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Veto Session Kicks Off

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, May 2, 2017

On Monday, the Kansas Legislature returned to finalize the 2017 session. To close shop and head home for the year, legislators must agree on three items: a biennial budget, a tax policy capable of paying for that biennial budget, and a school finance plan that includes a revenue source.

Legislators will attempt to resurrect a tax plan previously vetoed by the governor that includes a three-tiered tax bracket system, closes the LLC loophole, and stops the “glide-path” to zero income tax policy implemented in 2012. That proposal would see the highest earners pay an additional .85% per year. The main difference is that this proposal does not include a retroactive provision. The hope is to secure a 2/3 majority that would survive a gubernatorial veto. Getting to that number is tricky in the Senate.

See; KS Lawmakers on Tax Hike

See also; Legislators test interest in new tax

The state did receive some good news on Monday as April revenue numbers showed a slightly higher than projected increase. Kansas took in $1.8 million more dollars than previously forecast. This was in line with projections from the April Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, but it still leaves the state in a $900 million hole.

See; Kansas meets revenue estimate for April

The school finance issue will also play a vital role in ending the session since the Kansas Supreme Court added a June deadline to their spring decision. The basic format would be to increase school spending by $150 million each year for five years. The issue is how to pay for the increase. Sen. Jim Denning has proposed a utility tax of $3 per individual water meter and $10 for business meters. This would raise $159 million in revenue that would be earmarked for schools.

See; political article

If legislators could agree on these items in short form, they could adjourn as early as next week. However, odds-makers believe we are in for a long veto session.  We will know a lot more once the tax bill is debated by the Kansas Senate this week.

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