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Archive for Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gov.-elect Brownback to analyze Kansas tax structure

November 7, 2010

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— Gov.-elect Sam Brownback and his allies say they don’t like the recent state sales tax increase and the federal stimulus dollars that came to Kansas.

But without those funds, Brownback, a Republican, would be facing a much worse financial situation in state government.

Instead, Brownback transitions into a job where the budget challenges are steep but not close to what they would’ve been without heavy lifting by Democrats in Washington and a bipartisan coalition in Topeka.

After a historic drop in tax revenue, for the first time in three years, state budget experts are projecting growth in collected taxes and a steadily improving economy.

“We’ve stopped dropping downward,” said State Budget Director Duane Goossen. “That’s really good news.”

In fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30, the state collected $5 billion. In the current fiscal year, state tax collections are expected to increase to $5.6 billion. Of that $600 million in growth, $300 million is attributable to a temporary 1-cent increase in state sales tax that took effect July 1.

That sales tax increase was pushed through by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans and signed into law by Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat. It was made after several rounds of budget cuts. Supporters said the tax increase was needed to avoid permanent damage to schools, social services and public safety, while opponents said it would burden already hurting taxpayers and damage the economy.

The increase raised the state sales tax from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents per dollar for three years. The tax is then scheduled to decrease to 5.7 cents per dollar.

Brownback made holding down taxes, freezing spending and reducing the state budget the foundation of his successful campaign for governor.

He criticized his opponent, state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, for voting for the tax increase, but Brownback says he has no intention of trying to repeal the levy.

“We need to hold our taxes down. I’m not proposing new taxes. I’ve not proposed taking the 1-cent sales tax off,” Brownback said.

“What I have said is we need to look at the overall tax structure in this state and see whether we’ve got the right mix of income, sales and property taxes, which I’m not convinced we have the right mix to have a pro-growth position,” he said.

Brownback and legislators are looking at significant budget problems in the coming year because of an increase in the number of Kansans who qualify for Medicaid and the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding at the end of June 2011.

ARRA was approved by Democrats in Congress and included assistance to the states. Brownback, a U.S. senator, voted against the measure.

In Kansas, ARRA funds have been used in numerous ways, but mostly to prop up public schools and Medicaid expenses. The expiration of those funds will produce a nearly $500 million budget hole.

Brownback has said to fix the budget problems, the state’s economy must grow and the Legislature must look at the school finance fund because it makes up 55 percent of the state budget. But Brownback has refused to say what he means by that.

While Brownback hints at school funding changes, a coalition of school districts has sued the state alleging that recent cuts to schools are unconstitutional. The coalition has succeeded before in court, winning historic increases in school funding.

Comments

BigDog 3 years, 5 months ago

getreal - I would like to see information on your statement.

I could be incorrect but know plenty of the Republicans who won seats in the Legislature as well as the Governor-elect. I don't recall seeing materials that spoke of repealing the 1% sales tax increase. I know that when asked Governor-elect Brownback stated he wasn't planning to repeal that tax at this time.

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getreal 3 years, 5 months ago

Brownback and every other Republican that won a seat in the legislature ran on a platform of repealing the 1% sales tax. First of their broken campaign promises. I hope all that voted for these Republicans plan to remind them of the promises they made to you on your doorstep.

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voevoda 3 years, 5 months ago

Koch bankrolls Americans for Prosperity--a group dedicated to convincing the working poor to give more tax breaks to the extraordinarily rich. Then Americans for Prosperity funds campaigns against Democrats in order to get Brownback elected. Then Brownback claims that by reducing taxes on the rich, they will create more jobs for currently-unemployed working poor to fill. That's the old Reagan trickle-down theory of economics--long since discredited. The enriched corporations created jobs overseas or filled local jobs with off-the-books illegal immigrant workers. The top executives' salaries skyrocketed, while the wages of ordinary employees stagnated.
If Brownback is serious about balancing the Kansas budget, he should raise the tax rate on wealthy corporations and individuals. Then offer them a tax break for creating new jobs in Kansas filled by US citizens at a living wage.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

“What I have said is we need to look at the overall tax structure in this state and see whether we’ve got the right mix of income, sales and property taxes, which I’m not convinced we have the right mix to have a pro-growth position,” he said.

