Kansas lawmakers recently passed a $1.1 billion tax increase that was vetoed by Gov. Brownback last week. The Kansas House subsequently overrode the veto with a vote of 85-40, but the override fell three votes short in the state senate, preventing the largest tax hike in state history from going into effect.
Had the legislature been able to override Gov. Brownback’s veto, Sunflower State residents would have seen their personal income tax burden increase as much as 18 percent. The income tax exemption that was enacted in 2012 for over 330 thousand farmers and job creators in the state would have also been eliminated.
“This punitive, retroactive tax increase on Kansas workers and families would have cut Kansans’ pay almost immediately,” Gov. Brownback said in a statement after the effort to override his veto died in the senate. “We will continue to work with legislative leadership to develop a balanced budget. I encourage them to find savings in the state’s budget before asking Kansans to find savings in theirs.”
Eric Stafford, a vice president of the Kansas Chamber, also noted in written testimony to Kansas lawmakers that the 2012 tax cuts need more time to spur economic growth.
“We know the tax cuts have attracted businesses to Kansas and now we’re looking to change the rules on them just a few short years later,” he wrote.
This bill came on the heels of the 2015 record tax hikes—which hit the state’s most vulnerable populations the hardest by slapping higher taxes on cigarettes and increasing the sales tax burden. Unfortunately, had the senate found the votes to override Gov. Brownback’s veto last week, Kansas residents would have been hit with another round of job-killing, income-reducing tax hikes.
As noted by Senator Ty Masterson, a Republican who voted against the override, this bill failed because “it was not for the people of Kansas.”
“This bill is to take from the people of Kansas to make our decision-making on spending easier,” Sen. Masterson said shortly before the Senate voted.
Kansas lawmakers now head back to the drawing board to look for a way to rectify their $1.1 billion overspending problem.
“Raising taxes is what lawmakers do instead of reforming government,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “After being hit with 20 federal Obamacare tax increases, and a round of state tax hikes in 2015, the last thing individuals, families, and employers across Kansas need is for lawmakers to pile on with further state tax hike. I urge lawmakers to put spending in line with available revenues without taking more hard-earned income from Kansas taxpayers.”