Kansas Democrats and Republicans both proposed tax cuts. Here’s how they compare

It isn’t clear which tax cut proposals might become law. Both have provisions with bipartisan support, but neither has a clear path to becoming law.

by Blaise Mesa


  • A flat tax on income is a major difference between the two tax cuts. Republicans want it, but Gov. Laura Kelly says she won’t sign it into law.
  • Despite the differences, both tax plans have cuts to Social Security taxes, sales taxes and property taxes.
  • Republicans want to pass their flat tax as soon as possible. 

Republicans and Democrats propose dueling tax-cut plans in the Kansas Legislature that could spend down a surplus and set policy for a generation.

The Republican plan includes things the Democratic governor has said she’ll never sign. The Democrats’ plan lacks items that Republicans say are must-haves.

Yet even as each side says the other’s plan contains critical flaws, both cover common ground.

“We are moving quickly to adopt this plan and hopefully the governor will meet us in the middle and help us deliver the tax relief all Kansans deserve,” the Legislature’s Republican leaders, House Speaker Dan Hawkins of Wichita and Senate President Ty Masterson of Andover, said in an emailed statement. 

Here’s how the two tax plans compare:

The Big Difference

The Republican plan has a single-rate income tax of 5.25% that exempts income at or under $6,150 a year, or $12,300 for couples.

That flat tax would replace the current three-tier tax bracket of 3.1%, 5.25% and 5.7%. 

Gov. Laura Kelly has said multiple times she will not sign a flat-tax plan because she said it favors the rich and is too expensive. Republicans tried to pass a 5.15% flat tax last session, but Kelly vetoed it and the Legislature lacked the votes to override it. 

On Jan. 8, the governor released her tax plan with the support of key Republicans and an independent who helped kill the flat tax last year. 

I’m supporting the governor’s plan,” said state Sen. Dennis Pyle, the independent lawmaker from Hiawatha. 

The Similarities

Both plans feature…

  • Property tax cuts. The first $100,000 would be exempt from property taxes. Democrats hope to further cut property taxes by sending money to local jurisdictions for property tax relief. But some Republicans say that fund doesn’t guarantee relief. 
  • Social Security tax cuts. Both Democrats and Republicans want to completely eliminate the tax on Social Security income. 
  • Sales tax cuts. The state’s sales tax on food would disappear by July if either plan became law. Kelly also wants to cut sales taxes on diapers and feminine hygiene products. 
  • Standard deduction increases. The GOP plan raises the standard deduction based on inflation and increases the personal exemption by $50 to $2,300. That would be further adjusted based on inflation. 

Kelly’s plan increases the standard deduction to $5,000 for single Kansans — that’s a $1,500 increase on the current number. Married couples filing jointly could have a deduction up to $10,000 — that’s an increase from the current $8,000. 

Which tax cuts cost more?

Kelly’s plan will cost around $1 billion over three years while Republicans’ plan costs just under $1.6 billion over three years. The state currently has a $2 billion-plus budget surplus

This article was republished here with the permission of: The Beacon