Archive for Monday, January 11, 2010

Parkinson proposes sales, cigarette tax increases to start session

Parkinson reluctant to cut more from budget

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson shakes hands as he  enters the House Chambers Monday, Jan. 11, 2010, to deliver his State of the State address.

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson shakes hands as he enters the House Chambers Monday, Jan. 11, 2010, to deliver his State of the State address.

January 11, 2010, 6:48 p.m. Updated January 11, 2010, 9:52 p.m.


2010 State of the State address

Facing a historic budget crisis, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday proposed a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax and an increase in the state tax on cigarettes of 55 cents per pack.

By the numbers

15,000 — Dollars the governor’s budget office says it saved by not printing budget books.

6.3 — The state sales tax rate under Gov. Mark Parkinson’s tax increase proposal.

12— Applause interruptions during Parkinson’s State of the State speech.

1 — Mention of the Lawrence mobile home that Parkinson and his wife, Stacy, lived in while going to KU Law School.

0 — Number of lawmakers who applauded when Parkinson outlined his tax increase proposal.

— Facing a historic budget crisis, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday proposed a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax and an increase in the state tax on cigarettes of 55 cents per pack.

After cutting nearly $1 billion from a $6 billion budget over the past year, Parkinson said further cuts would do serious damage to Kansas.

“We are now cutting into the bone,” he said during the State of State address to start the 2010 legislative session. “Everything we have built is at risk,” he said.

He said that without additional tax revenue, more cuts would have to be made to schools, social services, universities and prisons.

But Parkinson’s tax proposal got a chilly reception, and quickly drew sharp criticism from Republicans, the Kansas Chamber, and Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax group.

House Majority Leader Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, delivered a stinging rebuke. “In a shameful change of course from when he took office last year, the governor has abdicated his duty to the taxpayers of Kansas by refusing to offer a balanced budget and demanding the largest tax increase in Kansas history.”

But Parkinson’s fellow Democrats and even some Republicans were more sympathetic.

State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, said protecting the state’s education system from further cuts is of utmost important. “Our education system is the foundation of all of our past successes and our future prospects,” Sloan said.

He declined to sign on to Parkinson’s proposal, but said more tax revenue is needed, and he praised the governor for putting a plan before the Legislature.

Sloan said Parkinson’s 30-minute speech, which was delivered without a teleprompter or notes, was the most inspiring State of the State address he has heard in his 16 years in the Legislature.

Parkinson reminded legislators of the tough decisions made by generations of Kansans that enabled many to attain the American Dream.

“Our ancestors worked too hard to build what we have. It is our turn to fight and it is a fight worth fighting,” he said.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, of Lawrence, said Parkinson laid out the choices facing the Legislature — harmful budget cuts or tax increases. He said a majority hasn’t formed for either position yet. “The Legislature has its work cut out for it,” Davis said.

He said House Republican leadership opposition to any tax increase was unfortunate. With further cuts, nearly every school district in Kansas will have to close some schools, he said.

Under Parkinson’s tax plan, the state sales tax would increase from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents per dollar for three years and then fall back to 5.5 cents per dollar, with that extra two-tenths of a cent dedicated to a new highway plan.

He also called on lawmakers to increase the state tax on cigarettes from 79 cents per pack to $1.34 per pack, which is the national average. He said the increase would bring in needed revenue and deter young people from starting to smoke.

Even after five rounds of budget cuts in 2009, the Legislature still faces a $400 million revenue shortfall for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The proposed sales tax increase would raise $308 million, while the cigarette tax increase would raise $70 million.

Under Parkinson’s plan, public schools would receive some of the funding that has already been cut, raising the base state aid per pupil from $4,012 to $4,062. At one point, the level was around $4,400 per student.

Higher education, which has been cut more than $100 million, would get back $10 million. And a 10 percent cut in Medicaid, ordered by Parkinson in November, would be reversed.

The 10 percent Medicaid cut has become extremely unpopular because it also costs the state tens of millions of dollars in federal matching funds. House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said Republicans are investigating whether there is a way to cut the budget without taking away state dollars that draw matching federal funds.


