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APNewsBreak: New figures project net Kan. tax cut

John Hanna, AP Political Writer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's administration is projecting that the revenue-raising measures he's proposing this year to stabilize the state budget won't wipe out massive income tax cuts enacted last year.

The Department of Revenue circulated new figures Wednesday among legislators in the hopes of countering criticism that the latest proposals outlined by the conservative Republican governor represent a big tax increase over the next three years.

The figures show that even with Brownback's proposals to eliminate several big tax breaks to stabilize the budget, Kansans still will see a net tax decrease over each of the next several years because of massive income tax reductions enacted last year. The department's figure for net tax relief is $392 million for the fiscal year beginning in July, with the projection growing to $528 million in the following fiscal year. By fiscal 2017, the net decrease is $954 million, according to the projections.

"You've got to look at this thing as a total package," Jordan said during an interview.

The department released the figures to The Associated Press as it provided them privately to lawmakers, before making them public.

Brownback faces bipartisan criticism over his proposals to eliminate two popular income tax deductions for homeowners and to cancel a decrease in the sales tax scheduled for July. The new figures didn't immediately quell the skepticism.

"Let's talk about today, OK?" said Sen. Dennis Pyle, a conservative Hiawatha Republican. "I can recognize a tax increase."

Those measures are coupled in Brownback's plan with proposals to phase in a second round of reductions in individual income tax rates over the next four years. The next round of proposed rate reductions would be dwarfed over the next several years by the loss of the income tax deductions and sales tax decrease.

But Jordan said such an analysis ignores the big cuts enacted last year, when the state cut individual income tax rates and exempted the owners of 191,000 businesses from personal income taxes. The department projects those changes will save taxpayers almost $850 million during the next fiscal year.


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