Tax Reform Council leaders tell KASB workshop they are seeking budget stability

The leaders of the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform said Friday their recommendations will seek to help stabilize the state’s finances after years of upheaval that followed Gov. Sam Brownback’s drastic income tax cuts.

Those tax cuts were overturned in part in 2017 after years of budget shortfalls, but problems remain in the state budget to fund education, social services public safety and roads.

“We are still not out of the woods,” said Steve Morris, who is co-chair of the tax reform council and is a former state Senate president. Co-Chair Janis Lee, also a former state senator, said she would like to see better balance in the state’s major tax revenue sources between income, sales and property taxes. “We are trying to bring us back to what is called the three-legged stool,” Lee said.

KASB President Shannon Kimball, who also serves on the tax reform council and is a member of the Lawrence USD 497 school board, said any tax changes must protect the revenue stream to meet the state’s obligations to public schools.

Lee, Morris and Kimball spoke during the KASB School Finance and Budgeting Workshop that was attended by nearly 70 education leaders from across Kansas.

The tax reform council will deliver preliminary recommendations to Gov. Laura Kelly before the start of the 2020 legislative session in January and then will work on longterm tax policy recommendations for the 2021 legislative session.

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