Advertisement

Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Kansas revenue department refuses Journal-World’s request for information about tax reform group

December 1, 2011, 10:51 a.m. Updated December 1, 2011, 2:31 p.m.

Advertisement

In response to a request for tax policy records, Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration said even if it has the records, it doesn’t have to release them.

On Oct. 11, the Lawrence Journal-World made a request under the Kansas Open Records Act for access to or copies of minutes, agendas and policy papers of a group that has been working in private to prepare a tax policy recommendation for Brownback.

Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan is heading the effort to give recommendations to Brownback. When given the newspaper’s request, the Revenue Department said it would need some time to respond to the “extensive nature of your request,” but promised to respond by Nov. 30.

A Nov. 29 letter from Jeannine Koranda, public information officer with the Revenue Department, said no records would be forthcoming.

“To the extent that we have any records called for by your request, they are exempt from disclosure pursuant to K.S.A. 45-221(a)(2), (20),” the letter stated.

That part of the Kansas Open Records law provides an exemption to the law that includes, “Notes, preliminary drafts, research data in the process of analysis, unfunded grant proposals, memoranda, recommendations or other records in which opinions are expressed or policies or actions are proposed, except that this exemption shall not apply when such records are publicly cited or identified in an open meeting or in an agenda of an open meeting.”

Brownback’s stated intention to overhaul the state tax code has generated a lot of interest and speculation. In past statements, Brownback has said he wants to reduce or eliminate the state income tax as a way to grow the economy. This idea has prompted concerns from some about how the state would fund education, social services and public safety.

Jordan has talked about a task force working on the tax proposal, but has provided few details. Earlier this year, it appeared the plan would be unveiled before the end of the year.

But now the governor’s office has said Brownback’s proposal probably won’t be outlined until his State of the State address to the Legislature, which is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Koranda has said senior Revenue Department staff members Richard Cram, head of policy and research, and Steve Stotts, director of taxation, have been consulted on the proposal. She said Republican leaders of the House and Senate tax committees had been consulted.

But she has declined to name any businesspeople who are working with the task force.

The only person outside state government who has been named to the task force working on a recommendation for Brownback is Arthur Laffer, who had served as a key economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan. Laffer espouses cutting taxes for corporations and top-income earners as a way to grow the economy through increased jobs.

Laffer, who is being paid $75,000 as a consultant on the Kansas tax proposal, helped write the latest edition of “Rich States, Poor States” for the American Legislative Exchange Council. Brownback wrote the forward to the ALEC report.

Comments

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

"said even if it has the records, it doesn’t have to release them."

Is there a question as to whether or not the group has records after meeting several times? Is this group shredding the data?

Nice to have the "beltway influence" installed at Topeka...

0

Stain 2 years, 4 months ago

This is a page right out of Charles Dickens.

The Koch brothers have made this much thanks to Republicans: http://front.moveon.org/tag/koch-bros/

And the Reagan leftover on Brownback's committee who says tax cuts for the rich and corporations will create jobs, forgot to tell you: any jobs created will be in CHINA.

0

Gandalf 2 years, 4 months ago

Probably waiting untill January so the more National Guardsmen will be able to help control the riots.

0

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

This is all part of the great leap backward planned by Brownback, the Koch brothers, and others in the republican party. God help us all...

0

Gandalf 2 years, 4 months ago

Evil sam should have just said he couldn't release it because of state security. Chances are when the citizens finally do see it they will revolt!

Bet it looks alot like 999(666)

0

cowboy 2 years, 4 months ago

Yep , give him a big fat raise

If a Kochroach was in the statehouse , and no one saw it , was he really there

0

its_just_math 2 years, 4 months ago

LJW's owner Simons should revisit the employment of their statehouse "reporter". This could very well be the reason they do not wish to comply. The badgering of Kansas Republicans including of course Brownback and Kobach by this "reporter" is unprecedented. Call it what you want, but the difference in the coverage of Sebelius (and Morrison--a documented scumbag) vs. Brownback is stark, to put it lightly.

0

JustNoticed 2 years, 4 months ago

There is more correct about Karl Marx than there is about that trickle down nonsense.

0

jayhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Isn't this what the courts are for, to resolve disputes between two parties who each feels as if they interpreting the law correctly, yet they have reached different conclusions? If the LJW or anybody else want the information through the freedom of information act and the governor refuses, go to court and file the appropriate request.

0

LHS56 2 years, 4 months ago

ok...would have thought you would know better. Get really to be called to the Principal's office for such badmouthing our Governor. Gee....you will probably stand behind the First like the 18 year old girl did. Wouldn't work this time. Brownie is prepared! (eagle scout you know...g)

0

gudpoynt 2 years, 4 months ago

Kudos to the LJW.

Brownback & KDOR won't cough up the info you need to do the story completely... then make THAT the story.

