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House taxation chair sees support for decoupling measure, but urges caution with other adjustments

Kansas House Taxation Committee Chair Republican Steven Johnson of Assaria agrees in principle with the idea of limiting the amount of changes to the tax code this session.

“Make sure we know exactly where this policy is before we have major surgery,” said Johnson. “There are a couple of things along the way that fit with what was in that 2017 legislation specifically that we may want to clean up, when the federal law changed. For the most part, I think we can start where we are and then focus on how we go forward.”

Johnson did say there appears to be support for the idea of decoupling the tax code and allowing Kansans to itemize on their state returns even if they use the larger standard deduction on their federal returns.

“In the 2017 tax law, we actually expanded itemized deductions to return it for home mortgage interest, to return medical expense deductions, which are in a category that’s very hard for people to be able to plan for,” said Johnson. “I think that, especially, that medical expense deduction is an important one for us to have for people in working through paying and planning their taxes.”

Right now, between 25 and 30 percent of people would be able to itemize if the decoupling bill were to pass. If it does not and the law stays the same, under 10 percent could do so.

“While total revenue is a question, another question is how do you attempt to equitably distribute who has to pay?” asked Johnson. “It does appear that hits that group pretty hard.”

Whether Governor Kelly would ultimately sign a bill that cuts revenues at all is a question left unanswered at this point.


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