Deadlock broken; tax increases pass

The House passed the largest tax increase in Kansas history in the dark hours of Friday morning – clawing past tears and fatigue to endorse a measure to fill the state’s budget hole after the governor warned of imminent fiscal calamity.

The Republican-dominated chamber approved two bills that in combination would hike sales taxes and cigarette taxes, while limiting the power of cities and counties to raise property taxes.

Lawmakers have been struggling for weeks to find a path forward that raises the approximately $400 million in revenue the state needs to balance its budget. The House finally crossed the finish line just after 4 a.m. after a debate that began at about 1 a.m., and after the vote was left open two hours.

In a 63-45 vote, lawmakers approved House Bill 2109 — the core bill and the more controversial of the two measures. The legislation passed with exactly the number of votes necessary.

The other, Senate Bill 270, was approved 63-44. Because of how the tax deal is structured, the Senate must now approve Senate Bill 270. Senators are scheduled to meet later Friday morning.

To read the entire article, click here.

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