TOPEKA (KSNT) — Before adjourning through March, the Kansas Senate passed several bills Thursday night.
The Kansas Senate passed SB 169 which would give most Kansans a single tax rate by a vote of 22-17. Similar to a flat tax, the bill would eliminate the state’s current tiered income tax system and set the state income tax rate at 4.75%. For those earning around $5,000 or less annually, there would be no income tax. The bill now goes to the Kansas House.
Passes bill limiting early voting in Kansas
Also Thursday night, by a vote of 22 to 16, the Kansas Senate passed a new food tax bill. Instead of eliminating the healthy foods tax, as originally written, SB 248 would instead lower state taxes on all food ingredients starting on the first of next year. If passed, this bill would reverse the current phase-down that went into effect this year. Right now, the food sales tax is at 4% and is expected to drop completely in 2025. The bill now goes to the Kansas House.
The Kansas Senate also passed SB 96 on Thursday by a 28-11 vote. The bill requires the state to pay up to $10 million in tax credits to people who contribute to charities that operate as pregnancy centers. The Pregnancy Resource Act would apply to non-profit facilities that operate solely to assist women in carrying their pregnancies to term. Opponents said these centers discourage people from having abortions through misinformation and lobbying tactics.
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The Kansas Senate also passed a bill to strip local health officials of the power to fight contagious diseases. In the early months of the COVID pandemic, Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment declared a public health emergency by ordering temporary school closures, a statewide lockdown, and mandated COVID precautions. By a vote of 22 to 18, the Senate passed SB 6. If passed by the House, the state would only be able to issue recommendations, not mandates.