January 30, 2017

Rise Up, Kansas coalition formally introduces bill to enact comprehensive tax reform

TOPEKA – On Monday in the Kansas House Taxation Committee, the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG) formally introduced the “Rise Up, Kansas” proposal – a bill to enact fair, fiscally responsible, and comprehensive tax reform.

“We are energized and encouraged by the feedback we’ve received since the Rise Up coalition announced this proposal in December,” said Heidi Holliday, Kansas Center for Economic Growth Executive Director. “There is widespread agreement that current tax policy failed and badly needs an overhaul. Kansans are tired of moving from one painful budget crisis to the next. They want solutions in 2017, and the Rise Up coalition is eager to offer a possible path forward.”

The Rise Up, Kansas proposal includes the following provisions:

  • Ends the “March to Zero,” stopping the further phase out of individual income tax rates and preventing future budget crises.
  • Re-instates the top income bracket of 6.45 percent while preserving current individual income tax rates for the bottom 70 percent of earners.
  • Closes the “LLC loophole,” cleaning up the tax code and ensuring it does not benefit a select number of individuals at the expense of the common good.
  • Holds the Kansas Highway Fund harmless for the first time since Gov. Sam Brownback took office by including an increase in the state gas tax of $0.11 per gallon. The Rise Up coalition included this provision with the recommendation of 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.
  • Reduces the state sales tax on food by 1.5 percent, taking the rate from 6.5 percent to five percent.
  • Net Impact: Once fully phased in, this proposal generates approximately $820 million for the State General Fund while putting $100 million back into the pockets of Kansas families for groceries.

“There are lots of ways to modernize our tax code and and clean up this fiscal mess; the Rise Up plan is just one option,” said KCEG Senior Fellow and former state budget director Duane Goossen. “But no matter what shape tax reform ultimately takes, we implore lawmakers to demand a comprehensive approach, and to hold out for that before agreeing to any short-term budget maneuvers for the current fiscal year. Tackling comprehensive reform first is the only way to ensure that this will be the last budget crisis Kansans are forced to endure as a result of failed tax policy.”

In addition to KCEG, leaders of the Rise Up coalition include Annie McKay of Kansas Action for Children, Bob Totten of the Kansas Contractors Association, Mark Desetti of the Kansas-National Education Association, and Rebecca Proctor of the Kansas Organization of State Employees.

Read the Rise Up, Kansas bill here.

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ClayRELEASE: Rise Up, Kansas coalition formally introduces bill to enact comprehensive tax reform