(The Center Square) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has vetoed Senate Bill 50, which would have saved Kansans nearly $300 million in taxes through the next three years.
"The Kansas RELIEF Act is aguaranteed help to low- and middle-income Kansans," Michael Austin, director of the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government at Kansas Policy Institute, told The Center Square before Kelly's veto. "The tax bill increases the standard deduction, meaning more low- to middle-income Kansans don’t pay state income taxes. It also increases itemization on the state return, allowing roughly 1.2 million taxpayers another option to lower taxes to the state."
Republicans were a few votes shy of a majority in both chambers to override Kelly's veto without support from Democratic lawmakers.
Initially, many Republican legislators were pushing for a much larger tax cut, one that would have saved taxpayers $1.3 billion over three years, but many were wary of the reminiscence of tax cuts in 2012 and 2013 that left the state with budget shortfalls until they were reversed in 2017.
Last year, Kelly vetoed two tax-cutting measures and announced in March of this year that tax cuts should not be on the radar as the state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Kelly has stated that she is open to increasing the standard income deduction, offsetting that by charging sales tax on streaming services in the state.
"Unfortunately, Kansas government has a history of spending whatever they want, then raising taxes when forced to deal with the deficit they created," Austin said. "If Kansans and lawmakers don’t want history to repeat itself, they should find ways to reduce wasteful spending programs, so Kansans can see long-term relief."