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Kansas Governor unveils bipartisan tax cut package proposal

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Tom Joyce

(The Center Square) - Kansas lawmakers want to cut taxes.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is working with state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle early in the 2024 legislative session to get a wide-ranging tax cut proposal signed into law. Over three years, it would save the state's residents over $1 billion.

“As Kansans feel the pain of rising costs, it’s clear that we need to cut taxes. This plan provides relief for middle-class Kansans, is fiscally responsible, and keeps seniors and families in their homes – which is why it’s garnered bipartisan support,” Kelly said. “The other tax proposal out there – the flat tax – does relatively little for the middle class. Kansans have seen how reckless tax experiments work out, and they don’t want to go back to the days of four-day school weeks, crumbling roads, and crippling debt.” 

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Here are the components of the plan Kelly backs.

The bipartisan proposal would exempt the first $100,000 in state property taxes for all Kansans homeowners, saving homeowners about $100 million per year. It would result in 370,000 Kansas homeowners paying under $20 per year in state property tax.

“I congratulate Governor Kelly for including in her proposal raising the exemption for the 20 mill statewide school levy to $100,000 of appraised value,” Kansas House minority leader Vic Miller, D-Topeka, said in the press release. “This is a great first step to providing long-overdue property tax relief to beleaguered Kansas homeowners.” 

The largest component of the plan would eliminate state income tax on Social Security income; Kansas is one of just 11 states that taxes Social Security benefits. Making this change would save Kansas residents over $525 million in the first five years of the plan.

“Kansans work hard to be able to retire and should be able to enjoy that time without worrying about how to make ends meet,” state Senator Dennis Pyle, I-Hiawatha, said. “There’s no reason for Kansas to remain a state that taxes its retirees. I’ve signed onto this plan because eliminating the tax on Social Security benefits is a commonsense way retired Kansans can stay close to family and not feel the need to move out of the state for tax relief.”  

Also, the plan would increase the standard deduction for most Kansas residents. It proposes an increase from $3,500 to $5,000 for singles, $6,000 to $7,500 for heads of households, and $8,000 to $10,000 for those married filing jointly. Doing this would save Kansans over $200 million in three years. 

“Working, middle-class Kansans deserve our support as they feel the pinch between their wages and the rising cost of living,” state Senator Rob Olson, R-Olathe, said. “By increasing the standard deduction, this bill lightens the tax burden on individuals and families while ensuring our budget stays balanced.” 

Plus, the plan would eliminate the state's sales tax on groceries, diapers, and feminine hygiene products.

“Kansans need us to deliver responsible tax relief that will help them afford their groceries and other necessities,” state representative Brandon Woodard, D-Lenexa, said. “The immediate elimination of the food sales tax is a commonsense plan that will put more money back into Kansans pockets now, instead of waiting until 2025.” 

The proposal also doubles the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. The credit helps parents pay for child and dependent care while attending work or school. The increase would save families $18 million over three years.

“This is commonsense tax policy that will provide relief to all Kansas taxpayers. In particular, it will help more parents access affordable, high-quality child care,” state Senate minority leader Dinah Sykes, D-Lenexa, said. “Child care is hard to find and hard to afford for too many Kansas families. That holds back moms and dads – and our economy. The child care tax credit included in this proposal is a win-win, helping employers attract better job candidates and ensuring all Kansans have the freedom to participate in our workforce.” 

Additionally, the plan includes a proposed back-to-school sales tax holiday in August. The four-day sales tax holiday would help lower the cost of clothing, school supplies, computers, and software, according to the release. Over three years, it would save residents nearly $15 million.

“Our students must have the tools necessary to succeed in the classroom and be productive members of society and our workforce,” state Senator John Doll, R-Garden City, said. “Creating the sales tax holiday on school supplies and goods ensures Kansas students are prepared for a new school year, and all their future may hold.”  

One can view the proposed tax cuts here.