Governor of Kansas vetoes tax cuts she believes benefit "super wealthy"

Topeka— Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a comprehensive Republican-led Legislature tax cut bill on Friday, claiming the income tax changes will primarily benefit the rich.

Republican legislative leaders promptly sought to override Kelly's veto. They looked to have a two-thirds majority in the House but are missing one vote in the Senate. The veto will stand unless bill backers override within 30 days.

The three-year plan would slash income, sales, and property taxes by about $1.6 billion. The bill would replace three 5.7% personal income tax rates in Kansas with one 5.25% rate, which Kelly opposed.

This flat tax experiment would overwhelmingly benefit the super wealthy, and I’m not going to put our public schools, roads, and stable economy at risk just to give them a break,” Kelly stated. “I am determined to cut taxes for working Kansans this year

By removing at least the first $20,300 of a married couple's income from taxes, top Republicans say their plan exempts 310,000 additional filers in addition to the 40,000 lowest. House Speaker Dan Hawkins and Senate President Ty Masterson denounced the governor's veto.

Masterson claimed Kelly “put her radical ideology ahead of the people,” while Hawkins said she was “choosing political wins over increasing Kansans’ paychecks.”

Republican leaders had linked the income tax ideas to Kelly's promises to abolish the state's 2% sales tax on goods starting April 1, exempt all seniors' Social Security income, and decrease homeowners' property taxes.

Masterson and other Republicans argued the plan's combination of cutbacks will help all taxpayers and that they had evidence demonstrating state-wide savings.

However, the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that 70% of raw cash savings will go to the 20% of filers earning more over $143,000, even with the measures intended to help lower taxpayers.