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Tax bill a move in the right direction

Staff writer

Calling the vote “a compromise measure,” State Sen. Rick Wilborn (R-McPherson) voted with the majority last week to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a $1.2 million income tax increase that will provide more money for state schools.

“This was a very trying session,” Wilborn said. “I had voted no on a lot of tax bills that as it turned out were better than this one. As the session progresses, you learn more and more about what our spending needs are and where we are headed.”

Wilborn said his vote was not to oppose Brownback but to help the state move on.

“We had to get our hands around what was needed,” he said.

A school finance bill passed earlier in the session added $200 million to the state’s budget, and it was necessary to raise the revenue to fund it, he said.

One provision of the bill, overturning an earlier elimination of taxes on limited liability corporations, would have passed handily and was widely supported by the public, he said.

“Everybody knew if we passed it alone we wouldn’t have anything to drag along with it,” he said.

Bob Brookens, Marion attorney and former state representative, said he is thrilled with the override and the bill.

“Is it perfect? No. Is it everything we need? No. Is it better than what we have? Yes. It’s immeasurably better,” Brookens said.

Brookens predicted some people would be upset, but the income tax rate still will be lower than the tax rate in 2011.

Hillsboro business owner Ken Koslowsky, who operates an accounting and income tax preparation business, said that while removing the income tax exception for small businesses will affect him personally, the state is moving in the right direction.

“Naturally as a sole proprietorship, it kind of makes a difference for me,” Koslowsky said. “I’ll have to pay taxes I haven’t been paying. My understanding is that the rates are a little higher than what they’ve been, but are lower than they were four years ago.”

The state’s revenue and spending in recent years has not worked out, Koslowsky said.

“We are moving in the right direction because we’ve been spending money we didn’t have the last few years,” Koslowsky said. “What we’ve been doing the last few years is not sustainable.”

Last modified June 14, 2017

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