To the editor:
There are two reports all Kansas taxpayers should read: “Sales Tax Erosion in Kansas” by Dr. John D. Wong and “Erosion of the Tax Base in Kansas” by Kansas Action for Children. Both of these reports are available online.
There has been a concerted effort to reduce our state’s income. We are told, due to the state’s sluggish economy, there are fewer funds available for public schools, for Head Start, for the Kansas Neurological Institute, and many other important and necessary services. However, it is the Legislature eroding the tax base that has placed our state in a dire budgetary predicament and required cuts to vital services.
The Kansas Department of Revenue estimates tax exemptions cost the state more than $4 billion annually, which is more than the amount collected in sales and use taxes each year. In addition to reducing state revenues, the tax base, which had been progressive in 1995, has become much more regressive due to these tax exemptions. Those Kansans with lower incomes are paying a greater portion of their income in taxes versus those with higher incomes.
Many members of the Legislature have been elected promoting lower taxes. But the system created has not meant a smaller burden for lower-income families and it has not been fiscally responsible.
Kansans need to read these reports, discover the long list of exemptions, examine the data, and determine if this system is fair and delivers prosperity for all or only for the few.