The recently released “Kansas Speaks” poll conducted by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University reported Kansans’ opinions in many areas, but one that didn’t get too much attention was what people want in tax policy.
Respondents were asked whether taxes should be increased, reduced or remain the same for different groups.
Kansans said that for the middle class, taxes should either remain the same (55 percent) or be decreased (41 percent). For small businesses, 55 percent said taxes should be decreased, while 42 percent said taxes should remain the same.
So that means less than 5 percent of respondents said taxes on the middle class and small businesses should be increased.
But there’s little tax sympathy for corporations, according to the poll.
Fifty-two percent say taxes for corporations should be increased and 33 percent want to see them remain the same. Taxes for top income earners should stay the same, according to 41 percent of Kansans, or be increased, according to 41 percent.
Whether state taxes should be increased, some tax cuts delayed or more spending cut will be a major issue in the coming months when the Legislature starts its 2010 session in January.
During this year, state government has already undergone four waves of budget cuts, and the projected deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year has been tagged at $500 million or more.
Revenue estimators will meet early next month to provide a new forecast.
Gov. Mark Parkinson has said he doesn’t want to cut any more from social service agencies, and Kansas prison officials say any further cuts in the system will mean shutting down more facilities. Public schools and higher education say more cuts will jeopardize getting more federal stimulus funds, which require a certain level of state funding commitment.
An economic rebound would make these problems go away but no one is counting on that happening soon.
On another budgetary note, the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy is changing its name and has launched a Web site that contains information on state spending.
The center’s new name will be the Kansas Policy Institute and the Web site is KansasOpenGov.org.
In a news release, the center said the Web site’s goal “is to keep government transparent and accountable.”
Flint Hills/Kansas Policy, however, refuses to divulge who its financial backers are.
Dave Trabert, president of the center, said the organization is backed by a broad base of people who believe in free market principles and individual freedom.