Nathan Anderson 7 years, 11 months ago

Great. A democrat proposing regressive taxes.

finance 7 years, 11 months ago

Good speech, good ideas, good heart. Uncommonly good person; a rare commodity. Clone him approximately 40 times, and 125 times...why stop there? About 2.5 million times would work out about right and would finally be an effective antidote to the self-inflicted misery this state likes to pull down upon itself.

skinny 7 years, 11 months ago

What are they thinking??

Every time I turn around, it is tax this, tax that. Then when something new comes out, lets tax that too!!

Enough is enough. It is time the government makes do with what they have. The general population has too, why is it the government doesn't think they have too but instead decides to raise our taxes again.


Time for round three tax cuts!!

Guess I'll just buy everything on the internet so I don't have to pay any sales taxes.

sinedie 7 years, 11 months ago

I disagree with the governor's proposal to raise the sales tax (I'd rather eliminate sales tax exemptions) but he gave a great speech and has been a model for how governors should behave. Do what's right, not what's convenient.

nomorebush 7 years, 11 months ago

I quit smoking in 05 because of tax increase.Where is the state going to get money when everyone like me stops.

Jenni Allen 7 years, 11 months ago

I think that rasing the cig tax is B.S..I refuse to quit until i am dead .Pick on the rich not the poor.and or disabled.I don't pay sales tax on cigerettes. You the goverment of kansas got yourselfs in this mess get your own selves out, without making it hard on the rest of us

anon1958 7 years, 11 months ago

Sales tax is not the answer, it is very unfair to the poor, working poor and lower tier middle class.

  1. Tax the lucrative college basketball and football entertainment industry. They have nothing to do with higher education and can afford ex coaches multi-million dollar buy outs.

  2. Eliminate tax loopholes for the wealthy.

  3. Create some meaningful luxury taxes.

  4. Raise income tax NOT regressive sales taxes.

  5. Review and repeal tax breaks given when times were good and the republicans were paying off their wealthy friends.

The Governor fails because.....

  1. Sales taxes are regressive and unfairly burden the poor, working poor and lower tier middle class. The governor should be ashamed and he is the shame of the democratic party for suggesting this regressive measure.

  2. Cigaratte tax is a fail. I have never smoked and wish that no one else had this horrible, destructive and expensive habit. However, any further taxes on smokes should be used only for health care. Cigarettes really have a very high "luxury tax" and it seems unfair to make it higher.

We need to tax some other luxuries before raising the cigarette tax, eg fuel ineffecient passenger vehicles and noncommercial trucks for example. A luxury tax on fast food purchases can be justified from a health perspective as readily as a tax on cigarettes.

Boeing 7 years, 11 months ago

Big fan of the cigarette tax. You chose to do it, you pay for it. Nobody forced anyone to smoke, they did it on their own. Maybe this will help you quit, and you will stop filling my lungs with harmful toxins that I do not want. Not that you care...

Bruce Bertsch 7 years, 11 months ago

The cigarette tax does not go far enough. Why just the national average. Get serious and raise it to $4.00 per pack ala New York City. Two things will happen...number of smokers will decrease and revenue will increase. Imposition of sales tax on university sports tickets sales is also not a bad idea, especially the revenues generated from things like the proposed Gridiron Club. Make the memberships subject to the sales tax. Even better, remove the state tax exemption for the Ahern, Williams and SASO fund contributions.

iLikelawrence 7 years, 11 months ago

Some states like Iowa don't have tax on groceries. Why would we raise taxes the very fundamental elements of existence?

Okay maybe tax groceries from the Merc or Whole Foods.... yuppies.

Stephanie Anderson 7 years, 11 months ago

Is it REALLY regressive? Or can we count on another tax increase as soon as the three year period is up?

Michael Throop 7 years, 11 months ago

Remember the Sibelius sales tax increase in the early 2000s? Missouri side businesses said, "Come on over", and folks did, to the detriment of the Johnson and Wyandotte County shops. I live in Missouri, work in Kansas, and I will NEVER buy ANYTHING in the Sunflower State if I can help it.It's already marked up an extra 6 cents on the dollar.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 11 months ago

Myself, I would tax middle-aged internet marketing profiteers who live rent-free in mama's basement and sell near-fraudulent 'internet marketing kits' to others for a living.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

"Aggressively enforce immigration laws, create state laws against illegal immigration, conspiracy to commit illegal immigration, etc. Use the National Guard to implement the full strategy."

