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Archive for Thursday, January 21, 2010

Proponents of tax increase urge legislative committee to approve Parkinson’s plan

January 21, 2010, 1:48 p.m. Updated January 22, 2010, 12:00 a.m.

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— The state’s budget crisis will have significant impact on the very young and the very old, unless lawmakers approve an increase in the sales tax, according to testimony before the House Tax Committee on Thursday.

Megan Greene of Lawrence, whose daughter, Azucena Melchor, attends Cordley School, told committee members that the Lawrence school board is considering drastic budget cuts — firing teachers, increasing class sizes and closing schools.

“When schools are the institutional anchors for neighborhoods, their closure means loss of property values, loss of families in the neighborhoods, and a general decline,” she said.

And Carol Russell of Emporia said a recent 10 percent cut in Medicaid will drastically reduce services for her 93-year-old mother.

“Our parents and grandparents deserve better than this,” Russell said.

Russell said she and her husband, with help from the state program that provides home-based services to the elderly, were able to keep her mother out of more expensive nursing home care. But recent budget cuts could change that, she said.

Russell and Greene were among Kansans who testified to the tax panel, which is considering a bill proposed by Gov. Mark Parkinson that would provide a temporary 1 percent increase in the state sales tax.

Parkinson has said the increase is needed to help bridge a $400 million revenue shortfall. The governor has argued that the state should not cut beyond the five rounds of budget cuts that have been enacted. Those cuts have reduced a $6.4 billion state budget to $5.4 billion.

House Bill 2475 would increase the state sales tax from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents per dollar on July 1. The rate would then be reduced to 5.5 cents per dollar on July 1, 2013, with the extra 0.2 of a cent going toward a new transportation program.

The tax committee heard from supporters of a tax increase on Thursday and will hear from opponents next Tuesday.

Some groups have already weighed in against the proposal, including the Kansas Chamber and the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Mike Maddox, chair of the Kansas Chamber board, said, “Nothing will hinder the recovery and economic growth more than increasing the tax burden on our citizens.”

The Libertarian Party of Kansas also issued a news release opposing a tax increase, saying that more budget cuts were needed.

But people who testified on Thursday said more budget cuts would permanently damage essential services that have already been cut to the bone.

Already, more than 4,300 Kansans with developmental disabilities and 1,800 with physical disabilities are on waiting lists for home and community-based services.

Peter Roman, with Kansas Families for Education, said a tax increase was like protecting an investment.

“During the recent cold wave, I continued to heat my house because replacing frozen pipes would have cost much more,” Roman said. “The same applies to Kansas. Now, more than ever we have to make smart choices.”

Comments

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

It should be noted that Mike Maddox, chair of the Kansas Chamber, is also from Lawrence.

He must not be concerned that his kids' school will be closing. Perhaps he lives in a different neighborhood.

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commuter 4 years, 8 months ago

For people who think we need to raise taxes, feel free to send more money to Topeka from your pocketbook. I am sure the state government would not mind.

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think_about_it 4 years, 8 months ago

“During the recent cold wave, I continued to heat my house because replacing frozen pipes would have cost much more,” Roman said. “The same applies to Kansas. Now, more than ever we have to make smart choices.”

You only continue to heat your house if you can afford to, Mr Roman. We are tapped out, no more to give. Besides that some dumbass installed all of the plumbing in outside walls with no insulation and the furnace that heats your house only burns dollar bills.

Sometimes people have to take care of themselves and stop looking to the "producers" for handouts. I've heard this term "cut to the bone" far too much lately. There is extreme waste in the state budget and until that is corrected we say no to any additional tax increases.

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BigDog 4 years, 8 months ago

There is extreme waste in the state budget and until that is corrected we say no to any additional tax increases.


Put your money where your mouth is .... the state over the last two years has cut over a $1 Billion is state general fund spending. From roughly $6 billion to $5 billion.

Show me where you would cut an additional $400 - $500 million!!

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Jimo 4 years, 8 months ago

"Nothing will hinder the recovery and economic growth more than increasing the tax burden on our citizens.”

Yes, this is a law of nature. Increase taxes X%, decrease growth X%. Decrease taxes X%, increase growth X%. Cut taxes again by Y%, etc. etc. until of course taxes are reduced to 0% and everyone is rich.

Fairy tale land.

Much of state spending is not significantly variable. Education, law enforcement, courts, aid to the needy and elderly, etc. This means that during hard times when revenues fall, the State, which must balance its budget, must raise taxes to come up with additional revenue, unless they've set aside money as a 'rainy day' fund.

Would, oh would, all of those tax cuts the politicians kept making to get themselves re-elected been set aside instead into a 'rainy day' fund so that we didn't have to grasp this double-edged sword now. But then that would have required serious, prudent, adult leadership, wouldn't it?

Something to remember in the voting booth: don't trade your vote away for shiny, pretty beads promised by the demagogue.

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Paula Kissinger 4 years, 8 months ago

"It should be noted that Mike Maddox, chair of the Kansas Chamber, is also from Lawrence.

