Negotiators set, then cancel, meeting on tax-cut compromise

TOPEKA — House and Senate negotiators plan to meet today to tweak an agreement they reached about a week ago in hopes of sending Gov. Sam Brownback a more palatable bill.

Brownback has waiting on his desk a tax-cutting bill that would eliminate nonwage income taxes on 191,000 businesses in the state and lower individual income tax rates. But projections show it could put the state in a $2 billion or more deficit by 2017. Brownback has said he can make it work and that he is prepared to sign it. But he also said he would prefer a bill negotiated by a House-Senate conference committee.

Wichita Republican Sen. Les Donovan said today that the tax conference committee will meet again and make some changes to the proposal that Republican negotiators agreed on. That plan calls for more modest tax cuts: phased in cuts for nonwage business income tax, slightly lower individual income tax cuts and property tax relief. The proposal already shows it would leave a budget surplus through 2017.

Last week, the Senate was about to vote on the negotiated tax plan. But House leaders heard the Senate would kill the bill and quickly approved the larger tax cut bill that senators said they had approved only to allow for negotiations on a tax plan.