Archive for Monday, October 26, 2009

Poll examines attitudes on taxes

October 26, 2009


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

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.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

Ahhhh yes a think tank promoting transparency yet refuses to reveal funders behind the think tank. Beware. My guess is these people are TABOR or Kansas Club for Growth thinkers which in reality they are the same crowd. Club for Growth originated through the direction of a former Brownback chief of staff......BEWARE! Club for Growth is name that deceives the american public just like the Flint Hills name that's being thrown out to the public.

The only business sector that is left to the mercy of the Free Market are the struggling mom and pop ventures. Large business more often than not does not pay taxes due to many corporate friendly loopholes. OR they receive many tax incentives aka Free Lunch aka local taxpayers make up the difference.

Big business tax incentives hit the middle class taxpayer hard = less expendable cash for home improvements,birthdays,christmas,investments,vacations and flowers for significant others.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

“Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)”

Then Lawrence Taxpaying Voters should weed out the city hall “Free Lunch” program:

Here’s what happens. And this is a good example of where the news media hasn’t done a good job. I have tons of news clips that say, oh, this new shopping mall is coming or a new Wal-Mart or a new Cabela’s store, and thanks to tax increment financing, this store is going to be built. Well, what is tax increment financing? I’ll tell you what it is. You go to the store with your goods, you pay for it at Wal-Mart, and there’s a very good chance that that store has made a deal with the government that the sales taxes you are required to pay, that government requires you to pay, never go to the government. Instead, those sales taxes are kept by Wal-Mart and used to pay the cost of the store. And typically in those deals, the store is tax exempt, just like a church.

Now, there are two ways that it’s important to think about this. One is, that means your kid’s schools, your police department, your library, your parks are not getting that money. And you’ll notice we keep saying we’re starved for money. We’re twice as wealthy as we were in 1980, but we’ve got to close hospitals, and we’ve got to close schools, and we don’t have money for all sorts of things like after-school programs, even though we’re twice as wealthy. The second thing to think about is, imagine that you own Amy Goodman’s or Juan’s department store across the street. You suddenly have to compete with people whom the government is giving a huge leg up on. You think you would go broke after a while? Well, in fact, you will.

And I tell about a man named Jim Weaknecht who owned a little store in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. He sold fishing tackle, hunting gear, stuff like that. And the way he made his living in his little tiny store, enough that he was able to have his wife stay at home and raise their three kids full time, was by charging less than a company called Cabela’s. Well, then Cabela’s came to town. This little city of 4,000 people made a deal to give Cabela’s $36 million to build a store. That’s more than the city budget for that town for ten years. It’s $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in that town to have this store. And even though he charged lower prices, he was pretty quickly run out of business.

That’s not market capitalism, which is what Ronald Reagan said he was going to bring us. He said, you know, government’s the problem, we need markets as a solution. Well, that’s not the market. That’s corporate socialism. And what we’ve gotten is corporate socialism for the politically connected rich—not all the rich, the politically connected rich—and market capitalism for everybody else.

Con't = more interesting facts

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

There's a new populist rhetoric out there which pits the job-providers, innovators and risk-takers against the average Joe and the working man. This horribly divisive message teaches the masses that government should punish success with higher taxes and that we need to spread the wealth around. And we're constantly being told that corporations are dishonest. It's unbelievable.

This message is also slowly convincing the population that the wealthy are somehow "not paying their fair share." (The wealthiest 5% already pay more than 50% of all taxes.)

Such a toxic mindset will make mediocrity the goal, and it will make achievement something worthy of disdain.

labmonkey 8 years, 7 months ago

I liked John McCain's idea about a moritorium on spending increases during the election last year. Noone should be paying more taxes. Lets cut spending, and say no to more government healthcare and Cap and Trade!!! No more bailouts. Let free enterprise work and weedout the poor performers.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 7 months ago

I am so ready for this article to be gone! Every time I open LJW, I see this and think it is a big eyeball.

Satirical 8 years, 7 months ago

Excellent post STRS.

To add another thought - Corporations don't pay taxes, they pass them on to the consumer.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 7 months ago

Those that don't pay taxes see no problem in making them higher.

Jimo 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm uncertain the value of asking people what level of taxes they want if the choices aren't tied to specific spending cuts that differing tax levels make unavoidable.

This question would require less traditional polling and more computerized programs capturing the state budget and making the people actually make tax and spending decisions adequate to balancing the budget. In other words, preventing people from living in a b/s world where trade-offs don't exist.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

All right, Jimo, what if we simply agreed that government should not grow one iota larger, ever? Would you be willing to support that?

tbaker 8 years, 7 months ago

The poles referred to do not indicate if their sample was of "likely voters" or not. Asking random people who may or may not vote is almost a waste of time.

Any student of government will tell you that any government-ran agency could be cut by 15% on general principal. Before the words "raising taxes" comes out of any politician's mouth in Topeka, the Kansas government should do exactly that.

Income taxes are immoral, un-American, and regressive. The state should eliminate income taxes all together and use a combination of excise taxes and sales taxes in it's place. No government entity should ever be allowed to take (compel by threat of force) directly from the fruits of an individual's labor.

If they keep the income tax, it should be a flat tax. Its not fair that the vast minority pays the vast majority of taxes. Everyone should pay. Every citizen should have a vested interest in the Kansas income tax system - especially those who benefit the most from it.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

"No government entity should ever be allowed to take (compel by threat of force) directly from the fruits of an individual's labor."

"Every citizen should have a vested interest in the Kansas income tax system - especially those who benefit the most from it." -tbaker

You're making a lot of sense.

Jimo 8 years, 7 months ago

"what if we simply agreed that government should not grow one iota larger, ever?"

Who is "we" and what is "larger"?

There's plenty that "I" would cut from government spending. But unfortunately, a majority of people probably disagree about each of my items.

And what is "larger"? Government grows larger by doing nothing because governmental services by their nature aren't capable of incorporating fully the technological efficiencies that the private sector does. Nor are most people upset about that to the extent it affects themselves. I don't know about you, but if I were indicted for a crime, I don't want an efficient trial. I want the whole, long, point-by-point, due process event - no matter how expensive to taxpayers.

Also, most "larger" governmental growth comes from changes to society. It's hardly government's fault that not only do people live longer past their last workable year but that the same technology that makes government less relatively efficient also allows a geometric expansion in the extent and cost of personal consumption particularly for medical care.

And I assume "larger" doesn't mean avoiding higher taxes because we still will have to fund the George W. Bush Debt Payoff, Pay Later Because the GOP "Conservatives" Borrowed It All Earlier from China Memorial Tax Increase? A/K/A, the biggest tax increase ever known in human history? (undoubtedly to be blamed on Obama)

So, no Setting, I doubt we'd agree on all that much. But it'd be worth the try. Would Limbaugh and his special needs little brother Beck agree to stop the silly death panel business (especially since they now seem to have lost) and focus on something more achievable such as killing this absurd idea of giving social security recipients $250 each to help them "weather the recession"? (Cost? $13B now, God only knows how much with interest.) The same seniors who got almost a 6% cost of living increase at the beginning of this year (besides a stimulus check). I don't know even the fattest Wall Street fat-cat who got a 6% wage increase, do you? So, can I expect to see tea-parties haunting Roberts and Brownback and Tiahrt and Jenkins and Moran until they stop voting for socialism in America?

tbaker 8 years, 7 months ago

Setting the record - Did you see my "if?"

Thanks for playing. Try again.

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