Kansans will pay $392 million less in taxes in fiscal 2014 as a result of a 2012 reduction in the state’s top income tax rate, the Department of Revenue said last week, even if some popular exemptions are wiped out.
The savings will grow to $528 million in fiscal 2015 and $954 million by fiscal 2017, according to Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.
The estimates were released after conservative Republican lawmakers expressed concern that a plan by Gov. Sam Brownback to eliminate some tax deductions amounted to a tax increase.
Brownback, a Republican, wants to get rid of the tax breaks and extend a temporary sales tax to soften the revenue declines expected from his four-year plan to whittle down the income tax rate.
Jordan said a cut in the top tax rate and the exemption of almost 200,000 small businesses from income tax liability will provide $850 million in tax relief in fiscal 2014.
The tax cuts are opposed as too severe by the Democratic minority, which said it would seek a probe into Brownback’s claim that state spending peaked at $16 billion in fiscal 2010 rather than the correct total of $14 billion.
Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said he would ask the Legislative Post Audit Committee to determine how the error occurred and why it was not noticed until a Topeka newspaper pointed it out to state officials.
Budget director Steve Anderson apologized for the incorrect information last week.
“Upon review, we have discovered a mistake in a 2010 entry which was the source of the error passed along by the budget office to Gov. Brownback’s office,” Anderson said. “We should have caught the incorrect information but we did not.”