Kansas taxes

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Kansas Rep. Stephanie Clayton (R-Overland Park) talks about presidential politics, schools, and tax policy.


Meet Democrats Bill Hutton and Don Terrien competing to oust incumbent Republican Senator Steve Fitzgerald to represent Kansas Senate District 5.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

  On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Kansas Rep. Stephanie Clayton (R-Overland Park) talks about presidential politics, schools, and tax policy.


Conservative Republican Sen. Forrest Knox faces voters in Gridley, Kansas.
Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The 2016 election could be a tough one for some Kansas lawmakers hoping to return to the Statehouse.

Polls, editorials and reader comments on news websites indicate that voters are paying attention to what’s happening in Topeka, and many don’t like what they’re seeing.

Both top KU coaches, David Beaty (left) and Bill Self, have LLCs that reduce the amount they owe in Kansas income taxes.
KCUR 89.3/CC

Among the nearly 334,000 Kansas businesses that owe no state income taxes thanks to the Brownback administration’s 2012 tax cuts is one called BCLT II, LLC.

BCLT II happens to be owned by Bill Self, the legendary University of Kansas men’s basketball head coach.

Under his 2012 contract with KU, Self pulls down a salary of $230,000 a year. But that’s just a small part of his compensation.

KHI News Service file photo

The Kansas House shot down a plan to return some 330,000 Kansas businesses back to the income tax rolls Friday, voting 45-74 on the measure.

A tax conference committee made up of House and Senate negotiators agreed to push the measure forward for a floor vote as the Legislature tries to close a budget gap, adjourn the session and head back to the campaign trail.

Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Kansas officials got the bad news they were expecting Wednesday.

After reading the economic tea leaves and noting that state tax collections have been short of expectations in 11 of the past 12 months, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group reduced its revenue projections for this budget year and the next by $228.6 million.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Estimates for Kansas tax collections were ratcheted down sharply Wednesday. The state’s projected revenues dropped by a quarter billion dollars over the next year-and-a-half. That leaves Kansas with a budget deficit, and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing plans for erasing the shortfall.

Kansas will need to find $140 million in the current fiscal year to get out of the red. Next fiscal year, which starts in July, will need another $151 million in cuts or new revenue. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, laid out three options for filling the hole.

Kansas Legislature

The vice chairman of the Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee says he's been told by Gov. Sam Brownback that the governor might consider rolling back a major portion of his signature 2012 tax cut bill.

Sen. Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend Podcast this weekend and told host Sam Zeff that Brownback might not veto a bill that would close the loophole that allows more then 300,000 small businesses in Kansas to avoid state income tax.

Megan Hart / Heartland Health Monitor

Three influential Republican state senators Tuesday introduced a bill to repeal a controversial business tax exemption approved as part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s 2012 income tax cuts.

Sen. Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said the measure is needed to close a tax “loophole” that is costing “at least $250 million” a year and wreaking havoc with the state budget.

“It continues to make the budget unstable,” Denning said in a news release. “Given the rapid deterioration of the budget, I believe we have the votes to close the loophole and send the bill to the governor.”

A study released last month by Wichita State University found that Kansas'  sales tax pushes shoppers across state and county lines in order to save money on food. Kansas is one of only 14 states that includes groceries in the state sales tax.

For this 50th episode, we recorded Statehouse Blend live in front of a studio audience at Westport Flea Market. We explore the most pressing issues of 2016 with KCUR's Sam Zeff and Steve Kraske, and with guests Republican Rep. John Rubin and Democratic Rep. John Wilson.


  • John Rubin, Representative from District 014, Kansas Legislature
  • John Wilson, Representative from, Kansas Legislature 
  • Steve Kraske, Host of Up To Date, KCUR

Kansas collected $27 million less than expected in taxes last month, largely driven by sagging income and sales tax receipts. The drop is enough to erase the state’s small estimated savings account.

Kansas Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan says it’s too early to tell if it’s a one-time drop in income taxes or a trend.

“It is the first time this fiscal year that individual income tax receipts have not grown compared to the prior fiscal year to date,” says Jordan.

Michael Cannon / Flickr--Creative Commons

A group pushing for elimination of the sales tax on groceries in Kansas is touting a new study.

The Wichita State University study shows that even before it was raised last month from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent, the statewide sales tax was costing rural grocers an average of about $18,000 a year in lost sales.

The study was paid for by KC Healthy Kids, a nonprofit organization pushing to make Kansas the 37th state to eliminate its sales tax on groceries.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director believes Kansas officials needs to study how they estimate future state tax collections. The comments were made just before new July revenue numbers came in below the mark.

Over the last year, Kansas tax collections have come up short of the estimates 10 times, and beat the estimates twice. Some of the misses were small, but four times over the last year the state’s monthly tax collections were at least $20 million below expectations.

Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, helps create the estimates.

After a record-breaking 113 days, the Kansas legislature finally passed a budget and tax deal. On this edition of Up To Date, we analyze the session and take a look at what it was like to participate in, and cover, the  2015 assembly. 