I'm afraid that our illegal guests are about to become the newest dem. voters. I also suspect that our leader had bigger plans for the National Guard. They have seen the enemy and it is us!

"President Obama Signs Executive Order Establishing Council of Governors

When appointed, the Council will be reviewing such matters as involving the National Guard of the various States; homeland defense; civil support; synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil support activities."

GardenMomma 7 years, 11 months ago

Imagine you are in a boat. Everyone in that boat has an oar and a bucket. It starts to rain, you can either row yourselves to safety or bail the water out with your bucket. But to use the oar you have to pay a use tax and to use the bucket people pay you.

Eventually, the rain becomes a full-blown storm and will overwhelm your ability to keep bailing the water out, your boat will be swamped and you and all that money you got for using the bucket will end up on the ocean floor. But if you use your oars, you will eventually row yourselves out of the storm.

People need to stop thinking of only themselves. Everyone is struggling. Everyone should help row the boat, because obviously bailing the water isn't helping.

poppygirl 7 years, 11 months ago

tax the fatties and the alcoholics too, why always make the smokers pay

3crookedhearts 7 years, 11 months ago

My friend had this brilliant idea: Add a $0.02 tax on drive throughs at fast food restaurants. No tax if you walk in. Just if you drive through. Not 2 cents on the dollar, just a flat drive through toll. Imagine the revenue THAT would produce. Have $0.01 go to health care and the other $0.01 go to the government.

ldvander 7 years, 11 months ago

Anon hit it on the head. Cig tax means nothing but to placate the masses into thinking government is "Trying" to help "US" the working poor and lower middle class. In reality what is happening is the widening of the gap between the extremely well off and the poor. Smoking is dirty. Let the public see that I am their friend by taxing the tobacco (boogy man). Next they will slot schools on the poorer sides of Kansas towns to close to save money on the education budget. Oh, wait...

parhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Tax something that you are trying to get people to stop doing? Get used to having the revenue for a short period of time. Finally reach your goal of getting everyone to stop smoking, but still needing the revenue they produced for you while they were still smoking. Now that's using your head and planning for the future.

lithium45 7 years, 11 months ago

I think it is a good idea to increase taxes on cigarettes especially when matching the national average. The increase in taxes will hopefully give individuals the added incentive to quit. If they don't then they are helping the Kansas short term economy. For those that do quit they are helping the Kansas long term economy in terms of overall health care costs.

They really should be taxing alcohol as well if they are targeting cigarettes. Considering the amount of drinking that goes on in Lawrence it would be an economic lift.

WilburM 7 years, 11 months ago

Smokers are helpless? They'll be interested to discover that.

Strikes me that Parkinson proposed cigarette tax for revenue and health benefits, and proposed sales tax as a bargaining chip that could be used for some serious discussion of eliminating some sales tax exemptions.

In the end, Speaker O'Neal did put things in some context -- we have a problem, but nothing like Cal. or NY. Th equestion is, will (as in 1982-3) legislators work together to put together a reasonable package, or will we have nothing but blathering about all taxes being awful and all cuts being terminal?

Boeing 7 years, 11 months ago

How in the world are smokers helpless? Smokers picked up the habit on their own...I have never once heard anyone say they were forced to start smoking, and keep doing so for decades. They can stop on their own it easy, heck no, but it's possible with desire and effort.

number1jayhawker 7 years, 11 months ago

Gee, how long did it take him to come up with these original ideas? Two or three minutes?

somedude20 7 years, 11 months ago

I think another tax on cigarettes would need to be offset by taxing fat (freudian slip), I mean fast food/ junk food/ soda. As far as I know, those products do not have a "sin" tax on them like cigs and alcohol do and the health costs related from their "sin" has gone up tremendously without any increase of taxes on those items.

somedude20 7 years, 11 months ago

Why not Truther as it seems like those in charge (politicians) get to pick what "sin" will get taxed and cigs seem to get hit all the time. John Edwards has deep pockets/ Larry Craig could pay double and Tiger Woods would pay down the debt

pace 7 years, 11 months ago

Cut out asking me to pay the churches share. I don't want to . Churches should not have exemption. Tired of the reduction of tax burden for "special interest" .

feeble 7 years, 11 months ago

levy a 0.5%-1.5% sales tax (depend cost to implement at point of sale) on any restaurant that serves menu items with more than 0.5 g of trans fat per serving. Levy the same tax on any grocery item that contains similar amounts of trans fats.

