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Kansas governor again proposes eliminating mortgage interest deductions

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Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is again proposing to eliminate mortgage interest deductions.  It's a proposal that was rejected last year by lawmakers.

It's part of the governor's proposals intended to create an additional $541 million in new tax revenues for the next fiscal year.  If approved the elimination would last two years starting this July.

The changes come as a surprise to Brian Jones, broker and owner of Jones Heritage in Pittsburg.  Jones is also a friend of Governor Brownback and he looks forward to speaking with him.

"Actually, I have no reason - I can't understand why he would do that?" says Jones.  "Sam, you need to change.  You need to look at doing something different."

Governor Brownback is proposing to eliminate the state income tax deduction for interest paid on home mortgages to help close the state's budget shortfall.

That means itemized deductions will no longer be available and tax experts believe this will affect the middle class.

"Yes, their tax rate will go up quite a bit and they will be paying in to Kansas," says Linda Ludlum, owner of H&R Block in Pittsburg.

Right now the Kansas law allows deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, property taxes paid, and state and local sales taxes paid - changes that the Kansas Association of Realtors know all to well.

"We are planning to run another campaign this year using print, radio, digital adverting to Kansans to look at the proposal and contact their legislator and voice opposition to the proposal," says Luke Bell, Vice President of Government Affairs.

If the changes are approved it could affect a lot more.

"It would hurt local economies because when people buy houses they also buy new carpeting, they buy new appliances, they buy paint they buy materials," says Jones.

Part of the Kansas Realtors plan is a rally at the Kansas capitol to urge legislatures to protect the mortgage interest deduction.

Governor Brownback's latest budget proposals would also bring in an additional $76 million to public schools over the next two years.

Casino revenues will help fund teachers pensions but the base amount of aid to schools he's proposing falls short of what judges ordered in an education funding lawsuit last week.

Governor Brownback is also proposing to phase out property taxes on watercraft by 2016.

In November Kansas voters approved a proposal to reduce property taxes on watercraft such as boats.

Currently, watercraft is taxed at 30%.  The proposal wants to reduce that tax in the years to come and make them exempt from property tax by 2016.

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