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The Latest: GOP tax relief bill clears Kansas Legislature

March 14, 2019
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FILE-In this Jan. 24, 2019, photo, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions from reporters during a news conference at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Some Republican legislators in Kansas are set to advance Kelly's plan to boost funding for public schools. But legislators also are preparing to send the governor an income tax relief bill that could make it harder for the state to sustain the new spending. (AP Photo/John Hanna, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the Kansas Legislature’s debates on school funding and tax relief (all times local):

6:43 p.m.

A tax relief bill pushed by Republican leaders has cleared the GOP-controlled Legislature.

The measure went to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly after the Senate’s 24-16 vote Thursday evening. The House approved it last week.

The bill is designed to prevent businesses and individuals from paying more in state income taxes because changes in federal tax laws at the end of 2017. It also contains a small cut in the state’s sales tax on groceries.

Republicans said the bill is a matter of fairness and prevents an unlegislated tax increase.

But Democratic senators excoriated the bill as a budget-buster.

Kelly has stopped short of saying she will veto the measure but lawmakers in both parties expect her to reject the measure.

Senators approved the bill after passing an education funding increase.

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5:55 p.m.

The Kansas Senate has approved Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to boost funding for public schools.

The vote Thursday in the Republican-controlled Senate was 32-8 and sent the measure to the House.

Kelly’s plan would increase education funding by roughly $90 million a year. Many Republicans backed the bill even though their leaders believe it will be a financial stretch for the state.

The measure is designed to satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court order last year requiring legislators to increase the state’s education funding, currently more than $4 billion a year.

The Senate also expected to vote Thursday evening on whether to send a tax bill to Kelly. The measure is designed to prevent individuals and businesses from paying more state income taxes because of changes in federal tax laws.

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5:36 p.m.

The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to boost funding for public schools.

The Republican-controlled Senate advanced the bill on a voice vote Thursday. Senators expected to take a final vote Thursday evening to determine whether Kelly’s proposal passes and goes to the House.

Kelly’s plan would increase education funding by roughly $90 million a year. Many Republicans backed the bill even though their leaders believe it will be a financial stretch for the state.

The measure is designed to satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court order last year requiring legislators to increase the state’s education funding, currently more than $4 billion a year.

The Senate also expected to vote Thursday evening on whether to send a tax relief bill to Kelly.

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2:06 p.m.

Some Republican legislators in Kansas are set to advance Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to boost funding for public schools.

But legislators also are preparing to send the governor an income tax relief bill that could make it harder for the state to sustain the new spending.

The GOP-controlled Senate expects to vote Thursday on Kelly’s proposed education funding increase of roughly $90 million a year. The plan is designed to satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court order last year requiring legislators to increase education funding.

Top Republican senators backed Kelly’s plan.

The Senate also expects to take a final vote Thursday on a bill from GOP leaders aimed at preventing individuals and businesses from paying higher state income taxes because of 2017 changes in federal tax. Senate approval would send it to Kelly.