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Archive for Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Education leaders excited by Parkinson’s education funding proposals but not optimistic they will succeed

Flanked by Senate President Stephen Morris, R-Hugoton, right, and House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, left, Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson gives his State of the State address this year at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

Flanked by Senate President Stephen Morris, R-Hugoton, right, and House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, left, Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson gives his State of the State address this year at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

January 12, 2010

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Struggling district encouraged by governor's revenue ideas

The governor's plan to raise taxes could mean more money in the coffers of Kansas and Lawrence schools. Enlarge video

Gov. Mark Parkinson’s proposal to funnel more money into state coffers by increasing sales and cigarette taxes drew applause from education officials in Lawrence.

But some aren’t sure it’s going to work.

Monday night, the governor told legislators in his annual State of the State address that Kansas could not afford to cut more funding from education. And he proposed the taxes as a way to close a $400 million budget gap and to avoid further cuts.

“I was encouraged that he is talking about some revenue enhancement ideas because I think that cutting our way out of this budget crisis ... is going to be very, very difficult,” said Rick Doll, Lawrence school superintendent.

But Doll said he was surprised that Parkinson chose raising the sales tax rate for three years, over other revenue builders, such as hikes in property or income tax.

“Sales tax tends to be a more regressive tax, has more of a negative impact on some of our families in poverty,” Doll said.

Lawrence school board president Scott Morgan said while he appreciates Parkinson’s attempt to put money back into education, he’s not sure it will actually happen.

“I have no evidence that these people are going to be able to right the ship when it largely has crashed because of them,” Morgan said of the Legislature. “A graduated income tax is probably the fairest way, but a property tax is more fair than a sales tax.”

Under the governor’s plan, public schools would get $32 million in additional state funds to increase base state aid per pupil. Currently, that figure is $4,012. With the new monies, it would go up to $4,062 per student.

“This budget allows us to reinstate some funding of schools and universities as we begin their road to recovery,” Parkinson said.

Higher education was cut more than $100 million and would get $10 million back.

“I am very pleased with the governor’s support of education and his recognition that it’s important to take the long view” on state funding issues, said Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.

In Doll’s 20-year tenure as a superintendent, the property tax mill levy, which supports public education, has gradually decreased from 35 to 20 mills.

“Instead of choosing to put some money into savings for a rainy day, they chose to give a break to property tax,” Doll said.

Morgan says the problem lies in Topeka and if Lawrence residents aren’t happy with changes to education, that’s where they need to send complaints.

“It’s in Topeka where the problem will ultimately be solved,” Morgan said. “We deal with the dregs that come flowing down the river from there, both at our sewage treatment and in our education funding. We’re just the processors.”

Comments

volunteer 4 years, 11 months ago

Still waiting for Rick Doll to announce what central office Administrative positions he will eliminate or combine in response to this "crisis."

KSManimal 4 years, 11 months ago

“It’s in Topeka where the problem will ultimately be solved,” Morgan said. “We deal with the dregs that come flowing down the river from there, both at our sewage treatment and in our education funding."

Scott - I was eating when I read this. You owe me a new monitor!

Quick question about those two effluents coming our way: Can you tell which is which?

KU_cynic 4 years, 11 months ago

Ditto, volunteer.

Take a look at all the central personnel and job titles at the USD 497 web site under http://www.usd497.org/documents/0910ESDCServices.pdf.

Surely we can eliminate one out of every six or seven central admin job titles there rather than front-line teacher positions.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

In this day and age of income tax and property tax loopholes it is difficult for me to see a sales tax as regressive any longer.

Increasing the quantity inside the cookie jar becomes evermore difficult.

Recently it was revealed that property owners/real estate developers are not paying property taxes on all of their properties consequently Lawrence/Douglas County suffers.

Income tax and property tax loopholes,shelters and off shore havens allow many to escape their civic duties of supporting the community. While at the same time allowing taxpayers to subsidize their money making ventures.

Let's go after those delinquent taxes being allowed to sit in an unwritten safe haven. After all they purchased the land and/or built on them knowing full well taxes are part of the package.

Sales taxes do not allow anyone to slip by under the radar.

OwlHead 4 years, 11 months ago

Tax cigarettes and alcohol to death if it is needed for education.Eventually the health care savings would offset lost taxes from alochol and tobacco sales.

Jcjayhawk1 4 years, 11 months ago

Tax fast food to help offset the health care expenses it causes.

anon1958 4 years, 11 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

In this day and age of income tax and property tax loopholes it is difficult for me to see a sales tax as regressive any longer.

No, offense, but I do not think you really understand this issue.

It is not that difficult of a concept to understand and people that own property are not usually at an income level where people are concerned about the regressive effect on the poor. The same applies to income tax loopholes which actually are a benefit to the wealthy and the wealthy are not really penalized by a tax on bread and butter because it is a tiny fraction of their income.

I think people that support a regressive tax like a sales tax on food and other essentials really do not understand how this tax is an unfair burden on the poor. I would rather think that so many people do not understand it rather than think I live among so many cruel people.

kansasmutt 4 years, 11 months ago

The lower to mid range income people are taped out. They have no more money to give. Those are about 90% of who will be hit with another tax on smokes. The state is taking poor peoples only enjoyment and driving them into more poverty and crime. This state has no clue. Do the math. You want folks to quit smoking, right ? OK. Raise taxes again on smokes as before. You get another 600 to quit, right ? Each one of those ex smokers put an additional $112.00 a month ( or more )into the tax base ( while smoking ), right ? That is $672,000.00 a month in lost tax revenue to kansas, right ? That is $8,640.000.00 million a year in lost tax revenue. That is a very smart plan, yea BS. Lets try cutting the state leaders wages and saving money, sounds like a better plan. RIGHT ? Another idea, make those big box stores pay the back taxes they owe. The f@#%ks running the show have no clue . They think tax tax tax and things will be great. They just create more problems and tax more.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

I fully understand why sales taxes are thought to be regressive.

Why levy a tax when too many will be able to skirt the increase by way of existing loopholes?

The only people that will contribute are the same ones that always contribute. Mostly the middle class. If the lower income are negatively impacted provide a sales tax rebate.

Increasing property taxes can be regressive if property managers pass that on to their tenants.

Increasing income taxes will not generate much from the lower income and the upper income can loophole their way around an increase.

The only people left to contribute are the same ones that always contribute. Mostly the middle class. Without the middle class this state and the USA are in a pickle. One day the middle class should organize.

igby 4 years, 11 months ago

Most all major metro areas in Kansas, has already raised the sales tax due to their local mismanagement of their budgets. Coming up with the idea of raising the sales tax state wide is a cop out for someone that's not a leader. Balancing the budget and applying mental work to the growing budget in Kansas, making cuts and reallocating resources required a leader with an education in politics. Any fool can raise taxes and still be broke and in the hole for the next year.

When the economy can't support the government, and the economy is the people, the government has to be creative and reduce the load on the budget.

The is the nail in his political coffin!

igby 4 years, 11 months ago

A 50% tax on political dollars spent and 80% tax on political dollars not spent and carried over to the next year would help the budget and help reduce the cost to the public for having such a wasteful and corrupt system of politics.

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