Politics & Government

Finding that perfect someone could cost more in Kansas under tax bill

MCT

Finding your perfect match in Kansas may soon cost more.

A bill under consideration in the House Tax Committee would tax dating services, such as online services, along with a host of other services, such as vehicle towing, security guards, barber shops and parking garages.

The legislation would require the businesses to pay sales taxes to the state. A fiscal analysis of the bill from the state budget office estimates the change would generate about $22 million next fiscal year and $43 million the year after.

Kansas faces a $1.1 billion budget gap over the next two years, far larger than the revenue that would be generated by the bill. But supporters of the legislation said it would broaden the tax base, with the hope that eventually sales tax rates could be lowered on all businesses.

“This is a sales tax that evens the playing field,” said Rep. Kristey Williams, R-Augusta.

Businesses that provide services listed in the bill are providing something to the customer in the same way a business that sells physical products does, Williams said. She questioned whether those services were intended to be excluded when the sales tax was adopted decades ago.

The proposal is one of several under consideration in the House Tax Committee. A bill to impose a single income tax rate garnered little support during a hearing on Monday.

Opponents on Tuesday said the bill would impose sales tax on business-to-business transactions. The bill would tax janitorial services and security system services, for example.

The National Federation of Independent Business said the business-to-business services that would be taxed contribute to a business’ ability to operate. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s greatest fear is that the bill opens the door to taxing professional services, said Eric Stafford, the organization’s vice president of government affairs.

Legal representation, architecture, engineering and accounting are all typically considered professional services.

As for the tax on dating services?

“I’m concerned about anything that affects our young people,” said Rep. John Alcala, D-Topeka.

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman

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