TOPEKA — Rep. Adam Smith emphasized the tax reform bill negotiated by a half-dozen House and Senate members started as an extravagant wish list that would have drained off more than $500 million in annual state revenue.
“We did a lot in committee trying to pare this down,” said Smith, the Weskan Republican and chairman of the House Taxation Committee. “When all the requests and considerations were put in there, it was close to — I’m going to estimate it — close to $500 million to $600 million. We were trying to be fiscally responsible and look at the overall picture.”
Still, the bundle of tax policy changes the House-Senate conference committee wrapped into House Bill 2239 sent a chill down the spine of Rep. Jim Gartner, D-Topeka. He’s not keen to craft a mega-bill drawn from an assortment of other bills, because the tactic usually meant Republicans were trying to force reluctant legislators to hold their noses and vote for a deal.