To the editor:
Numerous letters to the Journal-World in recent weeks have lamented the fact that the governor and Legislature of Kansas have chosen to address a large budget shortfall through spending cuts rather than tax increases. To put this into perspective, it might be useful to consider what other states are doing. The approach taken in Kansas is not unique but is, in fact, the norm.
A study in The Wall Street Journal (July 7, page A6) reports that 46 states entered a new fiscal year on July 1. States faced combined budget deficits of $86 billion. Very few states enacted tax or fee increases in 2011. Among the exceptions are the heavily “blue” states of Connecticut and Illinois. Deep “blue” Maryland and “purple” New York allowed income-tax surcharges on the wealthy to expire. Michigan has cut business taxes in an effort to promote job growth. The good news for many states is that tax revenues are increasing without tax rate increases as the economy slowly improves.