The big political battle to be continued Monday at the Kansas Statehouse is over the so-called tax windfall bill that ultimately failed in the Kansas House last session, but that has gotten all the way to the Kansas Senate floor thanks to a judicious use of political power by Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle.
Rather than letting the bill grind its way through either the Taxation or the Federal and State Affairs committees, a special Senate Select Committee on Federal Tax Code Implementation worked the bill on Thursday.
Fundamentally, this appears to be an argument over opportunity cost versus real cost.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly wants to be sure the state knows how much money it has coming in before it gives itself a pay cut.
Senate President Wagle is concerned that businesses could potentially leave the state because we’re imposing taxes that other states don’t on repatriated income and other offshore income.
As is the case with so many political fights at the Statehouse, this really comes down to philosophy.
Wagle and the big money donors that she’ll need if she decides to run for the U.S. Senate to try to replace Pat Roberts don’t want to pay one more dime of taxes than they have to.
Kelly wants to be allowed to grow government, she would argue back to the size that it should be as it had been cut too much under former Governor Sam Brownback.
It would seem like a relative slam dunk that the windfall bill would be passed by the Kansas Senate.
There’s a strong Republican majority and Wagle has made it clear that’s what she wants, so she can control whether or not anything else gets done before that does.
Whether the Kansas House will pass in essence the same bill it deadlocked on last session will be an interesting thing to see.
If she wants to, Governor Kelly can just sit back and watch, for now.