Now Kansas Looks to Ditch Its Income Tax

Tax cuts would be offset by sales tax, ending mortgage deduction

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 24, 2013 7:07 AM CST

(Newser) – Two weeks after Bobby Jindal proposed putting an end to state income taxes in Louisiana, Kansas appears to be headed in the same direction, albeit a little more slowly. Gov. Sam Brownback's plan, introduced yesterday, would reduce and eventually eliminate state income taxes, reports the Wichita Eagle. As of this month, the state has two income-tax brackets—4.9% and 3%; his intention is to drop those to 3.5% in 2017 and 1.9% by 2016, respectively.

But to balance Kansas' $14 billion budget, Brownback wants to maintain a 0.6-cent sales tax increase that had been scheduled to end in a few months and eliminate the real estate tax and mortgage deductions. As the New York Times observes, Kansas' House, Senate, and governor's chair are all controlled by Republicans—but the state's Republican House speaker still thinks the cuts will "be a hard sell." Supporters say trimming the income tax will create jobs, while critics argue that unlike other income-tax-less states like Florida (a tourist destination) and Texas (home to much oil), Kansas lacks a significant supplemental revenue stream.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback greets lawmakers as he enters the house chambers to deliver his State of the State address Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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