Legislative Leaders Differ On Tax Cut Impact On Budget Bottom Line

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Legislative leaders offered differing views Friday on how to interpret a report on how the Governor's proposed tax cuts could impact the state's bottom line.

Republican leaders downplayed Thursday's figures from Legislative Research, showing the proposed cuts would create a $782 million shortfall in 2018.

House Speaker Ray Merrick called it a "static" figure that doesn't take into account the economic growth further tax cuts would create. Plus, he says government spending has seen large growth over the past eight years, which he sees as a signal it has room for spending cuts.

Merrick and other tax cut supporters pointed to January revenue collections that were $62 million above expectations as proof the state is already seeing the benefits of tax policy changes.

But House Minority Leader Paul Davis says the economic growth is magnified because the country is coming out of recession. He says he doesn't believe it's a trend that will continue as such a rapid rate.

Davis says the Legislative Research report shows the state can't afford the Governor's plan. He says the Governor's figures also keep spending flat and assume saving a $1 billion in Medicaid costs through the transition to KanCare, which might not happen.

Merrick did say that he has instructed the budget committee to consider all options, because it is not certain what will actually pass in terms of tax cuts and revenue proposals, such as extending a sales tax increase or doing away with home mortgage and property tax deductions.