Republican lawmakers remain at odds over income taxes


Some are calling for the return to 2012 tax policies, but that all comes down to a battle of philosophy, with the average Kansans caught in the middle

“We’re not going to take a serious look at trying to raise taxes,” said Rep. Marvin Kleeb, Chair of the House Taxation Committee.

“This is a dire situation given the state of the economy,” said Marge Arhens, Co-President of Kansas League of Women Voters.

The League is a non-partisan group that typically doesn’t take a strong stance on partisan issues, but they have a clear message for lawmakers now.

“To think that our legislators might choose to go back with even more of a regressive tax, like the sales tax, which hurts the poor more, is just really unthinkable,” said Arhens.

Citing recent studies by the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, Arhens says the poorest Kansans are paying more in taxes than the wealthiest one percent.

She says the tax policy is to blame, but many Republicans still believe the policy is what’s best for Kansas in the long run.

“We did have over 8,800 new businesses file taxes in tax year 20-13. Business is strong out there, a lot of new companies are starting others are moving here,” said Rep. Kleeb.

Many Republicans like Kleeb say that growth is a direct result of Governor Sam Brownback’s tax policy, and they don’t want to change it.

But the party is clearly split over how to fix budget shortfall.

Senate President Susan Wagle and House Speaker Ray Merrick have openly stated portions of the tax plan will be up for reconsideration, especially the small business tax that has gotten the state into so much trouble. That’s all the League of Women voters asks, “That our Representatives consider the real needs of our common good,” said Arhens.

Now they want to see lawmakers follow through.

Rep. Kleeb says we can expect to see specifics on how the budget shortfall will be filled sometime around the middle of next week.

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