The Kansas House rejected a rollback of Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax cuts late Tuesday, minutes after the Senate passed the bill.
The bill’s success and then quick failure illustrated the continuing difficulties lawmakers are having as they seek a solution to a budget shortfall.
A bipartisan coalition of senators approved House Bill 2067 in a 26-14 vote. The House voted down the bill 37-85 less than an hour later.
The House spent less than 10 minutes debating the bill.
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"We’re never leaving," Rep. Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, told reporters as she left the House chamber a few minutes after midnight.
When the House vote began, the count stood at 59-59. Bills require 63 votes to pass and once it became clear it could not reach that threshold, lawmakers began changing their yes votes to no.
House Majority Leader Don Hineman, R-Dighton, would not comment after the failed vote.
In the Senate, Democrats joined with moderate Republicans and some members of Senate Republican leadership to move the bill across the line, but the vote total was short of the 27 votes that would have been needed to override a veto by Brownback.
"We need to get Kansas back on a somewhat structurally balanced budget," said Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park.
Denning said the bill could make the state budget "semi-stable."
"At the end of the day, we’ve got to start some place. It’s the 102nd day of the session, people (are) wondering what the heck is going on," said Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City.
The bill the Senate passed Tuesday would have raised more than $1.2 billion over the next two fiscal years by ending Brownback’s tax exemption for roughly 330,000 business owners and boosting income tax rates.
It would have restored a third income tax bracket eliminated in Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts.
Tax rates would have begun to increase this year. The rates would have been phased in, rising first to 2.9 percent, 4.9 percent and 5.2 percent.
By tax year 2018, the tax rates would have risen to and remained at 3.1 percent for the lowest bracket, 5.25 percent for the middle rate and 5.7 for the highest rate.
The Sales Tax and Revenue Bond Financing Act, referred to as STAR bonds, would also have been extended under the proposal.
Kansas faces a budget shortfall of roughly $900 million over two years. That does not include any additional education spending that lawmakers may approve as part of a new school funding formula.
"The reality is we need a massive tax increase to pay for the addition in school finance and structurally fix our budget," said Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia.
Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, vented his frustrations about the tax increases and how it would impact the state’s budget during the floor debate.
"I’m at a loss," he said.
Sen. Dennis Pyle, R-Hiawatha, held up a $100 bill during a speech against the bill. Saying the cash represented property, he argued that when lawmakers take more property, they crumble people’s rights.
"It’s going to be a very burdensome tax increase," Pyle said.
The House debated a similar bill a week ago, but voted it down, 53-68. Most Democrats and many conservative Republicans did not support the measure.
House Bill 2067 was the first tax bill to pass a legislative chamber since February.
Neither the House nor the Senate had been able to pass a tax bill since House Bill 2178 early in the session. The bill would have raised about $1.1 billion over two years, less than the plan Monday.
Brownback vetoed HB 2178. An effort to override his veto fell three votes short in the Senate.
Contributing: Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star
How they voted
Here’s how area lawmakers voted on a bill to roll back the 2012 tax cuts. The measure failed in the House, 37-85, after passing the Senate 26-14.
Democrats voting yes: Tom Sawyer, Wichita; Steven Crum, Haysville.
Republicans voting yes: Steven Becker, Buhler; Martha Good, El Dorado
Democrats voting no: Elizabeth Bishop, John Carmichael, Gail Finney, Henry Helgerson, KC Ohaebosim, Ponka-We Victor, Jim Ward, Brandon Whipple, Wichita; Tim Hodge, North Newton; Patsy Terrell, Hutchinson; Ed Trimmer, Winfield
Republicans voting no: Leo Delperdang, Roger Elliott, Daniel Hawkins, Susan Humphries, Greg Lakin, Brenda Landwehr, Les Osterman, Chuck Weber, Wichita; Doug Blex, Independence; Blake Carpenter, Derby; Pete DeGraaf, Mulvane; Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater; Steve Huebert, Valley Center; Anita Judd-Jenkins, Arkansas City; Les Mason, McPherson; Don Schroeder, Hesston; Joe Seiwert, Pretty Prairie; Jack Thimesch, Cunningham; Kristey Williams, Augusta
Absent and not voting: John Whitmer, R-Wichita
Democrats voting yes: Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Lynn Rogers, Wichita
Republicans voting yes: Ed Berger, Hutchinson; Bruce Givens, El Dorado; Dan Kerschen, Garden Plain; Carolyn McGinn, Sedgwick
Republicans voting no: Mike Petersen, Gene Suellentrop, and Susan Wagle, Wichita; Ty Masterson, Andover; Richard Wilborn, McPherson; Larry Alley, Winfield.