He must not be concerned that his kids' school will be closing. Perhaps he lives in a different neighborhood."

Either you misunderstood what Mike said or I misunderstood what you said....Mike is AGAINST a tax increase, which is a good thing for all of us. As far as closing schools, firing staff and depriving students of materials and services...tax increase or not it will most likely happen because that is what Scott Morgan does best.

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jckjds 4 years, 8 months ago

Our public schools are funded at $10,000 per student. That is on par with the most expensive private schools in the state. They are NOT underfunded. Money is not the problem with public schools, and more money will not "fix" them. The budget has been cut to the bone only if you fail to consider reorganization and consolidation. Virtually all of the western kansas schools need to be consolidated. A floor needs to be set for students in a district. If a district is smaller than X students, then it needs to be consolidated.

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

jckjds (Anonymous) says…

Our public schools are funded at $10,000 per student. That is on par with the most expensive private schools in the state.

Really?

Please name the private school in this state that will educate a severely disabled student or a blind student or a deaf student or a student with a severe learning disability or a low income student who qualifies for assistance, etc. etc. etc. etc. for $10,000.

Thanks.

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justthefacts 4 years, 8 months ago

Much I detest the idea of raising taxes, the equation is simple. We can either eliminate some tax loop holes, or cut back even further on government services. We can do things like shut down schools (including diminishing services at postsecondary institutions, which can seriously have a negative impact on the economy, not just directly, but indirectly; people out of work need to attend classes at technical and community colleges, not just universities, to get more training). Or not give aid to the elderly who need help. Etc.

Here are just a few examples of the hundreds of tax exemptions, the elimination of which can bring billions of dollars into play. Do a search yourself at www.kslegislature.org Read some of them and decide for yourself if these people and groups should continue to be exempt, at the expense of the poor, roads, schools, and other critical governmental services.

74-8721. Ticket sales exempt from sales tax. All sales of lottery tickets and shares shall be exempt from retailers' sales taxes imposed pursuant to K.S.A. 12-187 et seq., and amendments thereto, and from the tax imposed by the Kansas retailers' sales tax act. 79-3424. Exempt from other taxes. The business of using, manufacturing or selling of motor-vehicle fuels or special fuels shall not be subject to any excise, license, privilege or occupation tax other than the one herein imposed, whether such tax be imposed by the state of Kansas or by any municipal corporation or other political subdivision of this state; and no municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of this state, shall levy or collect any tax upon, or measured by, the sale, receipt, importation, distribution or use of motor-vehicle fuel or special fuel, or any excise, license, privilege, or occupational tax upon the business of manufacturing, using, selling or delivering motor-vehicle fuels or special fuels. History: L. 1933, ch. 317, § 24; L. 1992, ch. 106, § 21; L. 2006, ch. 81, § 8; April 13. 79-201k. Property exempt from taxation; purpose; business aircraft.For all taxable years commencing after December 31, 2002, all aircraft used predominantly to earn income for the owner in the conduct of the owner's business or industry. If the owner's business or industry is the leasing of aircraft, the lessee's use of the aircraft shall not be considered in determining this exemption. For purposes of this provision, "predominantly" means: (1) At least 80% of the total use of the aircraft; or (2) utilization of the aircraft such that all of the aircraft costs are deductible for federal income tax purposes. AND THERE ARE LOTS MORE - JUST SEARCH YOURSELF

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Jayhawk_girl 4 years, 8 months ago

jckjds...

The spreadsheet I looked at said $3,000 - $4,500 per student, where do you get $10,000?? You must not be a parent....

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The_Bends 4 years, 8 months ago

How much of this sales tax increase will be offset by shopping in in other states, like Missouri? Given that nearly have of Kansas' residents live or work in counties along the MO-KS border, increasing the sales tax certainly provides an incentive to do more shopping in Missouri (especially with regard to food and alcohol).

Just what the KS economy needs, an incentive to spend less money in KS. Good thinking.

Only in Kansas would a Democrat support increasing the state's most regressive tax: the sales tax.

http://www.kcchamber.com/Resource/Index.asp?x=070%7C010&Id=886

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brad799 4 years, 8 months ago

As justthefacts stated - one of the major problems is tax expemptions. Kansas seems to have an exemption for anyone who passed lobbying 101.

Another brilliant decision was to leave the income tax rate tied to the federal rate. When ARRA was passed it lowered the income tax while giving states a boost to keep them above water. Then Kansas effectively gave much of that back by lowering their tax. Sure, great idea - there's excessive waste in all state services so this will help the citizens and force budgets down.

The problem is that the drastic approach of forced change is a reactive response. Reactive methods are rarely as effective as proactive and usually lead to a lot of unintended consequences.

I am all for increases in efficiency. It should not be done through knee-jerk reactions but rather through proactive planning and decision making. I do it all the time in a leadership position. What have the leaders in Kansas done for you? THAT is what to think about when you go to the polls.

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