300 realtors rally in Topeka to fight end of tax deductions - KCTV5

Nearly 300 realtors rally in Topeka to fight ending of 2 tax deductions

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Courtesy: Keri Renner Courtesy: Keri Renner
Courtesy: Keri Renner Courtesy: Keri Renner
Courtesy: Keri Renner Courtesy: Keri Renner

The saying "Home Sweet Home" could mean a little less come tax time in Kansas. Governor Sam Brownback wants to do away with two deductions that can save homeowners money on their state taxes.

But one group with a lot at stake in the realty market is trying to convince lawmakers it's not a good idea.

Nearly 300 realtors rallied at the capitol in Topeka, KS, Wednesday to tell their legislators how important the deductions are to their business.

"Hopefully we don't go backwards with this elimination of the mortgage deduction," said Dee Grisamore with Innovative Realty in Overland Park, KS.

Grisamore has been in the real estate game his whole life. There has always been a mortgage interest tax deduction. He said the last five years have been brutal for the housing market.

"As the market improves, I'd hate to see anything done which would stall the housing market or move us backwards," Grisamore said. "I think it will hurt housing values. I think it will hurt new construction."

About 300 realtors at the capitol Wednesday share his view.

"We support the governor's intent. We want to move Kansas, if possible, to a zero income-tax state, we want to create jobs, we want to generate economic growth. The problem for us is, the plan as it currently sits, is asking legislatures to approve pretty massive tax increases," said Luke Bell the vice president of government affairs with the Kansas Association of Realtors.

Bell said about 345,000 Kansas tax filers deduct their mortgage interest with an average savings of nearly $500, for a total of $162.5 million. 385,000 Kansans also deduct property taxes for about $68.5 million in tax relief.

"We're asking that if it's going to take 10 years for our taxes to go away, why not phase these deductions and credits out over the same time period," Bell said.

Lawmakers like Julia Lynn of Olathe, KS, who are pushing to eliminate the Kansas income tax altogether say, once the tax is gone, the deductions won't matter.

"It's a paradigm shift at how you look at income. Do we want real cash in our pockets, or a deduction on a tax form?" said Lynn, a Republican representing the 9th district.

Lynn adds that the average Johnson County taxpayer would save about $750 a year with no income tax.

The senate plans to debate the tax measure next week.

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