Just Taxes Blog by ITEP

State Rundown 6/7: Kansas Success Story and Other State News

June 7, 2017

This week, we celebrate a victory in Kansas where lawmakers rolled back Brownback’s tax cuts for the richest taxpayers. Governors in West Virginia and Alaska promote compromise tax plans. Texas heads into special session and Vermont faces another budget veto, while Louisiana and New Mexico are on the verge of wrapping up. Voters in Massachusetts may soon be able to weigh in on a millionaire’s tax, the California Senate passed single-payer health care, and more!

— Meg Wiehe, ITEP Deputy Director, @megwiehe

  • After considering over 100 tax reform plans this legislative session, Kansas lawmakers passed and then overrode the governor’s veto on legislation that reverses Brownback’s tax cuts for the richest taxpayers. Major components of SB 30 include rolling back the exemption of business pass-through income, restoring a third income tax bracket, and increased marginal tax rates. This significant legislative accomplishment is a major step toward repudiating the errors of Brownback’s failed tax experiment.
  • Strong revenue growth in West Virginia prompted state tax officials to lower the state’s projected deficit, which has been a driver of the budget standoff. However, one no seems to be giving any ground. Negotiations between the Governor, Senate, and House continue.
  • Alaska‘s Gov. Bill Walker proposed a “compromise fiscal package” to help break the stalemate between the Senate and House. The plan would include a $100 million in revenue from a fixed-contribution tax on each tax bracket, rather than a personal income tax based on the percentage of a filers earnings. It would also drop the state’s Permanent Fund dividend to $1,000 and draw funds from reserves.
  • Texas joins a number of other states this year by heading into special session. Lawmakers will be tackling a range of issues, including property tax relief. The property tax proposals put forth by the legislature According to Gov. Greg Abbott, the property tax proposals put forth by the legislature all had shortcomings.
  • Vermont‘s Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the Legislature’s proposed state budget and property tax bills, claiming that they do not achieve education savings. He has his eye on achieving savings through a statewide health plan for all school employees.
  • If both chambers in Louisiana can reach a budget agreement by tomorrow evening, lawmakers may avoid a special session. Significant tax reform efforts in the state did not come to fruition.
  • While reform of the state’s gross receipts tax breaks was not in the cards this session, New Mexico lawmakers were able to approve funding to study those breaks which cost the state $1 billion last year alone.
  • Massachusetts‘s millionaire’s tax nears its third and final vote before possibly heading to the ballot. If passed by lawmakers again this session, it would be placed before voters in 2018. The proposal would add a 4 percent surcharge on incomes over $1 million, raising between $1.6 to $2.2 billion.
  • The California Senate passed single-payer health care. SB 562 would guarantee universal health care to all Californians. The proposal now moves on to the House for consideration.
  • As the Ohio Senate prepares to release their state budget proposal, another loss in tax collections has been reported. This may further complicate the state’s budget outlook.
  • An initiative to increase K-12 funding in Utah filed ballot initiatives to raise the state’s sales tax rate (from 4.7 percent to 5.2 percent) and personal income tax rate (from 5 percent to 5.5 percent).
  • Nevada Senate negotiations over raising the recreational marijuana tax to fund Educational Savings Accounts broke down on a party-line vote.
  • The soda tax has moved to another large city with Seattle’s city council approving a tax on distributors of sugar sweetened beverages of 1.75 cents per ounce. Diet sodas, baby formula, 100% fruit juice, medicine, and weight-loss drinks are exempt. Seattle joins San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Chicago, as large cities that are levying this type of tax.

What We’re Reading…

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