Eric Stafford, a lobbyist for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, argued during a House Taxation Committee hearing this week that “the small-business tax cuts are not to blame for the deficit.” He’s partially correct. Though the income tax exemption for certain business owners is costing the state about $220 million a year in lost revenue, the individual income tax rate cuts are costing much more: about $666 million this fiscal year and an estimated $774 million next year. If the state really wants to fix its budget mess, it should roll back some of those rate cuts. Such an obvious fix isn’t on the table in Topeka. However, a growing number of lawmakers are recognizing the unfairness of requiring wage earners to pay state income taxes but not certain business owners. – Phillip Brownlee
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