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Archive for Friday, January 8, 2010

New Kansas group calls on Legislature to consider tax hike

January 8, 2010, 7:55 a.m. Updated January 8, 2010, 4:30 p.m.

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Members of a newly formed coalition -- Kansans for Quality Communities -- hold a news conference Friday in the Statehouse. The group urged legislators to stop cutting the budget and consider a tax increase when the 2010 session starts Monday. From left to right seated are Mike Hammond, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, and Cindy Rush, a certified nurse aide and representing the Kansas Health Care Association. Standing from left are Mark Desetti, with the Kansas National Education Association, and Shannon Jones, executive director of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas.

Members of a newly formed coalition -- Kansans for Quality Communities -- hold a news conference Friday in the Statehouse. The group urged legislators to stop cutting the budget and consider a tax increase when the 2010 session starts Monday. From left to right seated are Mike Hammond, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, and Cindy Rush, a certified nurse aide and representing the Kansas Health Care Association. Standing from left are Mark Desetti, with the Kansas National Education Association, and Shannon Jones, executive director of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas.

— A coalition of health care and education groups on Friday said state budget cuts have caused serious harm to Kansas and called on legislators to consider tax increases to bridge the revenue shortfall.

“More cuts will send Kansas into a decline from which it will take years to recover,” Kansans for Quality Communities said in a statement.

The group urged the Legislature, which starts the 2010 legislative session on Monday, to refrain from any more budget cuts.

And the coalition said the Legislature should raise more revenue and consider tax increases, closing various sales tax exemptions, delaying the phase-out of some tax cuts, and also separating the state tax code from federal tax cuts that would reduce state revenue.

But when asked which sales tax exemptions should be eliminated, coalition members said they didn’t have a specific proposal.

The state budget was cut five separate times in 2009, for a total of nearly $1 billion, and still lawmakers face a nearly $400 million shortfall in the next fiscal year.

The coalition said those cuts have devastated services to the poor, elderly and people with disabilities, and hurt schools and public safety.

“Our communities and our way of life are at risk,” said Cindy Rush, a certified nurse aide at a Topeka nursing home, and representative of the Kansas Health Care Association.

Mike Hammond, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers, said state budget cuts have put “the public mental health system at a breaking point.”

Community mental health centers, which treat 123,000 Kansans each year, have sustained state grant cuts of 65 percent over the last three years, Hammond said. “These cuts have gone too far. We can no longer cut our way out of this crisis,” he said.

Shannon Jones, director of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas, said funding cuts for home- and community-based services will mean more vulnerable Kansans requiring more expensive nursing home care. “For the elected official, the easiest task is to cut programs and people. The more difficult task is saying to the citizens of Kansas that there are real and genuine needs for some of our fellow Kansans and we are not going to abandon them,” Jones said.

Public school representatives said education cuts have produced larger classrooms, fewer instructional days and decreases in programs designed to help students who are struggling.

Karen Godfrey, vice president of the Kansas National Education Association, noted that the state has lost revenue through recent tax cuts that legislators said would increase economic development. “But we know that a strong education system is one of the most critical elements to economic development,” Godfrey said.

The coalition includes the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Disability Rights Center of Kansas, InterHab Resource Network for Kansans with Disabilities, Kansas Area Agencies on Aging Association, Kansas Association of Public Employees, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas Families for Education, Kansas Health Care Association, Kansas National Education Association, Kansas Organization of State Employees, Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas, and United School Administrators of Kansas.

Comments

Centerville 5 years ago

Ever wonder why Rothschild never goes to the trouble to report that you, the taxpayers, are stuck with the bill for salaries for these 'lobbyists' to hang around the capitol? And to write these whiney press releases?

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

tax cuts inspire growth. growth creates jobs. jobs ensure spending. spending increases tax revenue.

likewise, lets go through the law books and start throwing away outdated laws that rape the economy.

getreal 5 years ago

Maybe we should just keep giving big corporations tax breaks so they can send 700 lobbyists to Topeka to advocate on behalf of their PERSONAL interests while working families pick up the tab to provide STATE services. Children, the elderly, and the disabled should deserve a voice in the process as well! I'm done with corporate welfare!

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years ago

Has anyone in this group ever lobbied for tax relief or a halt to government growth?

matchbox81 5 years ago

People often forget that the purpose of elected officials is not to insure the lowest possible taxes at the expense of everything else. It's to create legislation and appropriate revenue to provide vital services to the city/county/state, while of course trying to prevent fraud and waste in programs.