0

cowboy 2 years, 4 months ago

Let me get my head wrapped around this.....

KochBack and his secret cronies are writing tax policy which will have an effect on every Kansan , the health of the State economy , and doing this in secret with no disclosure to the public whom he serves.

When called out he refuses disclose this information . What are you hiding this time Sam?

Might you be aware that you should be doing the peoples business in open forums subject to feedback and scrutiny. If your proposals are too sleazy to survive the sunlight what does that tell you ?

Your admin cannot go three days without stepping in a pile of poop .

Please resign , join a monastery or a cult or some obscure family in Washington and leave Kansas alone.

Monitor that Sontag

0

gudpoynt 2 years, 4 months ago

Arthur Laffer, of Laffer Curve fame?

Great. Just great.

0

1983Hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

ROFLMAO. Gudpoynt asserts that there's an important distinction between citing and mentioning. We eagerly await his "citing" of Kansas case law precedent on this point. While he's at it, he can "mention" from which law school he received his Juris Doctor.

0

Steve Bunch 2 years, 4 months ago

Brownback wrote the "foreword," not the "forward." (Perhaps he should have written the "backward.")

0

vuduchyld 2 years, 4 months ago

Welcome to Brownbackistan, it's where Kansas used to be Welcome to Brownbackistan, it's our new theocracy! Brownback and Koch call all the shots, we're governed by the rich The wealthy all get wealthier and the rest can all eat $%#

the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLUfNPdirdE

0

Stain 2 years, 4 months ago

http://front.moveon.org/just-how-much-richer-have-the-koch-brothers-gotten-while-the-rest-of-america-suffers/

Koch brothers' personal income chart. And everyone suspects they are the ones making tax policy for Kansas.

0

lawslady 2 years, 4 months ago

http://www.ksag.org/files/koraoutline2009.PDF explains the open records law.
Short of filing a law suit, the LJW can also file a complaint with the Attorney General's office.

The (a)(2) exception applies to allow documents to be closed if they are subject to the rules of evidence protections. Like attorney client; which requires that the documents involve an attorney for the person/entities being advised or seeking advice.

The (a)(20) exception allows (does not require) closure of inter-office dicussions on any topic (policy formation included). However, if this TASK FORCE are not the Governor's staff, but rather a PUBLIC BODY subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA), documents they reviewed at their meetings become open.
See http://www.ksag.org/files/komaoutline2009.PDF for info on the KOMA.

0

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow. The more I hear the more glad I am that I'm getting out of this state. Keep it up, BB, and someday you'll have your own version of the Teapot Dome scandal. Recall now! And just for Sherrie's benefit, #heblowsalot.

0

1983Hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

LOL at all the pliant tools coming on here talking about the "liberal left" and accusing the media of having an agenda. I'm just 100 percent sure they'd be similarly dismissive of the public's right to know if Fixed News had filed for open records but were denied by some outrageously bogus exemption claim from Obama.

Yes, it's all about principle. Right, boys?

0

verity 2 years, 4 months ago

"She said Republican leaders of the House and Senate tax committees had been consulted." No representation from the Democrats?

"The only person outside state government who has been named to the task force working on a recommendation for Brownback is Arthur Laffer, who had served as a key economic adviser to President Reagan. Laffer espouses cutting taxes for corporations and top-income earners as a way to grow the economy through increased jobs."

Oh, yes, that good ol' trickle down theory espoused by the Reagan administration. It has been proven to work so well.

0

itwasthedukes 2 years, 4 months ago

Activist in the media! Too bad your curiosity ends when democrats are in office.

0

1983Hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

"except that this exemption shall not apply when such records are publicly cited ..."

Bzzzt. The administration loses. Since they've been running around talking publicly for months about the ultimate work product of this task force, their Open Records Act exemption claim is therefore prima facie bogus.

Hope the Lawrence Journal World continues to pursue this. A faster route than going to court would be to ask the Attorney General to file a writ of mandamus (an action compelling public officials to do their duty under the law) ordering the immediate release of the records now that the waiting period has expired and the administration has had the full amount of time authorized to respond. (And this bogus exemption claim was the best their legal eagles could concoct?)

0

FlintHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

So what can LJW do now? Is there any recourse? Is there any way to get those records and find out what's going to hit us before it does?

Doesn't Kansas have a "Sunshiine Rule" that covers these types of clandestine meetings? Can the governor legally hold such meetings in camera?

0

Agnostick 2 years, 4 months ago

Brownback and Jordan don't have anything to share--they've not done anything on tax policy! Too busy killing arts funding, TRAP laws, and monitoring the interwebs. #heblowsalot

0

Ockhams_Razor 2 years, 4 months ago

Making tax policy in secret.

Why not just give the Koch's the keys and title to the Capitol?

heblowsalot

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.