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Kansas House Committee Advances Sales Tax Increase


There’s a new tax plan headed for debate in the Kansas House. A legislative committee has advanced a proposal that would focus on sales taxes to fill a budget hole of more than $400 million. 

The bill relies mostly on increasing the Kansas sales tax rate from 6.15 percent to 6.85 percent. It also reduces or eliminates most tax deductions. Republican Representative Kasha Kelley, one of the plan’s authors, would prefer more spending cuts but says sales tax is another option.

“You purchase a lot, you’re taxed more. You purchase less, you’re taxed less. So if you have to go with tax, it is the fairest,” say Kelley.

The bill also lowers the sales tax rate on food and drops the lowest income tax rate to help ease the impact on lower-income Kansans. But Democratic Representative Tom Sawyer says the changes will still hit low-income Kansans.

“We’re still taxing food very highly and the increase in the sales tax nickel-and-dimes people to death, and it’s unfair when you have 330,000 business owners paying zero income tax,” says Sawyer.

Some other plans do include changes to business income tax rates.

This story is from Kansas Public Radio.

Stephen Koranda is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for Kansas Public Radio.