Kansas Senate Sustains Tax Hike Veto


By John Celock

The Kansas Senate voted Wednesday to sustain Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) veto of tax hike legislation, killing the bill.

The Senate voted 24-16 in an attempt to override Brownback’s veto, which was overridden earlier in the day by the state House of Representatives. Twenty-seven votes were needed to override the veto. Brownback announced the veto of legislation that would institute a new 5.45 percent state tax rate, repeal the elimination of income tax for LLC owners and institute a new tax tier.

The bill sought to reverse the tax cuts enacted by Brownback in 2012, one of the governor’s signature issues.

The Senate vote sends state lawmakers back to the drawing board on a new tax plan for the state, an issue identified by lawmakers as a top priority for this year’s legislative session. The tax issue comes as lawmakers struggle to fill a $386 million deficit in the current fiscal year and projected multimillion dollar budget deficits in coming years. Budget shortfalls have been common in the state since 2012.

Brownback had proposed new revenue in the state through a new consumption tax, along with securitization of the state’s tobacco fund. Those issues were rejected by the House Taxation Committee in the development of the tax hike legislation earlier this month. House Tax Committee Chairman Steven Johnson (R-Assaria) told the House Wednesday morning that the proposals from the governor were not sustainable long term.

The tax legislation moved forward upon pressure from moderate Republicans and Democrats, who campaigned on enacting a new tax policy for the state. The votes to override Brownback in both chambers came largely from those two groups.