Gov. Sam Brownback told Senate leadership he would support a flat tax proposal.
A flat tax bill in the Kansas House would set an income tax rate of 5 percent. Meanwhile, a Senate tax plan would set a rate of 4.6 percent in 2018. In a statement, Brownback said if legislation similar to the Senate bill reached his desk, he would sign it.
“The Senate’s flat tax legislation creates a single low tax rate for Kansans, solving today’s budget challenges without harming economic growth in Kansas,” he said.
Both flat tax plans eliminate the LLC-tax incentive. The Senate plan increases the standard deduction. For single taxpayers, the deduction would increase from $3,000 to $6,300. For married taxpayers filing jointly, the deduction would increase from $5,500 to $9,300. It lowers the food sales tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent.
It’s a tax rate increase. According to Michael Austin, an economist with the Kansas Department of Revenue, the bill would increase taxes for a married couple without kids making $30,000 annually by $104. A married couple without kids earning $100,000 annually would see their Kansas income tax bill hiked by $335.
Jeff Glendening is the director of Americans for Prosperity-Kansas, a grassroots organization representing 50,000 activists. He said it’s not just a small increase.
“This is a pretty big tax increase,” Glendening said. “Too many Republicans are way too hungry to raise taxes. It’s amazing. I really don’t understand it.”
Glendening said he isn’t certain the bill will have the votes to pass. Conservatives might be unwilling to support legislation that grows the size of government.
“This is still a tax increase,” Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook said. “If we cut spending and adjust the rate, I might be able to vote for it.”
She campaigned as a conservative.
“I’ll feel like I’ve betrayed my constituents,” she said. “I told them that I was going to fight to lower taxes and limit government growth. This grows government.”
Brownback, however, said the legislation helps make Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and grow a business.
“A flat tax accomplishes this goal by making taxes fair for everyone and encouraging economic growth,” he said.
The Governor and Senate leadership may also have trouble garnering support from moderate Republicans and Democrats.
“I’m not sure they’re going to get the support from the moderates and the Democrats that they think they are,” Glendening said.