Off set this with a reduction on sales tax of local farm to market goods, as well as fresh produce, fruits, vegetables and whole grain items.

cowboy 7 years, 11 months ago

Looks to me like smokers , via tax , and tobacco settlements are paying a hefty tax already. How about an increased tax on booze , you'd get more bang for your buck.

Boeing 7 years, 11 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (Anonymous) says…

Let's have a state tax on everyone under the age of 50. That way the tax will last for decades.

Will that be like social security where the youth will pay in and get nothing out?

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

1) I think what people don't understand is that the governor's proposal is mainly there to make whatever the legislature comes up with appear to be more reasonable. His party doesn't have the votes to pass the budget.

2) I think the solution to the revenue problem is still similar to what the governor is proposing, only, in addition to closing some of the tax loopholes, make it a sales tax with a sunset clause 4 years from now. If things don't improve by then, or if the tax somehow magically makes things worse, it'll be easy to let it die.

3) I don't get how people think someone is going to up and leave the state over a 1% sales tax increase. If you make $10K in sales over the year, that's $100 / year or $8 per month. I don't consider that much of a burden.

4) @Health_Caretroller: Please explain to me how the state government has any say over any aspect of the requirements for a Federal entitlement like Welfare. Also, please add a provision for the drug testing of CEOs that take corporate welfare... I mean tax breaks before you start to go after programs that actually help feed children. Finally, please explain to me how we can actually justify giving drug tests to the 1/8 Americans (and 1/4 children) using the food stamps program (which is just one part of "welfare"). The administration of the program costs roughly $0.46 for every ~$133 in actual benefits. Adding in a drug test could increase the administration costs by 1000%.

Bob Reinsch 7 years, 11 months ago

  1. Smokers & tobacco users make a choice, as do those that drink alcohol. I've got no problem with raising taxes there. 2. Taxing based on being overweight? Great... I want to be judged by an anorexic. I'd love to see how someone defines the parameters on that. 3. Interestingly enough, nobody has suggested legalization and taxation of cannabis. Hell, this town could knock out 25% of the budget deficit in the first half of 2010. The folks that suggest further cuts are short-sighted - what else do you want to cut? Education (already underfunded)? Highways (bridges becoming games of Russian roulette)?

somedude20 7 years, 11 months ago

BrainCase (Anonymous) says… "1. Smokers & tobacco users make a choice, as do those that drink alcohol. I've got no problem with raising taxes there. 2. Taxing based on being overweight? Great… I want to be judged by an anorexic. I'd love to see how someone defines the parameters on that."

You are right, smokers make the choice just like overwieght people make a CHOICE to eat junk. I have never seen a baby (human one) checking out of his/her "hotel" weighing 350lbs. You tax the "junk" food. Just as simple as taxing the cigs or booze. Obesity is right up there in health care costs.

tomatogrower 7 years, 11 months ago

The next step is to raise corporate tax rates to the national average. I mean our lower than average tax rate hasn't exactly created a stampede of businesses coming to Kansas like it was suppose to.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 11 months ago

It is interesting how much of the usual carping here is about the tobacco tax, not the much larger (in the aggregate) sales tax.

finance 7 years, 11 months ago

No less than 53 comments above, most ignorant of fact, stupid in reason, intellectually profane, and otherwise dismissable as drivel, trash, or worse. Proof that regression toward the mean occurs--in other words, every slightly promising idea is followed by a massive onslaught of incredibly dull ideas, dragging progress back toward the middle. Excepting that the middle is now a hopeless wish--dragging breath, faintly burbling, below the surface is more the truth. Disgusting, ignorant, and--to repeat myself--how self-destructive can the rank-and-file in this state become: I truly believe the bottom is limitless. Ah well: perhaps you deserve each other. The rest of us will try to stay alive in your foaming anti-tax frenzy.

somedude20 7 years, 11 months ago

It is simple.No exceptions just like the way it is done with cigs and booze.There aint no breaks for "light" cigs or wine coolers so it would only be fair to adopt the same outlook.

