House tax committee approves 5 percent flat income tax

The House Taxation Committee has approved House Bill 2395, which would establish a five percent flat income tax.

The committee meeting echoed some of the discussions from the Senate Tax meeting in the morning, with discussions focusing on HB 2395. The bill as originally drafted would have decreased overall tax revenue by about $85 million per year, but one of the first actions taken by the committee was to restructure the plan to make it a revenue-generating plan.

The amendment as explained in committee would repeal the LLC exemption retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, create a five percent single income tax bracket and double the standard deduction rates beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and then lower the state sales tax rate on food to five percent beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

The committee continued the discussion Thursday, with ideas of lowering the overall rate, a failed amendment to make the income tax retroactive to Jan. 1 this year, and an amendment to make the single deduction equal to one-half of the married filing jointly, which passed and sets the standard deduction rates in the bill at $7,500 for single filers, $15,000 for married filing jointly.

Rep. Louis Ruiz, D-Kansas City, said House leadership wanted the bill to come out of committee and was pressuring members of the caucus to support it.

Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, moved to pass the bill out favorably and after a brief debate the bill was passed out on a division vote with the minimum 12 members of the committee needed to support.

The bill will now be available for General Orders in the House, most likely to be scheduled next week. The Senate Tax Committee will likely consider a flat tax proposal on Monday.

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