There has been concern that the tax cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback will prevent adequate funding of schools, social services and public safety and other areas of the state budget. Do you support or oppose the tax cuts?
I voted against Senate Substitute for HB 2117; I opposed the changes
to income taxes, however I did vote for the amendment to that bill to
allow for the scheduled expiration of the temporary portion of the sales
tax increase and for a bill that would have reduced property taxes. I am
concerned that the combination of changes to taxes beginning in 2013
will dramatically reduce state revenues, spur businesses to reorganize
solely to avoid state income taxes, make the Kansas tax system more
unfair (taxes as percentage of income was reduced for all but the
lowest-income taxpayers; the Food Sales Tax Rebate and the Homestead
Property Tax Program for renters were eliminated), and put pressure on
local governments to increase property taxes to cover programs and
services no longer funded by the state.
In addition to changes to address oversights and inconsistencies in the
bill that need to be made in the next legislative session, I think that
the pass-through exemption for business income should be limited to the
first $100,000 in non-wage income and that the Food Sales Tax Rebate,
Child and Dependent Care Credit and the Homestead Property Tax Program
for renters should be restored.
I support tax cuts, but I am concerned that the tax cuts enacted in the last session were too deep. I support a moderate approach to tax decreases. While some see the tax cuts as the salvation of the state others believe it will result in the destruction of Kansas. I believe the results will be somewhere in between. Small business will take their tax breaks and generally improve, replace, repair, and invest in the expansion of their companies. The KLRD deficit forecast is inaccurate in that it does not consider the positive effects of the tax reform on the state economy. If only half the small businesses affected by this tax reform create just one new job, Kansas could significantly reduce unemployment. In turn, unemployment benefits being paid by the state would be reduced, freeing more revenue to fund basic and vital services. A lower tax structure makes starting new businesses easier and less costly. Tax reform is not set in stone; it is an ever-evolving process. There are exemptions to the current tax law that require review. The outcome of comprehensive tax review and reform will be a healthier Kansas economy with more jobs, more revenue, and lower taxes.
The state is the target of a lawsuit that alleges the Legislature has shirked its constitutional duty to adequately fund public schools. Does the state need to increase funding to public schools? Please explain your answer.
I do believe that the state needs to increase funding for our public
schools. I voted for the increases for school funding in 2005 after the
Supreme Court ruled that the state was not adequately funding public
schools. Because of the severe cuts made in education funding over the
last several years, and with the modest increase for the current year,
we are now back to the levels of state funding in base state aid per
pupil of 11 years ago. The parents, students, and teachers that I have
talked with are concerned about increases in fees, larger class sizes,
fewer class offerings, and limited supplies. State revenues have
increased in the past year; some of that money should be going to
restore the cuts that were made to school funding.
Yes, public school funding does need to be increased. I am concerned over the changes in school funding for students in the classroom. As a public school teacher and coach for 37 years, I have seen first hand how cutbacks have affected our schools including reductions in support staff, cutting educational trips, eliminating art and music programs, and placing students in larger classes in order to avoiding replacing teachers. I support reliable funding for students in the classroom. From 2008 to 2011, there has been a $633 cut in state funding per pupil; in 2012 there was an increase of $58 per pupil. As the economy improves, I believe we can and must increase funding to our schools.