Legislators spent weeks in gridlock during the 2015 session trying to figure out the best way to fill the massive budget hole. The longest legislative session in history ended with the passage of the largest tax increase in the history of our state.
Many are familiar with the items that went into effect July 1, 2015, including increased sales tax from 6.15% to 6.5%, increased tobacco tax by $0.50 per pack, and delayed the reductions of the income tax rate that were signed into law in 2013.
As we head into the New Year, many will be surprised to learn they’ll have to pay more in income tax as a result of the following changes to itemized deductions:
- Personal Property Taxes, reduced to 50%
- Home Mortgage Interest, reduced to 50%
- Unreimbursed employee expenses, eliminated
- Job expenses exceeding 2% of Federal Adjusted Gross Income, eliminated
- Tax preparation fees, eliminated
- Medical and dental expenses exceeding 10% of Federal Adjusted Gross Income, eliminated
- State and local or other taxes (not including income taxes), eliminated
- Real estate taxes, eliminated
- Mortgage insurance premiums under limited circumstances, eliminated
- Certain types of investment interest under limited circumstances, eliminated
- Casualty and theft losses, eliminated
I voted against this unfair tax policy because it places an unnecessary burden on the poor, the elderly, and hardworking middle-class Kansans. It is especially troubling for those who live on a fixed income and already struggle to meet their daily needs. Further, these tax policies fail to provide a real, long term solution to our state’s budget problem.