and reinstating taxes on some businesses. (Thad Allton /The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

February 15, 2017, 12:50 p.m. Updated February 15, 2017, 5:04 p.m.

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— The Kansas House easily advanced a bill Wednesday that would reverse many of the tax cuts that Gov. Sam Brownback championed in 2012.

The 83-39 vote was one vote shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override an almost certain veto by the governor, if the bill were to reach his desk.

House Bill 2178 would repeal the so-called LLC loophole that exempts certain kinds of nonwage business income from state taxes. It would also reinstate a third income tax bracket and raise individual rates for many wage earners to generate an estimated $1.04 billion over the next two years.

The vote came unexpectedly quickly on the House floor. While many observers had expected lengthy debate and numerous amendments, none of that materialized and instead House members proceeded directly to the vote.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, who opposed the bill, said he was surprised by the margin, but he said it wasn’t clear whether that margin would be the same Thursday when the House votes on final action.

“I was a little surprised by the number of Democrats that did vote in favor. We’ll see what the number is tomorrow,” Ryckman said.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, who voted against House Bill 2178, speaks to reporters Wednesday Feb. 15, 2017, in Topeka, Kan. The House approved the bill with no debate with a robust margin. Ryckman indicated he&squot;s been working with Brownback on a package that wouldn&squot;t raise as much revenue and has "some of the things he&squot;s wanting to see." (Thad Allton /The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, who voted against House Bill 2178, speaks to reporters Wednesday Feb. 15, 2017, in Topeka, Kan. The House approved the bill with no debate with a robust margin. Ryckman indicated he's been working with Brownback on a package that wouldn't raise as much revenue and has "some of the things he's wanting to see." (Thad Allton /The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

In the end, only three Democrats voted with Republicans to oppose the bill: Reps. Tom Burroughs, of Kansas City; Tim Hodge, of Newton; and Brandon Whipple, of Wichita.

Nearly all members of the Douglas County-area delegation voted in favor of the bill. They included Democratic Reps. Barbara Ballard, Boog Highberger and John Wilson, of Lawrence; and Republican Reps. Tom Sloan, of Lawrence, and Jim Karleskint, of Tonganoxie. Rep. Ken Corbet, R-Topeka, whose district includes a small portion of southwestern Douglas County, was the only local House member to vote yes.

During a caucus meeting before the vote, House Democrats were confident the bill had enough votes to pass. Minority Leader Jim Ward, of Wichita, said the biggest fear was that conservative Republicans would offer an amendment in hopes of splitting the coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans who were supporting the bill.

One possibility was an amendment to completely repeal the tax cuts of 2012 and 2013, essentially reinstating the tax code that was in place before Brownback took office, a proposal that some Democrats said would be hard for them to vote against.

But that never materialized, and the bill ended up getting more support than most people expected.

Ryckman said he is still working with Brownback in hopes of finding a tax package he can accept. But with nearly the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto, supporters of the bill are growing less concerned about what Brownback will accept.

“I think it does send a clear message to the governor that the House is serious, and we’re going to try to fix this mess that he’s created,” said Rep. Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, the ranking Democrat on the House tax committee.

Brownback issued a statement late in the day referring to the bill as the “Democratic tax bill,” even though it came out of a Republican-controlled committee and 47 Republican House members voted for it.

“Today, the House moved forward on the Democratic tax bill that would pummel the pocketbook of middle class families,” Brownback said in the statement. “It drastically hikes taxes retroactively on workers making as little as $15,000 annually. While on the campaign trail many of these representatives pledged to raise taxes on the wealthy, but now they are attempting to tax everyday Kansans. It doesn’t have to be this way. I will continue the fight to keep your income taxes low.”

After the House takes its final vote on the tax bill Thursday, it will turn its attention to two other bills aimed at closing the projected $320-$350 million revenue shortfall in the final months of the current fiscal year’s budget.

That plan, which largely mirrors Gov. Brownback’s plan, calls for borrowing $317 million from an idle funds investment account and delaying at least part of the final $90 million quarterly payment into the state pension plan.

Ward said after the House adjourned that passage of the tax bill will make it easier for many lawmakers to vote on the budget-balancing package, despite its reliance on delayed payments and one-time sources of money.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to debate tax bills Thursday and possibly Friday.

The Senate tax committee advanced two tax bills Tuesday: one by Senate Democrats that would raise an estimated $1.2 billion over the next two years; and a smaller plan backed by Senate GOP leaders that would raise an estimated $620 million over that same period.

Comments

Jeffry Helms 4 months, 1 week ago

I don't how we are going to solve the debt with china and japan--. If the U.S. gives "sales and capital" rights to Japan or China of a Amazon 21+ smut download site that might be a good trade off for a "debt" ---maybe a parcel of land in Nevada after bringing a water source (pipe etc.) from montana for corporate farming etc.-that might work too. The united states needs to deport the medical bills and felons and keep hiv/aids families etc. from immigrating etc.-. Anal sex needs to be outlawed also-I know that sounds "anglican" or "pros" but--anal sex is not economically feasible because of the medical bills due to 90% rate chance of deadly std infection.

Jamiee Hick 4 months, 1 week ago

If you are going to attempt to troll our local newspaper "Jeffry" with your memories of you and your creepy uncle back when you were a boy atleast make it a bit harder for people to figure out you started a fake Facebook account solely to troll news sites.

his profile can be found at facebook .com /jeffry.helms take out the spaces

"Jeffry Helms"

"Jeffry Helms" by Jamiee Hick

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 1 week ago

I haven't figured out if he is a troll, or these are the voices in his head, and he is just transcribing them.

Patrick Grassy 4 months, 1 week ago

Hey, you found the dude from Midnight Oil. Only he looks even creepier now. And is much less coherent.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 1 week ago

"House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, who opposed the bill, said he was surprised by the margin, but he said it wasn’t clear whether that margin would be the same Thursday when the House votes on final action."

He is surprised that there are so many who got the message from the people they represent? And the final action will change? Why? Are you going to threaten them so they put party over Kansas?

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