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taxes

One busy week leads to another as Missouri lawmakers wrestle with tax credits, a major ethics bill, and next year’s state budget.

The House this week sent a proposed lobbyist gift ban to the Senate, which is conducting a public hearing on it next week. The bill has died two years in a row over concerns that accepting a piece of gum or a slice of pizza could become illegal. But Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said he’s committed to crafting a gift ban that the full Senate can support.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has released portions of his plan to cut taxes in Missouri.

Greitens said in a written statement Thursday afternoon that most of the details of his proposal will be laid out “in the coming weeks.” But the Republican governor has listed several goals, or “principles,” that make up the plan.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Westar Energy and Kansas City Power & Light say all the money coming from recently passed federal corporate tax cuts will land in their customers’ pockets. On Thursday, the agency that sets utility rates in Kansas insisted on it.

Westar Energy expects its tax bill to shrink by about $65 million a year under the new federal tax plan. Spokesperson Gina Penzig says several politicians asked if the utility would pass those savings along.

“We were glad to offer that confirmation,” she said.

Capitol at night
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri government is still reeling after a week that saw the State of the State address overshadowed by a report by KMOV in St. Louis that Governor Eric Greitens, a Republican, had an affair with an unnamed woman, as revealed in tapes secretly recorded by the woman's former husband. The governor has admitted the affair but denies allegations he attempted to blackmail the woman to keep it quiet.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

A Kansas Supreme Court ruling saying the state must spend more on schools could require lawmakers to find hundreds of millions of dollars. With some lawmakers saying a tax hike for education remains off the table, that financial hunt won’t be easy.

 

Legislators rolled back Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature income tax cuts just last year. It was a monumental task, which ultimately required lawmakers to override a veto from the governor. The fight stretched the session to a tie with the longest in state history.

 

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

It's a Republican season in the Missouri General Assembly. The GOP controls the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, and Republican Governor Eric Greitens is working hard to advance a conservative agenda. But Democrats press on, seeking to influence legislation where they can and, sometimes, taking their case directly to the people.

Andrea Ramsey / Andrea Ramsey For Congress

Retired lawyer and former community health nonprofit executive Andrea Ramsey announced Friday that she is dropping out of the race for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District.

Ramsey is one of several Democrats challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder. 

bloomlandscape / Flickr -- CC

When you think of moss, you may conjure up images of dense woods. But a new restaurant on the Plaza features a moss wall. We talk to the local artist who created it, and we hear his vision for a harmonious life.

Plus: As one of the most significant tax bills in recent history gets ironed out, there has been talk about what it could do for the middle class. What is the middle class — and what does it mean to be middle class today?

Guests:

Arlington National Cemetery / Flickr - CC

Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, a gay couple living in Texas, strove to keep a low profile and their sexual orientation private. However, as the movement for marriage equality expanded, they finally agreed to be plaintiffs in the lawsuit that would overturn their state's ban on same-sex marriage. Author David Collins recounts their journey in Accidental Activists.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder is offering a vigorous defense of the Republican tax cut bill as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on its version of the controversial measure.

In a lengthy news release posted Thursday that Yoder touted as separating myth from fact, the 3rd District representative said the bill does not favor wealthy taxpayers over middle-class families, as Democrats and other critics claim.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Local governments and school boards are worried about the possible effects on infrastructure and other projects if Congress passes a tax bill that eliminates exemptions for certain refinancing of bonds.

The Kansas Association of School Boards, which includes most of the state’s 286 boards of education, is urging its members to contact Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts — both Kansas Republicans — about voting against the bill.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran candidly discussed his reservations about President Donald Trump’s tax cut bill Wednesday at a town hall meeting in the small north-central Kansas community of Frankfort.

But in response to prodding from some in the crowd of approximately 100, he declined to commit to voting against the bill if Republican leaders don’t address his concerns.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Mayor James came out swinging today against Republican tax reform proposals being considered in Washington, saying they would “cripple” vital city redevelopment and infrastructure efforts including the planned new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

“We need an agenda to revitalize and restore the infrastructure of our cities, not cripple future investment in our urban centers,” James said in a press release.

Democratic Policy and Communications Committee

Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday used a group of like-minded witnesses to attack President Donald Trump’s tax cut plan by comparing it to what they repeatedly referred to as Kansas’ “failed” tax experiment.

Two Kansans — House Democratic Leader Jim Ward and state employee union representative Sarah LaFrenz — joined a list of national experts in assailing the 2012 Kansas tax cut experiment that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback touted as a “red state model.”

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

After wrestling to balance the budget for years, Kansas lawmakers bit the bullet this spring and agreed to undo many of Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature 2012 tax cuts.  

The question now is whether they have done enough to fix the state budget, as many promised to do in the 2016 campaign. Lawmakers will get a better idea of the state’s financial situation later this week when the consensus revenue estimating group determines whether revenues are tracking with projections.