Additionaly, cutting services to a subgroup of people (usually low income or in poor health) is the very same as increasing taxes as that subgroup since they'll probably require that service one way or another.

BigDog 5 years ago

AreUNorml (Anonymous) says…

tax cuts inspire growth. growth creates jobs. jobs ensure spending. spending increases tax revenue.

likewise, lets go through the law books and start throwing away outdated laws that rape the economy.

If this is true then the Kansas economy ought to be rolling along just fine. Lawmakers have cut $10 billion in taxes since 1995 (this includes tax exemptions given out and economic development tax breaks for businesses).

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

I felt the need to correct this post.

matchbox81 (Anonymous) says…

"ELECTED OFFICIALS" often forget that the purpose of elected officials is not to insure the lowest possible taxes at the expense of everything else. It's to create legislation and appropriate revenue to provide vital services to the city/county/state, while of course trying to prevent fraud and waste in programs.

anon1958 5 years ago

Healthcare_Moocher (Anonymous) says…

Where in the founding documents does it say we have to work towards becomming a welfare state?


Some of us do not mind sharing with the poor. Most of the same group does however mind very much providing welfare to Wall Street.

Kansas is a lot closer to becoming a third world country than it is to becoming a welfare "state". I am sure this will come as a shock to the neo-cons but major industries consider how well a state is maintained and the level of education among the population where it will be drawing its workforce.

Like it or not Kansas is competing with other states for jobs and while Kansas is not at the absolute bottom of the barrel it is no where near the top of desirable states to start a business. Kansas has always suffered somewhat by having a reputation that the place is worse than it really is.

The reality will soon match the reputation unless the legislature suddenly achieve enlightenment, which seems unlikely to me.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Asking for the state to reinstate taxes that were lost to irresponsible tax cuts is merely bringing Kansas back to square one.

Tax cuts do not create new industry nor new jobs. If so this entire country would be advertising abroad for new employees.

Closing New York School will not save money as previous closings have proved. In fact closing New York school or any neighborhood school reduces the property values within those areas as much as 10%. Thus costing USD 497 money as well as the county and city. None of those bodies can afford this much of a loss. $9,000 - $20,000 per home is a loss that all concerned cannot afford. This 10% loss is in addition to the property value damage the Bush/Cheney home loan scandal created.

How will this loss of tax dollars be made up? Increased school fees, increased athletic fees? Where is the money to make up the loss?

Remember taxpayers we now have close to $20,000,000(million) worth of new bills on the table as a result of the new athletic expenditures. How can USD 497 afford to reduce property values by 10%?

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Our fair city cannot afford to lose tax dollars to a Free Lunch program aka tax abatements.

When the city wants to offer TIF, tax abatements or other tax dollar give aways aka Free Lunch this article explains the impact simply:

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."

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

commuter 5 years ago

Good posts Merrill- repeal the sales tax that was passed for the T and use it to fund schools??

funkdog1 5 years ago

commuter - seriously ... what?

Steve Miller 5 years ago

Forget all of it, have kansas declared a foreign country so we can get some of those dollars going to foreign countries.

phoggyjay 5 years ago

simple...

legalization = tax revenue

Scott Drummond 5 years ago

What have 30 years of republican tax cuts achieved for us? Are we better off? Are those funds doing more good circulating in the Kansas jobs and communities where government services are provided, or sitting in a bigger balance for Koch family members in some Wall Street mutual fund? Would you, dear reader, be better off it that money was circulating in Kansas, or do you believe the republican theory that somehow it trickles down to you when concentrated in the hands of a few? Has it?

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

No thank you.

We have ALL needed to tighten our belts, and unfortunately there are some things (even 'necessities') that are going to have to go.

If you have great faith in your obamassiah you shouldn't be the least bit concerned, your great prophet will turn things around soon....then we can bring back these 'necessities'...where is your faith?

jumpin_catfish 5 years ago

Kansans for Quality Communities is group of people interested in stickin their hand in my pocket. Well, you better kiss me first neighbor. Seriously, this state could cut taxes and cut spending and that would make me very happy but I'm one of those conservative folks who works for a livin and still have to pay the state on April 15th. I even have extra money taken out each year. Nice little "system" they have going it seems. Also, I would like to see some numbers that show if tax abatements are beneficial to the community or not. And churches use city service so why shouldn't they pay property taxes too.

Scott Drummond 5 years ago

"I am sure glad my fingerprints are not on any of this crap.

