Is a tax increase inevitable in Kansas?
Some anti-tax lawmakers seem to think so.
“We know the die is cast this morning,” said Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, an Olathe Republican. “We know the votes are there.”
Last night the state Senate passed a 1-cent sales tax hike, a package that will raise $314 million in annual revenue to balance the state budget. It would cost the average Kansas family $266 a year.
The legislation now moves to the House. Passage would solve the budget crisis (for a few months anyway) and likely end the session.
Lawmakers worried about the impact of a tax hike have fought the idea all session. But as the veto session drags on, it’s looking more and more like the tax will pass.
This morning opponents of the tax increase tried to force a quick vote on the bill in the hopes of killing it. The House hasn’t yet passed a budget, and proponents of the tax hike would prefer to deal with the budget first.
So Democrats suggested tabling the bill to keep it alive. Their motion to table passed 69-52 – another sign that a majority of House members are willing to support the tax hike.
Siegfreid made his comments on the House floor. He urged his colleagues to oppose the increase, which he said would hurt the economy and take money away from struggling families.
“Kansas is in really sad shape, but it’s apparent most of you really don’t care,” he said.
Look for the House to take up the tax bill as soon as they finish their budget bill, perhaps today.
Many lawmakers are pleased that the tax hike appears to be inevitable. They said the increase is the only way to eliminate the deficit without crippling school districts, social services and other programs.