Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Senate GOP Gathers Behind Closed Doors; Poll Argues against Business Tax Changes

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Senate GOP Gathers Behind Closed Doors; Poll Argues against Business Tax Changes

Article excerpt

Senate Republicans huddled behind closed doors in an unassuming office building near the Statehouse on Thursday to figure out what the top GOP senator called "the path out" -- as a new poll given to some lawmakers purports to show Kansans don't want a tax hike on businesses.

One GOP senator and the Senate Democratic leader said the late afternoon meeting revolved around polling.

One poll, obtained by The Topeka Capital-Journal, comes as senators mull whether to advance a measure that would roll back tax exemptions for business owners in an effort to help close the state's $228 million budget shortfall. A spokeswoman for the Senate president said that particular poll wasn't discussed in the caucus, saying instead another poll was discussed.

The Singularis Group, a Kansas firm often utilized by Republicans, conducted the poll in April. Pollsters questioned 300 voters, according to a summary page dated Thursday.

The summary says that media reports lead voters to believe Kansans overwhelmingly reject the "pro-jobs, pro-growth" tax cuts implemented by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature in 2012 -- but that isn't the case.

"However, polling data suggests just the opposite -- that Kansans favor scaling back government to fit existing revenues, rather than raising taxes," the page reads.

The poll found that 33 percent of voters support raising taxes on small businesses to help balance the state's budget, while 57 percent favor continuing to trim spending.

The summary page doesn't indicate who commissioned the poll. Its release comes amid a new debate over business tax breaks, and could be an attempt to pressure Republicans into voting against changes.

Paje Resner, spokeswoman for Senate President Susan Wagle, said a different poll was discussed in the caucus meeting. The details of that poll weren't released.

Earlier on Thursday, the Senate Tax Committee had a hearing on a bill driven by three Republican senators that would roll back tax exemptions for business owners implemented in 2012. Under the proposal, 70 percent of business income flowing from a limited liability corporation to its owner would once again become taxable. …

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