Bryan Ramsdale
January 31, 2017 

An advocacy group introduced a bill into the Kansas House Taxation Committee Monday, with a goal of making Kansas more financially responsible.

The Rise Up Kansas coalition says Governor Sam Brownback’s tax policies have failed the state and no longer adequately provide funding for key programs.

“We believe that there is broad support for comprehensive tax reform in both the House and Senate,” said Heidi Holliday of Rise Up Kansas.

The group has five key ways it thinks it can fix the Kansas budget; which currently has a projected multi-million dollar deficit. Here is an excerpt from the Rise Up Kansas website:

“End the “March to Zero,” stopping the eventual elimination of the individual income tax and preventing future budget crises.  Re-instate the top income bracket of 6.45% for single filers earning $40,000 a year or more ($80,000 for married couples), turning the tax code “right side up” so everyone chips in.  Close the “LLC loophole,” cleaning up the tax code and ensuring it’s not benefiting a select number of Kansans at the expense of the common good by ending the ability for taxpayers to shield business pass thru income from taxation. Hold the Kansas Highway Fund harmless for the first time since Gov. Sam Brownback took office by temporarily diverting the 4/10 of a cent sales tax currently dedicated to the State Highway Fund to the State General Fund for a period of three years while also pairing the sweep with an equivalent increase in the state gas tax of $0.11 per gallon.  Reduce the state sales tax on food by 1.5 percent, taking the rate from 6.5 percent to five percent.”

Several of the proposals have been considered before, but the addition of an increased gas tax and decreased sales tax on food is new.

Rise Up Kansas explains if the government keeps taking money from the state highway fund, it wants the state’s gasoline tax to increase 11 cents a gallon to pay for road repairs.

“It’s a safety issue,” Holliday said. Worried about road conditions deteriorating, Holiday added the tax would be necessary to keep roads maintained.

State highway funds being used for other projects has become an issue. The added tax would give Kansas have the highest gas tax in the entire Midwest and Plains states.

A decreased tax on food would mean sales tax at grocery stores would drop from 6.5 percent to five percent.

House Taxation Committee members say they are considering the plan, as well as others.

Read more from KAKE here.

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