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Archive for Thursday, January 18, 2007

TABOR backers now eye other measures

January 18, 2007

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— Unable to push through a constitutional amendment to limit taxes and spending, the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity on Wednesday set its sights on a number of other initiatives that it says will help businesses and streamline government.

Alan Cobb, state director of AFP, said the organization wasn't backing off the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

"It's a long-term discussion," Cobb said. "The debate is going to continue."

TABOR is a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voter approval of state tax increases, limit state spending increases to the inflation rate and refund taxes above that amount.

To be adopted, the amendment would need two-thirds approval in the state House and Senate, and then must be OK'd by voters in a statewide election.

AFP and its supporters hoped to get the measure on the ballot last November, but the amendment lacked necessary support in the Legislature.

The proposal was opposed by a broad coalition of education, social service and some business groups that said it would hinder the government's ability to invest in needed services and respond to emergencies.

Now, AFP has recommended a number of other measures, some of which, Cobb said, are in line with the basic concept of TABOR.

The proposals include:

¢ Eliminating the corporate franchise tax, and cutting the corporate income tax and unemployment tax paid by businesses.

¢ Requiring a supermajority in the Legislature to adopt tax increases.

¢ Limiting state debt.

¢ Restricting taxpayer-funded lobbying.

¢ Establishing a commission to review whether state agencies should continue to be funded.

¢ Requiring legislative confirmation of state Supreme Court justices.

¢ Establishing a reserve fund in the state budget.

Americans for Prosperity was founded by billionaire David Koch, executive vice president and a board director for Koch Industries, based in Wichita. Koch was the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president of the United States in 1980 and a well-known backer of anti-tax efforts.

Cobb said AFP has 25 local chapters in Kansas with 6,500 members. He said the organization received 700 different contributions from foundations, individuals and corporations.

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