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Some value in Kansas Senate’s flat-tax debate

A flat-tax bill went down in flames Thursday in the Kansas Senate – and appropriately so. A flat tax would disproportionately hurt lower-income Kansans, and this particular bill would not have done enough to cover the state’s revenue shortfall. But the bill did get Gov. Sam Brownback and several conservative lawmakers to express support for repealing the tax exemption on pass-through business income. What’s more, that repeal would have been retroactive – which they opposed in a previous tax bill that Brownback vetoed. The flat tax bill also acknowledged the need for more tax revenue – a point that upset anti-tax groups such as Americans for Prosperity. So while the bill suffered a predictable defeat, the debate had some value. – Phillip Brownlee

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