Senators pitched last-minute tax cut alternative; Brownback said to be uninterested

TOPEKA — A group of four moderate Republican senators proposed a new tax-cutting proposal that aims to give Gov. Sam Brownback an alternative to the deficit-producing tax bill awaiting his signature. But Senate leaders said Brownback was not interested.

Sens. Terrie Huntington, Jeff Longbine, Vicki Schmidt and Pete Brundgardt crafted the plan and brought it to Brownback, according to three senators.

Huntington confirmed the effort. But she said the Governor “was not interested.”

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said the proposal was slightly more aggressive than an alternative he and other Senate leaders proposed earlier this week. That plan was quickly rejected by House tax negotiators.

Morris said the proposal would have cut rates to 3.1 percent on married couples’ first $30,000 of income and 5.65 percent for income beyond that. It would have eliminated nonwage income tax on the first $100,000 of profits made by limited liability companies, subchapter S corporations and sole proprietorships.

“That was turned down,” Morris said.

Morris said he doesn’t expect any more efforts to produce an alternative to the bill awaiting Brownback’s signature. And he urged Brownback to veto the bill.

Brownback has already said he will sign the massive income tax reduction bill, which reduces rates for individuals and eliminates taxes on nonwage income for about thousands of businesses large and small. But Brownback continues to signal that he would prefer a compromise that phases the cuts in to ease the impact on the state’s budget.

Earlier this week, House negotiators quickly rejected three tax cut bills proposed by Senate leaders.

The plan awaiting Brownback’s signature would create deficits within a year of its implementation, and those projected deficits would grow into the hundreds of millions, forcing the state to drastically cut services unless the tax cuts produce an economic boom.

Brownback’s administration projects the tax cuts could create 23,000 new jobs on top of natural growth by 2020. But Democrats and moderate Republicans doubt those projections will be realized, and they say Kansans want property tax reduction more than income tax cuts.

The Senate balked at two other negotiated plans that would not produce deficits as large as the bill on Brownback’s desk. They’ve said that’s because even those cuts are projected to produce deficits according to analysis that does not include projected savings from the Governor’s Medicaid overhaul.

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