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Kansas Legislature approves big income tax increase to help balance state budget, defying Republican Gov. Sam Brownback

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Legislature has approved a big increase in personal income taxes to help balance the state budget in a move that defies Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Senate approved a bill Friday that would generate more than $1 billion over two years. The vote was 22-18.

Senators acted the day after the House approved the measure, so the bill goes to Brownback. He has strongly criticized the bill and said he would not sign it, but he has so far stopped short of saying specifically that he would veto it.

The bill would abandon core tax-cutting policies Brownback championed in 2012 and 2013 to help close projected budget shortfalls totaling nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019.

Democrats wanted to return the state's top income tax rate to its 2012 level of 6.45 percent. The current rate set after Brownback-inspired cuts is 4.6 percent. The measure approved Friday would set the top rate at 5.45 percent.

Under the proposal, income between $30,000 and $60,000 would be taxed at 5.25 percent, up from the current 4.6 percent. Income between $60,000 and $100,000 would also be taxed at 5.25 percent. Income above $100,000 would be taxed at 5.45 percent. Income up to $30,000 would remain at the current rate of 2.7 percent.

The legislation would also restore a tax deduction for medical expenses.

Supporters did not have the two-thirds majorities necessary to override a possible veto.

Gov. Brownback's director of communications had the following response to the measure:

"As with all legislation, Governor Brownback will review the bill closely once he receives it."