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Questions remain in income tax debate

It is great to be back in nortyhwest Kansas after a long winter in Topeka. I will be in all my counties during the next three weeks attending different events.

The two biggest issues were not resolved prior to "turn-around."

The budget and tax plan for next year have yet to be decided. The state has adopted a two-year budget plan. The conference committees on budget and tax have to reconcile their different plans into one uniform bill.

The one constitutional duty of the Legislature is to pass a budget before the session ends, and a key component to the budget is tax legislation.

In the 120th District, I have not yet met, talked to or had an email that feels the state should do away with income tax. Most people are concerned about a reduction in services and an increase in property tax.

Taking state dollars away from the Northwest Kansas Technical College and Colby Community College hurts our northwest Kansas economy, reduces programs available for our students, and raises the cost of attending school.

The significant difference between the House and Senate tax plans is how they treat the state sales tax rate. The House plan contains a 2 percent growth-in-revenue trigger so that as the revenues grow above 2 percent from the previous year, the excess funds would be used to continue to buy down income tax rates. The House plan would also allow the state sales tax to drop from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent on July 1, 2013, as it was promised to do under current law.

The Senate plan, however, would leave the sales tax at the current 6.3 percent instead of allowing it to drop by the scheduled 0.6 percent. By leaving the sales tax as is, the Senate plan would use the additional revenue from the sales tax to continue to buy down income tax rates. The governor favors the Senate plan.

My own belief is that we should slow down the process until we see evidence of economic growth in the state.

Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, represents the 120th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. ward.cassidy@house.ks.gov