Legislature looks to override veto on Senate tax bill
It is not a surprise but disappointing the governor vetoed Senate Bill (SB) 50. The bill would provide some relief for Kansas taxpayers by allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money. There were several items in the bill. There are too many to list but here are a few key items. It would give Kansas taxpayers the option to itemize whether they itemize on their federal return or not. The bill would also increase state standard deductions by $500 so individual deductions would increase to $3,500 and married filing jointly to $8,000. It also would allow a deduction on money spent on business meals. Additionally, it would allow net operating losses to be carried forward and would allow all to expense tangible property deductions, something corporations in Kansas can already do. It would also extend the corporate filing deadline by 30 days past the IRS deadline.
The Governor called the bill “irresponsible.” Since when is it irresponsible to lower the tax burden for Kansans, especially since taxes collected from July 2020 to March 2021 are up $232.8 million above estimates. The Department of Revenue estimates that SB 50 will decrease taxes collect by $94 million. The responsible action would be to make SB 50 the law decreasing taxpayers’ burden, especially with the hardships they have faced this past year. There will be an attempt at a veto override in early May when the legislature returns to Topeka.
The Kansas unemployment system has been one of the largest mismanaged disasters in Kansas. It did not happen overnight. It has been building for years and when the governor shut down most businesses last year, the system that had been a failure became a complete disaster. Over the years the legislature has allocated money to update the system, but it was never completed. Kansas had one of the highest numbers of known fraudulent unemployment applications in the nations. The unemployment funds have been depleted and businesses that pay unemployment tax were looking at major increased payment obligations.
Senate Substitute for House Bill (Sen Sub HB) 2196 addresses all these issues. Rep. Sean Tarwater lead the effort and I was glad to help. We spent many hours on this legislation. It is unique because we were trying to mandate a new unemployment system. The bill establishes an oversight council that is a major stakeholder in the project to help keep the system update on target. The bill also changes the tax table for businesses and shores up funds with federal corona virus relief aid. The bill passed both chambers unanimously.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.