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Archive for Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brownback aide hints plan to touch on sales tax

December 15, 2011

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— Gov. Sam Brownback wouldn't discuss details Thursday after one of his top aides hinted that the administration's forthcoming plan to cut income taxes also would affect Kansas' state sales tax.

Brownback said during an interview with The Associated Press that his tax plan is still in development and that he'll release the details Jan. 11, during his annual State of the State address. He would only say that his goal is to make Kansas' income tax simpler and fairer.

He and other administration officials have said they believe reducing the state's top individual income tax rates will help spur economic growth. But they've also said that any cuts in income taxes would be offset by other changes, so that the plan doesn't decrease the state's overall revenues.

That's led to speculation about how Brownback's administration would propose offsetting income tax cuts, with changes in the state sales tax as a possibility, either by adjusting its overall rate or by eliminating exemptions to it. There also has been speculation about eliminating or reducing income tax credits and deductions.

Landon Fulmer, the governor's policy director, said Wednesday during a meeting with the State Board of Education that the "tax plan will have a sales tax component."

The Republican governor told the Lawrence Journal-World earlier this week that he won't seek to lower corporate income taxes, though he declined to discuss specifics of his plan Thursday.

"It'll be aggressive," he told the AP. "It will be flatter, simpler, fairer. It will be pro-growth in its orientation."

The state increased its sales tax in 2010 from 5.3 percent to 6.3 percent, to balance the state budget. But the rate is due to drop to 5.7 percent on July 1, 2013, a concession that Brownback's predecessor, Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson, used to sell an increase to the GOP-controlled Legislature.

The coming change will cost the state $311 million in revenue during the budget year that begins July 2013.

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn, a Sedgwick Republican, has proposed dropping the sales tax to 5.7 percent at the start of 2013, arguing that the economy has recovered enough to fulfill the promise of a decrease six months early.

But Brownback also is proposing to overhaul how Kansas finances its public schools. His plan would take effect at the same time and promises a $45 million increase in aid that would mostly go to rural school districts.

When Fulmer outlined the school funding plan Wednesday, Board of Education member Walt Chappell, a Wichita Republican, questioned whether the state could afford it. He cited the coming drop in the sales tax and Brownback's push for income tax cuts as reasons. Fulmer then mentioned that the tax plan would deal with the sales tax.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon, a former state revenue secretary, said the state has relatively few options if sales tax revenues are to fill any gap created by income tax cuts.

She said he could attempt to eliminate exemptions to the sales tax, though past efforts to do so have had only limited success with legislators. Kansas could keep the sales tax at 6.3 percent, lessen the coming decrease or drag it out. It also could divert sales tax revenues that now go by law to highway projects to general government programs.

Wagnon worries that any such changes, coupled with income tax cuts, would shift more of the state's tax burden to poor and middle-class families.

"I certainly do have a huge concern about any plan that would offset income tax cuts with sales tax revenues," she said.

Comments

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

You seem to be the poster child for why education funding should be increased, not cut. Spend a little time o the second of the three r's...

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motercyclejim 2 years, 4 months ago

I think Brownback shuld run for presidant in 2012! He is smart and cristian not a athyest like Obama who hates america!!!!

If he doesnt run for presidant tho I will vote for Ron Paul. whose with me!?!!!!

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

if we want to cut income taxes, we should cut it at the bottom, not the top. That way everyone benefits exactly the same dollar amount. What the blind republicans on this blog don't get is that the wealthy don't pay the highest rate on their total income, rather they onlypaythe top rate on that portion of their income that exceeds that of the lower rates.

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bobberboy 2 years, 4 months ago

which one of you people voted for our gov. anyway ?

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bobberboy 2 years, 4 months ago

sales taxes are a tax on the poor ! Raise income tax on the wealthy !

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JackMcKee 2 years, 4 months ago

Leave the income tax alone. Instead of dropping the state sales tax rate to 5.7% eliminate the sales tax on groceries and clothing. The wealthiest 2000 Kansans don't need a tax cut. The middle class and poor do.

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somedude20 2 years, 4 months ago

So the rich will be keeping even more of their money while the rest of us pay for it with a higher sales tax rate and that is not saying that Brownback will not jack our tax rates up as well, just like Bush, he will. I am tired of making the rich richer from the sweat of my brow.

If you want the rich to be better off, vote R!

Get off my equipmunk!

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William Weissbeck 2 years, 4 months ago

GOP's definition of fair: we all pay the same, whether or not you can afford it, even if it takes your last dollar, but leaves me with ten(s of millions). Since when in the history of economics has a "progressive" tax structure not been considered fair and equitable? Since when did the concepts of disposable and discretionary income become non-factors in the equation? Oh, I know - in the 19th Century. It just occurred to me, maybe Brownback intends to bring back the Arts Commission, because he also wants to bring back cave painting.

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texburgh 2 years, 4 months ago

Walt Chappell WAS a Democrat. Realizing that his anti-public school, anti-government philosophy was more in line with Brownback and the tea baggers, he switched parties. He is now a Republican.

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globehead 2 years, 4 months ago

This will be wonderful for this state's significant senior population which has already paid income tax on their earnings and can now get a double bite with higher sales taxes on those already taxed dollars. Mr. Brownback seems to have never had an idea he could understand. Several years ago, he set off in Iowa to campaign for President. He started off with about a two percent favorability rating. After a good solid year of campaigning, he developed about a two percent favorability rating. Iowa understood. Kansas did not.

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lastcall4oh 2 years, 4 months ago

Less income tax for the higher earners, more sales tax for the rest of us. That seems fair, at least for the higher earners. Wish I were one of them.

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Andreas Moeller 2 years, 4 months ago

raising sales tax is the most unfair of taxes for people with lower income. And a flatter income tax progression than we already is doing the same. People with less disposable income will be off worse. This will negativel affect a very high number of people in the state, esp. big families.

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Phillbert 2 years, 4 months ago

Take from the poor and give to the rich.

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

The great leap backward continues. How can governor Brownback propose cutting taxes for the wealthy and raising taxes on everyone else with a strait face? You have to suspect that the Koch brothers have offered Brownback some sort of sweetheart job after he moves out of cedar crest. Pure speculation here, but would we ever know if he has been offered a seat on Koch's board of directors? How much would that pay per year. As a private corporation, I doubt we would ever know...

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

Reaganomics aka supply side economics aka wreckanomics has never worked yet Gov Sam Brownback reveals his incompetence daily.

Gov Brownback represents the RINO philosophy of not increasing taxes. Yet every move this Governor Brownback makes increases taxes.

RINO's cut services then reduce some taxes that which force tax increases in order to maintain services. Therefore RINO's such as Governor Brownback actually do increase taxes no matter how they try to present their facade.

Putting it more simply so long as Gov Brownback does not sign a tax increase into law he then believes he played no role when a tax increase become necessary to cover the loss of tax revenue created by a Gov. Brownback action. So superficial and bogus.

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Antonym 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad it's easy for me to shop in Missouri.

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