- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Latest on the Kansas Legislature’s debate over its budget problems and raising taxes to fix them (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill that would continue a statewide property tax for public schools for another two years.

The vote Thursday was 39-1 and sends the measure to the House. The bill would raise $635 million for schools during the 2017-18 school year and another $663 million for 2018-19.

Kansas has imposed the tax since 1992 but the state constitution allows requires lawmakers to consider it every two years.

The only no vote came from freshman Republican Sen. Dinah Sykes of Lenexa. She said she couldn’t vote to renew the tax without a new school finance law or a fix for the state’s budget problems.

The tax is $20 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. The first $20,000 of a home’s value is exempt.

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3:45 p.m.

The Kansas Senate has rejected a proposal to raise additional revenue with a “flat” personal income tax that had Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s endorsement.

The vote Thursday was 37-3 against the bill. The only yes votes came from Republicans, President Susan Wagle of Wichita, Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park and Sen. Gene Suellentrop of Wichita.

The proposed budget fix would have imposed a 4.6 percent rate for all filers starting next year. That is the top rate for higher-income earners, and the bill would eliminate the 2.7 percent rate now in place for lower-income filers.

It would have ended an exemption championed by Brownback for 330,000-plus farmers and business owners.

The measure would have raised about $652 million over two years.

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11:15 a.m.

The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a bill that would continue a statewide property tax for public schools for another two years.

Senators advanced the measure Thursday on a voice vote. The bill would raise $635 million for schools during the 2017-18 school year and another $663 million for 2018-19.

The Senate planned to take a final vote Friday to determine whether the bill goes to the House.

Kansas has imposed a statewide property tax to raise money for schools since 1992. The Kansas Supreme Court has said the state constitution prohibits lawmakers from imposing it for more than two years at a time.

The tax is $20 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. The first $20,000 of a home’s value is exempt.

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10:30 a.m.

Republican legislators in Kansas are divided over a proposal to raise additional revenue with a “flat” personal income tax despite GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s endorsement.

The Republican-controlled Senate was debating an income tax bill Thursday, a day after Brownback said publicly that he would sign it or something similar.

GOP leaders conceded the bill might not pass.

The proposed budget fix would impose a 4.6 percent rate for all filers starting next year. That is the top rate for higher-income earners, and the bill would eliminate the 2.7 percent rate now in place for lower-income filers.

It would end an exemption championed by Brownback for 330,000-plus farmers and business owners.

The measure would raise about $652 million over two years. Kansas faces budget shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion.

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6:10 a.m.

Kansas legislators are preparing to debate a proposal to raise additional revenue with a “flat” personal income tax that has the backing of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

The state Senate was taking up an income tax bill Thursday, a day after Brownback said publicly that he would sign it or something similar.

The proposed budget fix would impose a 4.6 percent rate for all filers starting next year. That is the top rate for higher-income earners, and the bill would eliminate the 2.7 percent rate now in place for lower-income filers.

It would end an exemption championed by Brownback for 330,000-plus farmers and business owners.

The bill would raise about $652 million over two years. Kansas faces budget shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion through June 2019.

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