Politics & Government

Kansas revenue secretary: ‘Everybody gets a tax reduction’

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Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration sought to bolster its case for lowering taxes Friday, saying every income tax payer in Kansas would see a rate reduction and that, for many, that benefit would outweigh the proposed elimination of the mortgage interest and real estate deductions.

Brownback’s income tax reduction plan will boost the state’s population and bolster its economy, and other states are trying to emulate Kansas’ pro-growth strategy, Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan said.

“Everybody gets a tax reduction,” he said.

Jordan’s news conference Friday came just days after lawmakers realized that Brownback’s plan includes the elimination of the real estate property tax deduction claimed by 372,000 homeowners in addition to elimination of the mortgage interest deduction that realtors say encourages homeownership.

Jordan said average taxpayers in the state’s biggest counties, including Sedgwick, would keep more money in their pockets despite the loss of the deductions.

Democrats disputed that, saying that cutting the deduction hurts middle and lower class Kansans.

“What the governor is proposing really is a very significant tax shift onto the middle class, onto the folks at the bottom of the income tax scale, that will benefit those at the top of the income tax scale,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.

Brownback’s plan, which is not yet available in full detail, would cut the top tax bracket from 4.9 percent to 3.5 percent in 2017 and lower the bottom tax rate from 3 percent to 1.9 percent from 2014 to 2016.

The governor’s plan would channel any growth in state revenues beyond 4 percent to a fund that would help accommodate more income tax reductions.

The plan also hinges on the state extending a temporary sales tax increase that is due to expire in this summer.

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