The right mix means making sure his rich benefactors aren't paying taxes and we peons are making up the difference. After all, the Koch brothers won't ever need any government services. If they need a kidney transplant, they can just write a check for it. We peons might need it someday, so we should be paying for it. Why should you make these poor rich people give up 10 percent of their billions? They could afford to hire their own firemen and police. They can afford to build their own roads to where ever they want to go, and besides they can take a helicopter anyway, or make one of their peons go get what they need. Why should they pay any taxes?

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 5 months ago

Rothschild clearly supports democratic policies, but this piece is a rather objective recounting congressional actions and Brownback's own position. I agree that clling democratic legislation "heavy lifting" is editorializing, but the fact is that it was mainly due to democratic efforts.

Where are the factual inaccuracies in this piece?

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cowboy 3 years, 5 months ago

One of Brownbacks ideas is to have small town enterprise zones with tax benefits to new jobs , people moving back , sounds pretty darn socialistic to me.

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SandCoAlmanac 3 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if this is the beginning of restructuring to lower taxes for Koch Industries as a thank you note from their buddy Brownback . . . .

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TrekkerKen 3 years, 5 months ago

Just another example of what happens in Kansas under Democrats and RINO's. Thanks for tax increases Dems. Thanks for "giving" us money from Washington only to have to cover that amount ourselves once the barrel runs dry. Thanks for short-sightedness.

I wish I could run my household the way Topeka and Washington run things. I'd never have to worry about robbing Peter to pay Paul.

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cowboy 3 years, 5 months ago

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) Tried To Take Credit For A $1.78 Stimulus Grant He Voted Against. According to the Wichita Eagle, “Democratic leaders in the state Legislature are accusing U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of hypocrisy over federal economic-stimulus spending for a Hutchinson rail spur, claiming he is trying to take credit for something he opposed. At issue is a news release issued by Brownback’s office last week titled ‘Brownback applauds infrastructure development in Hutchinson, Kansas,’ celebrating a $1.78 million federal grant to help build a rail spur to serve the Salt City Business Park. [...] The funding for the rail spur was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion economic stimulus bill passed in February and backed mainly by President Obama and congressional Democrats.” [Wichita Eagle, 10/1/09]

WASHINGTON, DC - September 14, 2009 - (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today announced that the city of Hutchinson is to be awarded $1.78 million in stimulus funding. The money, from the Economic Development Administration, will be used to build a rail spur into the Salt City Business Park.

“This grant award is critical in assisting the construction of infrastructure needed to move the necessary components into Hutchinson’s plant for final assembly of nacelles and hubs for wind turbines,” said Brownback. “The rail spur will also be crucial to the export of the finished product to wind farms across the country.”

The spur will serve the transportation needs of the new Siemens Wind Power nacelle manufacturing plant and repair center. The facility groundbreaking will take place Thursday at the Kansas State Fair.

Brownback continued, “As our nation continues to develop clean, renewable forms of energy, innovative projects like this one will allow Kansas to lead in not only the production of renewable energy equipment, but also to be a major nationwide supplier of wind power.”

Brownback is the Ranking Member of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

HIPPOCRACY AT ITS BEST

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Sick_of_Right_Wingers 3 years, 5 months ago

Ewwww. Great time to enroll your kids in private school, because Governor Wackjob is going to make kids (and poor people) pay the price for electing the most right wing governor in state history. Glad I moved 1 mi. over the state line.

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WilburNether 3 years, 5 months ago

It's "heavy lifting" for Washington Democrats to appropriate money this country doesn't have, and borrow it from China? Really? It's "heavy lifting" to have Chinese lenders bail out the profligate spenders in Topeka? Seriously?

That, of course, is simply utter nonsense. But that is all one can expect from this particular reporter.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 5 months ago

It isn't editorializing to print Sam Brownback's words.

What are you so ashamed of? I love it when a reporter is criticized for accurately presenting the positions of people like Brownback and Kobach, then their supporters rail about the article being unfair.

Where in this article is a Brownback position unfairly characterized? Go and ask these questions to Sam Brownback yourself, you will get the same answers. Which of these questions is an unfair question, the question about how you will protect 55% of the budget from being cut?

The question about which taxes you will cut? The question about why the sales tax is OK as Governor but not OK to vote for during the 2010 session?

Instead of yelling things about "Democrat go-fer", back it up. Show some spine.

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Centerville 3 years, 5 months ago

Why isn't this on the editorial page? We're all resigned to the fact that Rothschild will be a 24/7 Democrat go-fer, but this one is over the top.

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