TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT) – The Kansas House of Representatives voted Wednesday morning to reinstate income tax for 330,000 farms and small businesses. This is part of a tax bill the body approved 83 to 39. The bill also would raise income tax on Kansans earning over $30,000 a year.
Opponents say the move could cripple an already struggling agriculture industry.
“We’re hurting right now. Everyone’s hurting. It’s not just ag, it’s all small businesses,” said Shannon Hook.
Hook runs Hook Farms east of Silver Lake with his father. According to Hook, in the five years since the tax cuts were put in place, the price of corn and soy beans have plummeted.
“We’ve cut our income in half since 2012. It was a nice break now paying the state income tax,” said Hook.
Still the house bill passed by high margins with no floor debate. Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Assaria) said he believes lawmakers have been preparing for this vote for months.
“I think a lot of folks had made up their mind somewhat on the direction as well as had some input through the committee process,” said Johnson.
The tax rates described in the bill are not set in stone. Johnson said the budget debate could help determine how much revenue needs to be brought in and what it will take to reach that goal.
The house is expected to vote on the tax bill a final time Thursday before sending it to the senate. The senate is expected to debate their own bill on Thursday.