The Kansas House has rejected a tax plan proposed by the Senate, with five in favor and 109 opposed, despite a personal appeal by Gov. Sam Brownback to support the Senate’s proposal to keep the state sales tax rate at 6.3%.
The House unanimously rejected a similar Senate tax plan in April.
Friday’s action extended the session into another week.
It was to have ended on Thursday, but lawmakers have yet to agree on whether to extend the sales tax rate that was to be temporary when it was levied in 2010.
Brownback said the Senate plan was the most fiscally responsible option.
“The tax proposal passed by the Kansas Senate Thursday night lowers the tax burden on all Kansans,” he said. “I appreciate the work by the Kansas Legislature this session and will sign this pro-growth tax bill should lawmakers vote to send it to me.”
The Senate offered to reduce the sales tax rate on food to 4.95% if the House would go along with keeping the overall rate at 6.3%. House negotiators balked at a rate of more than 6%.
The rate was raised to 6.3% in 2010, but it was scheduled to drop to 5.7% when fiscal 2014 begins July 1. A permanent 0.4% increase is dedicated to Kansas Department of Transportation.
The Senate tax package also reduced state income tax rates while cutting the standard deduction and phasing out most itemized deductions.
The tax measure passed the Senate on a 25-14 vote, with all the Democrats and a few Republicans in opposition.
Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood, said the lower sales tax on food would encourage people to eat more food rather than purchase items subject to the full 6.3% rate. He joined the Democrats in opposing the bill.
“It seems to me we are encouraging the behavior of purchasing food and discouraging the behavior of purchasing anything else,” Melcher said.