Aiexpress – Democratic Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas has stayed true to her promise by vetoing a comprehensive tax cut package that was recently passed by the Republican-led Legislature. In her reasoning for the veto, Governor Kelly emphasized that the proposed income tax changes would disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
Kelly’s action sparked an immediate response from Republican legislative leaders, who are now working to override her veto. It seems that they have enough support in the House to achieve the two-thirds majority needed, but they are currently lacking at least one vote in the Senate. The bill’s proponents have a 30-day window to attempt an override, otherwise, the veto will remain in place.
The proposed measure aims to reduce income, sales, and property taxes by almost $1.6 billion within the next three years. Kelly objected to the package due to its plan to transition Kansas to a single personal income tax rate of 5.25%, which would replace the current three-tiered system that reaches a maximum rate of 5.7%.
“This flat tax experiment would greatly favor the extremely wealthy, and I refuse to jeopardize our public schools, roads, and stable economy just to provide a tax break for those at the highest income bracket,” stated Kelly. “My utmost priority is to ensure that hardworking Kansans receive a tax reduction this year.”
Republicans have stated that their plan will provide tax exemptions to an additional 310,000 filers, in addition to the 40,000 poorest individuals. This will be achieved by excluding at least the first $20,300 of a married couple’s income from taxes.
House Speaker Dan Hawkins and Senate President Ty Masterson expressed their disapproval of the governor’s veto.
According to Hawkins, Kelly prioritized political victories over boosting the earnings of Kansans, while Masterson accused her of prioritizing her radical ideology over the needs of the people.
Republican leaders combined the income tax proposals with Kelly’s proposal to eliminate the state’s 2% sales tax on groceries beginning April 1. Additionally, they incorporated plans endorsed by Kelly to exempt all retirees’ Social Security income from taxes and reduce homeowners’ property taxes.
According to Masterson and other Republicans, the plan’s combination of cuts ensures that all taxpayers will benefit. They have also provided data that demonstrates the distribution of savings across the state.
According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, despite the adjustments made to benefit lower-income taxpayers, the majority of the savings, amounting to 70% in terms of raw dollars, will still primarily benefit the top 20% of filers who earn more than $143,000 annually.