A novel idea is, you pay your bills and I'll pay mine. If I can't pay mine, then I will get another job or a better job instead of whining that the rich need to pay for my stupidity and/or lazyness. I do not stop by the liquor store every night on the way home from work. My disposible income goes to paying down any debt I have. Not taking on more then asking someone else to pay for it."

Will you be paying for the republican nation building and war profiteering of the last 8 years? And also the prescription drug giveaway that was not paid for. Also, bush and the republican's mismanagement of the economy resulting in our delayed payment of accumulated debt and greater interest due. My fingerprints are not on any of that crap and it makes up a large chunk of the national debt burden. Or was that taken on and we are all expected to pay for it?

skinny 5 years ago

I am afaid I have to agree with Scott3460, You pay your bills and I'll pay mine. If you have kids, you pay to feed them and send them to school. No more hand outs.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

blasphemer!!

the previous blog is obviously hate speech, and the writer should be water-boarded immediately!!

LJW, you need to red-flag the above comment and notify one or all of obama's czars.

Heretic!!

BigDog 5 years ago

Moocher blaming the Democrats in Congress for the spending issue in Washington is a joke. Bush spent like a drunken sailor for 8 years ...... many in his own party went after him on that issue. Democrats are to blame also but Bush and Republicans in Congress had issues with spending when they controlled Congress.

On the state level it is interesting that the anti-tax groups in Kansas (Kansas Policy Institute, Americans for Prosperity, etc.) are all funded by the BILLIONAIRE Koch brothers.

The same BILLIONAIRE Koch brothers who pay the same income tax rate in Kansas as a person with $60,000 in taxable income. UNBELIEVABLE????

http://www.ksrevenue.org/pdf/forms/iitables08.pdf

finance 5 years ago

I sincerely appreciate all the comments thus far, in this thread and in previous ones to which I have contributed. The threads have shown me what I originally set out to investigate: the hypothesis that no one has anything to say that anyone else will hear objectively, and consequently there is no point in any more talk.

So here's the deal. You sit down and shut up. I promise to do the same. You and I shouldn't populate the same state, likely not the same planet. I'd be willing to leave, and I suggest you adopt the same generous posture. Sad, but it's the truth, and we're supposed to be adults. But being adults means recognizing the hard truth: and the truth is, we're so diametrically opposed that we have nothing left to discuss.

If I were genuinely more interested, it would be an enlightening exercise to correlate grammar, spelling, and articulateness with political attitude as represented in these grassroots polls (that's all this has been to me--a measure of visceral thought). While I realize simple correlation does not approximate inferential statistics, I nonetheless predict the correlation would be +1.00--meaning that the worse the spelling and grammar and expressiveness, the more predictable the political leaning; and inversely, the more accurate the spelling and grammar and expressiveness, the more predictable the political leaning. Again, bottom line: nothing left to talk about. All we can hope to do is co-exist.

Further facts won't help--those would be ignored; diatribe is the only currency in these threads. Goodbye, and best wishes.

blackfox 5 years ago

The state budget was cut five separate times in 2009, for a total of nearly $1 billion, and still lawmakers face a nearly $400 million shortfall in the next fiscal year.

The coalition said those cuts have devastated services to the poor, elderly and people with disabilities, and hurt schools and public safety.

Great idea! Higher taxes! Guess this way more people can be poor and have the governement take care of them. Great idea Kansas! How stupid. If the schools need more money, here is an idea. QUIT BUILDING NEW SCHOOLS! You dont need them.

Scott Drummond 5 years ago

"The threads have shown me what I originally set out to investigate: the hypothesis that no one has anything to say that anyone else will hear objectively, and consequently there is no point in any more talk."

What of those who do not comment themselves, but may read the comments of others and be convinced one way or the other?

"Great idea! Higher taxes! Guess this way more people can be poor and have the governement take care of them. Great idea Kansas! How stupid. If the schools need more money, here is an idea. quit building new schools! You dont need them."

Wow, so many things upon which to comment in the statement of this poor victim of the right wing ideology. First, the disregard for education revealed in the numerous spelling and grammar errors. Second, the underlying hatred of public education itself. Right wingers seeing no benefit, after all, to a populace which is sufficiently educated to recognize the harm being done at their expense. Third, the flawed logic that progressive taxation creates poverty and dependence on the government. There is a reason financial bubbles, recessions and depressions always follow periods of right wing control of government and it is a shame the right wing/corporate/military control of the main stream media is so extensive that our citizens do not understand the correlation.

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