KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Gov. Sam Brownback is close to signing a bill that would eliminate income taxes for nearly every Kansan
and 191,000 businesses.
It sounds good - but critics say the largest proposed tax break in Kansas history comes with a price.
They say it comes at the expense of the poorest Kansans.
Brownback is giving lawmakers more time to come up with a compromise.
If they do not send him an alternative, the governor will sign the current version of the bill.
It would eliminate several tax credits low-income Kansas families say they need to survive.
Single mom Liliana Perez had tears in her eyes when she explained what life is like on a low-income budget.
"You know, you have trouble paying bills, your rent and right now I don't have a house," said Perez, who works full-time at a KCK daycare.
She said she needs every single dollar to help her and her son survive.
She is the sole provider and relies on a tax credit offered to low income families to help pay for childcare.
She said taking even those few dollars away a year would mean a lifestyle change for her.
"Everything goes for my son, not for myself, for him," Perez said.
Dean Olson, VP of programs at The Family Conservancy in Kansas City, Kan., said taking away a few dollars could mean thousands of parents have no other choice but to change to an inferior, cheaper, unregulated day care.
"It costs more to send your child to infant / toddler care than it does to college, if you consider tuition every semester," Olson explained.
The bill on the governor's desk would eliminate a long list of tax credits low income families get for child care, food and even rent.
Those changes would make up some of the millions of dollars the state would lose in income tax cuts.
The governor has argued the cuts would stimulate the economy for all, attract new business and add better-paying jobs to the state.
But critics have said there is no guarantee that growth will happen. Senate Democrats project the mass tax cut would leave Kansas in a budget crunch - just like it would for Perez.
"That would be really sad," she said.
If the Governor's income tax cuts fail to produce more revenue through jobs, the Kansas Legislative Research Department projects the state would lose $800 million a year in revenue and that the $600 million surplus would become a $2.47 billion deficit within five years.
Lawmakers have until next week to come up with a compromise bill.
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