Kansas legislators Monday jump-started a debate over ending an income tax break championed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, moving on the first day of their annual session to tackle the state's severe and ongoing budget woes.
The House Taxation Committee decided less than three hours after lawmakers convened to draft a bill repealing a personal income tax exemption that benefits more than 330,000 farmers and business owners. Brownback has championed the break as a pro-growth policy, but it's contributed to the state's budget problems.
Kansas faces a projected $342 million shortfall in its current budget and gaps in funding for existing programs that total nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019. Lawmakers don't think they can raise new revenues quickly enough to bolster the current budget but also want a longer-term fiscal fix.