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Chamber legislative agenda looks to roll back tax increases connected with 2018 federal law

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Legislative Agenda came from its usual place, the organization’s members.

“We listen to our members as we travel the state throughout the year,” said VP for Government Affairs, Eric Stafford. “We have task groups that are formed based on the various subject matter, whether it’s taxation or human resource issues, health care, etc. We take the input from our membership and develop this legislative agenda that is presented to our board of directors for approval at our December meeting.”

At the top of the Chamber’s list is giving the tax windfall back to Kansans that they argue was intended by the Trump administration’s 2018 tax bill.

“Kansas is what’s known as a rolling conformity state,” said Stafford. “Any changes at the federal level that are made, those essentially happen here at the state level. There are some provisions that are known as pay-fors to help lower the corporate rate that are essentially now going to be taxed here at the state level. We’re advocating to decouple on the corporate side from some of those provisions. Also, one of the biggest changes at the federal level deals with individual taxpayers. You and I, we can no longer itemize at the state level if we use the standard deduction at the federal level.”

After a retroactive tax increase in the 2018 legislative session, the Chamber would like to see a retroactive decrease in this one.

“Our bill that we plan to introduce this coming session will be effective January 1, 2018,” said Stafford. “A retroactive application to last tax year that folks will be working on for their tax returns this year right now, here in the next 6-8 weeks. It’s our intention to try and address that. Whether that happens with the will of the legislature or not, we’ll have to wait and see.”

The Chamber also plans to oppose Medicaid expansion efforts in the 2019 session.

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