taxes

Johnson County Commissioners will vote Thursday on a mill levy increase to pay for parks and libraries.

“Fully 50 percent plus of this entire property tax increase is going to improve services,” says County Manager Hannes Zacharias, adding those are the amenities besides a high-quality education that attract people to Johnson County.

The rest will offset a decrease in revenue collections, improve pay for sheriff’s deputies and fund capital improvements for county infrastructure.

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.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Some say that local government is the toughest branch, because it’s closest to the people.

For Mission, Kansas Mayor Steve Schowengerdt, it's easy.

“If you're honest and talk straight the people tell you what they want and what they don't like and you adjust,” he says.  

Schowengerdt stopped by KCUR studios to talk with Up To Date host Steve Kraske about the meatiest issues on Mission's table. 

Here are five questions Kraske asked the Mayor:

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. 

Lawmakers in the Kansas House were sharply divided over a tax bill debated Weednesday night. The measure seemed to be on its way to failure before the vote was paused at midnight by a legislative rule.

Republican Rep. Marvin Kleeb urged lawmakers to pass the bill, saying it was likely their last option to avoid cuts to state services like K-12 education. They’ve already approved a budget, but it needs around $400 million in new revenue to balance.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

While the broader battle over a tax plan in the Kansas Legislature continues, a few nights ago the Senate managed to slip in a last minute provision that makes it a lot easier to obtain tax credits for private and religious school scholarships in the state.

The mission of the legislation is laudable: provide scholarships to at-risk kids to go to private or parochial schools.

But there's a catch. People or corporations in the state receive a tax credit for providing the scholarship money. The state will allow up to $10 million a year in such credits.

The Kansas House decided not to take up a tax bill Monday that was sent to them by the state Senate. Lawmakers return for day 110 of the legislative session Tuesday and the only item left on their plate is balancing the budget.

Both chambers in the Kansas Legislature have now approved the budget, but the bill needs around $400 million in tax increases, or budget cuts, to be balanced. The Senate passed a tax plan on Sunday. But senators also added some policy changes, like a limit on property tax increases without a public vote and a proposal to eliminate some tax exemptions.

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.

Financial Planners: Tackling Death & Taxes

Apr 20, 2015

You can’t avoid death and taxes, but you can -- and should -- plan for them. The financial planners return on Monday's Up to Date to discuss how you can do that successfully.

Guests:

Legislation designed to aid some delinquent taxpayers in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed HB 384, the "tax amnesty" bill, which would allow people behind on their state income taxes to pay them off without additional penalties or interest.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback stuck by his aggressive tax policy during his State of the State address Thursday, outlining an ambitious list of legislative priorities for 2015.

But even members of the governor's own party say it's too early to tell what Brownback can accomplish during the session.

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.

Eric Langhorst / Flickr Creative Commons

Throughout the year we put the Kansas City metro area under a microscope examining the details of the events and issues facing its residents and leaders.

On this edition of Up to Date, we zoom out for a broader view. Steve Kraske and three area journalists bring us their analysis, thoughts, and observations on what's working and what's not in Kansas City, Mo. 

Guests:

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.

city-data

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.

John Russell / Flickr-CC

Last week, Missouri voters solidly rejected Amendment 7, which would have increased the sales tax by three-quarters of a cent for 10 years to fund roads and bridges.

On Monday's Up to Date, we take a look at why voters reacted the way they did and what lawmakers might do to pay for those transportation items now.

Guest:

  • Rep. Dave Schatz, Chair of the Missouri House Transportation Committee

Theresa Thompson / Flickr-CC

On Thursday's Up to Date, guest host Brian Ellison covers primary ballot issues on both sides of the state line. In Kansas, KCUR has kept an eye on Milton Wolf and Sen. Pat Roberts as they battle to be the Republican nominee for the U.S.

Examining Tax Proposals In Missouri

Jul 28, 2014
401(K) 2012/Flickr-CC

Election season has kicked off, and we’re gearing up to a flurry of primaries throughout the area. Today, we’re taking a look at the ballots in Kansas City, Mo., and the state of Missouri.

On Monday's Up to Date, we discuss the streetcar proposal that’s found its way into the voting booth. Voters will decide whether they want to expand the taxing district east and south, and as a result, expand the proposed streetcar lines.

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.

Kansas City, Mo., residents can expect to be asked to renew a sales tax in August. But meeting fire department needs may take more than that.

The quarter-cent sales tax created 14 years ago currently funds less than 14 percent of the fire department's $145 million budget. Personnel costs account for 90 percent of that budget.

City Finance Director Randall Landes says renewing the tax is essential, but even with the renewal the department won't be able to replace aging fire stations and equipment.

 

Unilever is adding 70 jobs and investing $99 million at its Independence food manufacturing plant.

About 190 employees currently work at the plant, which for years has made Wishbone salad dressing. The jobs are above average wage. the kind Independence Economic Development Council President Tom Lesnak says the city tries to attract. But those jobs have been in jeopardy for a couple of months now.

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to veto the proposed Missouri income tax cut later today.

On April 23, Up to Date's Steve Kraske spoke with Amy Blouin, Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project, who opposes the tax cut, and Patrick Ishmael, a policy analyst with the Show-Me Institute who supports the signing of the bill.

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." 

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed tax cut that conformed to conditions laid out by Governor Jay Nixon was radically altered Monday in an effort to move the overall proposal forward.

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.

Guests:

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