Tax negotiations to resume at Kansas Statehouse

05/21/2013 12:06 PM

08/08/2014 10:17 AM

A week after House Republicans offered a compromise tax plan, Senate Republicans Tuesday said they’d make a compromise pitch of their own in hopes of breaking the stalemate.

The movement came Tuesday morning as House and Senate Republicans agreed to let their tax and budget negotiators meet again after nearly a week of political posturing that resulted in little more than bickering.

Many lawmakers are pushing for a way to pay for the massive income tax rate reductions and elimination of nonwage income taxes for more than 191,000 businesses signed into law last year before they reach agreement on budgets.

“We’ve got to get a tax plan together,” Wichita Republican Sen. Les Donovan said. “If your kids don’t know what their allowance is, how do they know what they can spend?”

Gov. Sam Brownback said he met with legislative leaders Tuesday morning, but he declined to discuss details of those conversations.

“Everybody has to compromise a little bit to get there,” he said.

He declined to say whether he would compromise on his proposed extension of the 6.3 percent sales tax rate that is at the core of the dispute between many House members, who want to let it fall to 5.7 percent in July as scheduled, and the Senate, which has approved Brownback’s idea to keep the rate elevated.

Baldwin City Democratic Sen. Tom Holland, who ran against Brownback for governor in 2010, said no one has provided him any detail on what he and other tax negotiators are slated to discuss Tuesday afternoon. Like other lawmakers, he said he has been kept out of private discussions among top Republican leaders.

“I’m rather curious to see what type of magic they work up in their new offer,” he said.

Holland said he thinks the House should just approve the Senate’s budget and go home without extending the sales tax or other tax policy to help fill in the budget problems the state will face if it doesn’t bring in new revenue.

“Let the people decide what they’d like tax policy to do,” he said. “This negotiating of tax policy behind closed doors, this is doing the Koch brothers’ bidding. This isn’t doing the people’s bidding.”

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