Defying the governor and GOP leaders, Kansas lawmakers abandon a tax cut package (Part-1).

Topeka — Democrats ignored a personal appeal from Kansas' Democratic governor and Republicans defied GOP leaders to kill a tax cut bill Thursday.  

The state House rejected a three-year tax cut of $1.4 billion. Gov. Laura Kelly and top GOP lawmakers made a deal, but the House voice-voted to have House and Senate negotiators write a separate plan. The vote was so overwhelming that House members didn't request a tally or roll call.  

Republican critics called the plan too small. Others, largely Democrats, said it favored rich taxpayers by lowering the state's top personal income tax rate to 5.5% from 5.7%. Both parties' lawmakers thought it decreased property taxes too little.  

Let us rise up and be united and send a message that Kansans deserve more,” conservative central Kansas Republican state Rep. Stephen Owens said during the House's brief discussion to reject the legislation.  

After the Senate approved the measure 38-1, the House acted, which is usually a good sign. Many House Democrats planned to vote “no” coming in, and House Republicans had a private meeting outside the Statehouse earlier to pressure their colleagues.  

Wichita Republican Senate President Ty Masterson says the Legislature won't examine another tax bill this week. The Legislature will adjourn Friday for a three-week spring break and reconvene April 29 to finish the year. Another tax proposal could be discussed, said Masterson.

Kansas' events occurred two weeks after Georgia's Republican-controlled Legislature lowered personal and corporate income taxes, which Kemp supported. Kansas has a large budget surplus, anticipated at over $4 billion by June 2025, like Georgia.  

According to the conservative Tax Foundation, a dozen other states cut their income tax rates last year, but Republican leaders and Kelly disagreed on a GOP proposal for a single-rate, “flat” income tax, which Kelly said would benefit the “super wealthy.”  

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