"Also, would you care to tell us what kind of government agency will determine what products are junk" (already have that one friend, it is called the FDA) Goverment regulates most things that we do/use/consume. Food, toys, guns, cars, just about everything we use or eat the govt watches over so that is not much of a stretch

"Should bake sales be taxed? What about lemonade stands? After all, there is a LOT of sugar that those kids put into lemonade"

I see that as just like making your own beer or cigs, they tax the raw materials at a higher rate for that "sin" so they would tax sugar at a higher rate.

"Do you want to tax salt" Salt does not make you fat it makes you retain water; big difference

My point is that cigs and booze have been taxed to death while many other viable "sins" remain untouched and that needs to change.

wastewatcher 7 years, 11 months ago

The Regents could stand some further cuts. As proff, I offer that they have money to pay three retired Presidents to do nothing, and in fact many others are paid to do nothing also.

anon1958 7 years, 11 months ago

ComradeRedRooster (Anonymous) says…

The religious left, you know who you are, climatologists, socialists, neo-marxists ,.............. babble, rant, incoherence, pointless, nonsense

The redrooster seems to have confused a discussion with recreational random key board stokes.

ldvander 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, there you go I totally approve of the sales tax. People with money will be buying much more stuff than I. But the tobacco tax raises the debate over tax for all kinds of vice. Is owning a sports car a type of vice? I say yes. Sports car tax it is. And as far as I'm concerned tax away my whole paycheck give me a State concrete box to live in a food ration card and public trans to and from work. And then I guess I would get my Labor Party card too.

ldvander 7 years, 11 months ago

And, Finance, yeah you deserve a much better forum. We are not Entitled to share a discussion with the likes of you.

lionheart72661 7 years, 11 months ago

He also called on lawmakers to increase the state tax on cigarettes from 79 cents per pack to $1.34 per pack, which is the national average. He said the increase would bring in needed revenue and deter young people from starting to smoke.

This WILL NOT deter smoking. I work at a convenience store and more and more young ppl are still buying them. Why not tax energy drinks and alcohol instead? Cigarettes have doubled in the past year with the same ol' idea. "We raise the price less ppl will smoke" what a crock. It's not working out that way. Go ahead and raise the tax Gov. Parkinson and like another person stated what are you going to tax "IF" ppl quit or go elsewhere to get them? Taxation is not the answer. Here is an Idea. Pay cut for all Politicians! Bring back Kathleen

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

Income tax laws come with loopholes. The wealthier sector seldom pay income taxes after loopholes,shelters etc etc. In essence it's like pissin up a tree.

Sales taxes are paid on the spot....... nobody slides.

Income tax loopholes would seem more regressive to all who otherwise pay their taxes.

finance 7 years, 11 months ago

ldvander (Anonymous) says…"And, Finance, yeah you deserve a much better forum. We are not Entitled to share a discussion with the likes of you."

I'm in shock. In a word, I think I agree (or are you being deceptive in your praise?). Amazing you'd see it too, but here we are in Kansas! Thanks for seeing the light and for hoping with me for a better 2010!

kansasmutt 7 years, 11 months ago

Very nice for a guy who is going to be bolting office soon. The state wont live whithin there means, so they pop another tax on smokers. Whos next to get slapped with a new tax ? Non smokers ? Churches ? Kids ? Mothers ? Autos ? Bicycles ? Meds ? Dr,s ? Chewing gum ? Beer ? Hand soap ? Our state leaders live in another world and dont know the streets or its people. Very very sad. I am going to be glad to see him leave office. This guy is bad news to every kansasn while he is in office, Everyone write your state rep and ask them to ignore him until he retires at the end of his term. I sure hope someone who is streetsmart jumps in the race soon.

seriouscat 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm curious why prison/corrections reform is not on the table. Corrections expenditures have increased almost seven fold in the last couple of decades! Why? Are there really that many more dangerous criminals running around?

California's budget problem is largely due to prison expenditures, yet they are raising tuition at the state universities.

Now after raising tuition at KU, cutting school budgets and careening into to red while acting surprised about the fact, there is not a whisper, not a whisper!?! in our state legislature about the millions and millions and millions (and rising!) being poured into corrections.

I'm not talking about being 'soft on crime', but come on!

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