A tax proposal failed Thursday night in the Kansas House by a huge margin. Lawmakers still need to finish work on a budget and a tax plan that covers a shortfall in the budget.

The first tax plan failed on a 3-108 vote.

Some Kansas lawmakers voted against the bill because it didn’t reinstate enough business income taxes or because it canceled future personal income tax cuts. Democratic Rep. Tom Sawyer said the bill raised the sales tax too high.

“Sales taxes are regressive. They affect working families, seniors citizens a lot worse than other taxes,” said Sawyer.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Lawmakers are in the 105th day of the 2015 legislative session, making it the second longest session in Kansas state history. Legislators are looking for more than $400 million to close the state’s budget gap.

There was hope last weekend that the logjam could break when Gov. Sam Brownback introduced his tax plan. It relies mostly on sales taxes and tobacco taxes to generate revenue.

The bill mostly leaves business income tax cuts in place, because Brownback says they’re spurring economic growth.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A committee in the Kansas House has advanced a new tax plan aimed at filling a budget hole. The panel voted to send the bill to the full chamber for debate. It would raise the sales tax on non-food items and reinstate some business income taxes that were eliminated in 2012.

Republican state Rep. Mark Hutton, himself a business owner, says it’s a philosophical question. Should Kansas business owners continue to pay zero income tax?

“When we’re asking everybody else in the state to step up and pay more in sales tax. I think it’s commensurate,” says Hutton.

KC Healthy Kids


Led by KC Healthy Kids, a nonprofit organization supported in part by the Kansas Health Foundation, a coalition is being formed to guide a legislative effort to exempt food from the state sales tax.

“Cutting the sales tax on food will make it more affordable for Kansans to eat healthier,” says Ashley Jones-Wisner, state policy manager for KC Healthy Kids.

A group meeting Monday will update estimates for Kansas tax collections. The revenue predictions let lawmakers know how much money they have to spend as they write the state budget.

The Kansas Consensus Revenue Estimating Group is made up of members of the governor's administration, non-partisan legislative researchers and economists from universities in Kansas. They meet twice per year. This time, they'll revise the estimate for the current fiscal year and craft a prediction for tax collections next fiscal year.

A $21 million shortfall in September tax collections has renewed the debate on Gov. Sam Brownback’s economic policies heading into the last month of the 2014 campaign.


There are two big issues in the race for Kansas governor this year: How to fund education and how to grow the economy.

Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback is standing firm on cutting taxes to boost the economy.

Brownback has cut income taxes for individuals and eliminated them for small businesses. He says this will spur business development and thus the economy will grow.

But House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Davis has a very different idea.

Davis says he will drive economic growth by spending more on education.

Conservatives had two reasons for advocating deep cuts in state income tax rates, says one of the legislative leaders who championed them.

The first and most often touted by Gov. Sam Brownback was to lower taxes for business owners so that they could use the savings to create more jobs.

But a second and less talked about goal was to shrink state government by reducing tax collections and forcing legislators to cut spending, according to Senate President Susan Wagle.

The state of Kansas is loaning itself $675 million to ensure that it can pay its bills as it transitions from one budget year to the next.

That’s not unusual.

For the last 16 years, it has been standard practice for the State Finance Council to approve certificates of indebtedness, which transfer money from a fund used to collect fees and pay off bonds to the state’s general operating fund.

Tax cuts in Kansas have "landed with a thud," according to the co-author of a report that criticizes the state's actions for harming public services and sapping the state's long-term economic vitality. 

The report, which was released by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says massive tax cuts enacted by Kansas lawmakers in 2012 have left the state's schools, public health departments and other public services "stuck in the recession." 

courtesy flickr user AgriLife Today / Creative Commons

Tax season is upon us, so it's time to rummage through those shoe boxes of old receipts, dig up W-2 forms and file your 2013 return.

The Cash Money Crew is here to guide you through the process, including changes to be aware of and tips for a smoother tax return season in 2014. Later, we discuss the changing realities of retirement and how to prepare for it.


The Kansas business lobby is armed with new data to convince this year’s legislature to press for lower taxes and other change. 

The basis is a Kansas Chamber of Commerce commissioned survey of 300 company owners.

The December 2013 questionnaire found 57 percent of those surveyed thought they paid too much in taxes. Thirty-six percent thought they paid about the right amount. 

The study found less interest than in the past in what plays into the economic border war with Missouri, the poaching of jobs back and forth across state line.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Debate over Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax bill was fierce in the Missouri House and the governor prevailed. 

The Republican majority was unable to muster the votes to make the $700 million tax cut into law.

The measure would have cut business taxes in half. Personal taxes would have been cut disproportionately.

Clay County Democrat Jon Carpenter called it unfair.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas is “open for business," according to the enthusiastic proclamation made by Gov. Sam Brownback Thursday morning as he signed a controversial tax bill in Overland Park, Kan.

The governor was referring to the impact of second year cuts in state income taxes that he and supporters claim will attract economic development to the state - enough economic development to offset expected budget shortfalls in coming years.