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Archive for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Major tax overhaul needs to be fully vetted, Kansas Senate president says

March 22, 2011, 11:41 a.m. Updated March 22, 2011, 3:48 p.m.

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— Senate President Steve Morris on Tuesday signaled his concern with a major tax overhaul pushed through the House by conservative Republicans.

“Some may argue that it is, in fact, fiscally irresponsible and poor public policy to virtually wipe out any potential increase in state revenue, particularly at a time when we are making deep cuts to education, threatening to close Kansas Neurological Institute, proposing pay cuts to our state employees and making other extremely difficult budget cuts that have serious repercussions for our citizens," said Morris, a Republican from Hugoton.

The state is facing an estimated $500 million revenue shortfall for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Cuts to public schools and social services are under consideration.

The House-approved tax legislation would require a cut in the corporate and individual income tax rates for any fiscal year where tax revenues rise above last year's total.

Supporters of the bill, which is in part based on research by Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director Steve Anderson, say the reductions in tax rates will attract more business and industry to the state. The concept has been supported by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Opponents say the measure will increase state government's reliance on the state sales tax, which hits low-income Kansans the hardest, and will deprive education, public safety and social services of any new revenues as costs increase.

Morris also said the proposal is similar to the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights that was passed in Colorado and has “crippled” that state's economy.

House members had taken a Senate bill that dealt with requiring retailers to provide the correct sales tax rate on receipts and replaced that language with the tax overhaul proposal.

Morris had declared the bill “materially altered” and referred it to the Senate tax committee for further study. That had raised questions from House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, who said the bill should have advanced to a House-Senate conference committee.

“Time is running out and I hope the Senate's intent is not to ‘run out the clock’ on good policy coming over from the House,” O'Neal said.

Morris said the proposed major change in tax policy needs to be fully vetted in a Senate committee.

Comments

bobberboy 3 years ago

I hope they do what's right and raise taxes on the rich.

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Alyosha 3 years ago

Could we get from the state budget director, legislators, media, or governor, hard evidence behind the assertion that "reductions in tax rates will attract more business and industry to the state"?

We've been cutting taxes in this country for decades, and all that seems to happen is corporate profits go up, real wage earnings stagnate, and unemployment goes up.

If the often repeated mantra that "tax cuts create jobs" were true, we would have close to zero unemployment, since we've been cutting taxes for a long, long time.

It's time to base policy on hard facts, not fantasy economics.

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lucky_guy 3 years ago

"Supporters of the bill, which is in part based on research by Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director Steve Anderson, say the reductions in tax rates will attract more business and industry to the state. The concept has been supported by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity." When has this ever been true in Kansas. Examples please. There is none. Except maybe a Casey's or a DQ not an aircraft plant or Toyota parts plant. KS is right now having to bribe AMC with 47 million to come across the state line from Missouri. I think we could aford more teachers and public workers if we didn't give away so much to get so little.

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pace 3 years ago

After their promises about simplifying tax code, which would save money , what do we get, an increased gerrymandered tax code? Cutting salaries, raising taxes for working families and extending automatic tax cuts to Koch. Odd.

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gudpoynt 3 years ago

“'Some may argue that it is, in fact, fiscally irresponsible and poor public policy to virtually wipe out any potential increase in state revenue, particularly at a time when we are making deep cuts to education, threatening to close Kansas Neurological Institute, proposing pay cuts to our state employees and making other extremely difficult budget cuts that have serious repercussions for our citizens,' Morris, a Republican from Hugoton, said."

Behold! Sanity in the Senate! Brought to you by a sensible conservative!

Thank you Mr. Morris! You've given me more hope for this legislature than I ever expected. Keep up the common sense!

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Steve Bunch 3 years ago

“Some may argue that it is, in fact, fiscally irresponsible and poor public policy to virtually wipe out any potential increase in state revenue, "

Duh!

Morons led by the Mean and Mendacious.

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Betty Bartholomew 3 years ago

"'Time is running out and I hope the Senate's intent is not to `run out the clock' on good policy coming over from the House,' O'Neal said."

I'm sure that's not the Senate's intent, given that there doesn't seem to be any good policy coming over from the House.

Are there different criteria for people to run for the House versus running for the Senate? Currently, it seems like the House is coming out with one bad idea after another, and the Senate is doing their best to block those ideas. Which is funny (both funny-haha and funny-weird) to me since both are Republican controlled. There are apparently large ideological differences between the Republicans on one side of the capital building versus the other, and I'm curious why that is.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years ago

The Brownbackers keep saying that Kansas needs to be more like Texas, but Texas is facing a deficit of more than 25% of their state budget.

In Kansas, that would be a deficit of over $1.5 billion. The whole "income tax" argument is just an excuse for the wealthy trough feeders to get more out of government thanks to their mindless drones.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years ago

The list of bills supporters says it all. C of C, AFP and Koch, screw the taxpayers.

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toe 3 years ago

Tax more is the only solution for many. But, it never works in the long run. Only spending less.

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kugrad 3 years ago

Morris is a voice of reason at the Capitol and in the Kansas Republican party. I wish we had more like him and less who are just trying to build a political career with self-serving rather than public-service goals and agendas.

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William Weissbeck 3 years ago

If anyone doubts that there isn't a conspiracy by the Kochs and the Chamber of Commerce, don't only look to Colorado, take a look at Indiana. There they want to write into their constitution that any surplus has to be returned to the tax payers. There is an insurmountable obstacle to take all discretion away from future elected legislatures. States are not that different from businesses. They have a need for capital budgets for future projects. It's really hard to build a road $2.00 at a time. And as the economy improves and wealth increases, so too should a state's ability to provide better services. Not all of the costs to provide things within the state's control will increase only at or less than the cost of inflation. Clearly Medicaid and the salaries for top flight talent increase more rapidly than the cost of inflation. This proposal is so idiotic, so one sided in favor of the higher earners, that it sucks the air out of any reasonable debate. I understand the far right's distain for wealth redistribution, but their policies seek not only to avoid this, but to garner for themselves an ever larger share of the wealth.

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tolawdjk 3 years ago

Cut by what percentage?

Don't know about the details in the weeds here, but it looks like they lumped the cut for income taxes with all tax revenue. To me, that says the "steadier" income taxes are tied to the more fical sales taxes, and more directly placed upon the lower and middle classes.

So next year, when everything is great and everyone buys a new TV, income taxes are lowered. Then the economy tanks again and what? The lower and middle income, with zero discretionary dollars are still buying food and only food and the upper third has to buy three TVs to offset the automatic decrease in income taxes -and- lowered overall income?

I've got to think that eventually those that have will eventually have enough TVs.

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