WhiteHouse.gov

While an official tax bill hasn't been presented, Republicans last month outlined a framework for a new tax code. Today, the Smart Money Experts explain the key takeaways from the plan and how it could affect what you owe the government come April 2018. They also share end of the year money-management tips, including how to create a holiday spending strategy, evaluate insurance options and develop plans for retirement.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican, says he is optimistic that Congress will overhaul the tax system by the end of the year. Blunt says most people don’t know the details of the tax proposal he expects Senators to vote on this year, but he anticipates it will  involve a break for working class people.  He also thinks it will likely increase the budget deficit.

“I think a short term increase in the deficit that leads to a long term increase in income is the right thing to do,” Blunt says.

Missouri is doing a poor job of tracking the economic impact of tax breaks, according to an audit released on Wednesday.

Missouri state Auditor Nicole Galloway said state government has no idea if incentives, exemptions, and newer tax laws changes are working as intended. She said the state isn’t accurately measuring how much revenue it’s losing.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Emergency preparedness is in the national consciousness in a big way. Today, the Smart Money Experts make a special trip to the studio to discuss preparing your family's finances for the wide-ranging effects of a natural disaster. Then, Kansas City voters in April approved a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase aimed at developing the long-neglected east side of town.

Ken Teegardin / Flickr - CC

The American family unit these days is way more varied than in decades past. Whether you're in a same-sex relationship, part of a cohabitating couple, or a senior who's just not interested in marriage, financial planning can present unique obstacles. Today, the Smart Money Experts are back with advice for non-traditional couples. They also discuss the latest financial headlines, including the growth in U.S.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

While controversy surrounding the president's opposition research has been hogging headlines recently, the practice of digging up dirt on an opponent is as old as politics. In fact, today's first guests, consultants John Hancock and Michael Kelley, say it's essential to a successful campaign.

Farmers Unfazed By End Of Kansas Income Tax Exemption

Jul 17, 2017
Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s prized income tax exemption for businesses is gone.

Over the governor’s veto, in June lawmakers raised income tax rates and repealed the exemption that had benefited roughly 330,000 business owners, including about 53,000 farmers.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A task force established by Gov. Greitens to examine state tax credit policy has returned with recommendations that preservationists say would substantially cut the historic tax credit program and make it much more difficult to utilize.

CAROLINA HIDALGO / ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Governor Eric Greitens had a busy afternoon last Friday, June 30. He signed a major change to employment law, making it much harder for a fired employee to prove a discrimination case. He vetoed a bipartisan compromise that would have preserved a tax credit for low-income seniors and disabled people. And he signed the state budget—while also withholding more than $250 million in spending. Host Brian Ellison talks with KCUR's Kyle Palmer to catch you up on the political news of the weekend and give you an update on what might come next out of Missouri's Capitol.

Kansas News Service

Many Kansas workers will soon see a change in their paychecks because of an income tax increase that takes effect Saturday.

Lawmakers approved a $1.2 billion income tax increase to close a projected $900 million budget gap for the next two fiscal years. 

The new law raises income tax rates and reinstates income taxes on thousands of business owners.

“We’re encouraging everybody to just think about it,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Sam Williams.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

For a while, it seemed as though it would be a long time before Kansas lawmakers came up with a tax plan that could pass. Just when it seemed the impasse was at its worst, the Women's Caucus stepped up with a plan that led to a compromise.

Guests:

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

With school finance, taxes, and a budget passed, the Kansas Legislature adjourned. Just after the final yays, nays, and hurrahs, podcast host Sam Zeff hopped into the Topeka studio with Kansas News Service reporters Celia Llopis-Jepsen and Jim McLean for a quick take on the legislative session that was.

Conservative Republicans have joined with moderates and Democrats to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a $1.2 billion tax increase. This brings to a close many of the tax cuts pushed by the Brownback in 2012.  

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas, and stay up to date with the latest news from the Kansas Legislature: iTunesGoogle Play, and on the NPR One app.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Conservative Republicans, some of whom voted for sweeping tax cuts in 2012 or defended them in the years since, parted ways with Gov. Sam Brownback on tax policy Tuesday — at least long enough to side with moderates and Democrats in overriding his veto of a $1.2 billion tax increase.

The law to increase taxes over the next two years comes as legislators seek to close a projected $900 million budget gap for that same period and bolster funding for K-12 schools under a Kansas Supreme Court order.

Courtesy Office of Gov. Sam Brownback

Kansas lawmakers are gearing up for an attempt to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a tax increase. The House and Senate approved the plan overnight Monday and Brownback vetoed it Tuesday.

In a statement, Brownback said Kansas has a “pro-growth” tax policy and the bill would be a step backward on that front.

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