Kansas Senate begins debate on raising taxes to fix budget by rejecting attempt to kill plan

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TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas Senate has started a debate over a bill raising taxes to close a projected budget shortfall by rejecting a conservative Republican member's attempt to kill the measure.

Senators on Wednesday voted 25-13 against a move by GOP Sen. Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha to kill a measure to raise $496 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The bill would increase sales, tobacco and gasoline taxes. It also would suspend for two years a 2012 policy that exempted the profits of 281,000 business owners and farmers from income taxes.

The state's budget problems arose after lawmakers cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy.

Pyle said the state should cut spending. Other Republicans said senators should debate tax issues fully.

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