Archive for Friday, May 20, 2011

Gov. Brownback starts review of tax code

May 20, 2011


— Gov. Sam Brownback's administration has started studying proposals for overhauling the Kansas tax system with a goal of lowering income taxes, and he expects a proposal to emerge by the end of the year, the governor said Friday.

Brownback has said repeatedly that he thinks reducing income taxes will spark economic growth, keep residents from leaving and lure people from outside the state.

"I think there's a combination of things that need to be looked at, but to me that the tax that's one of the most sensitive for economic growth is the state income tax," the governor said after an event in Lecompton, about 20 miles east of Topeka. "To look at the total picture is what we want to do, with an eye toward getting the state income tax down."

Brownback said Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan and Commerce Secretary Pat George, both former legislators, are involved in the discussion, but he said he's going to bring "leading thinkers" on tax issues from both Kansas and around nation into it. He said he's not sure whether he'll establish a formal study commission, and he encouraged legislative leaders to consider their own study this summer and fall.

The governor said state officials see Kansas residents migrating to states with lower income taxes or, like Texas, no income tax, and Kansas gains residents from higher-tax states.

This year lawmakers approved Brownback's plan to declare 50 of the state's 105 counties "Rural Enterprise Zones" and exempt anyone who moves into them from outside Kansas from state income taxes from 2012 through 2016.

But some legislators, particularly conservative Republicans, wanted to go further. The House passed a plan this year to lower income taxes whenever state revenues grow, but the idea stalled in committee in the Senate.

Democrats have been skeptical of such efforts, noting that the budget approved by legislators this year cuts general state aid to public schools by 5.6 percent, or $232 per student, as Brownback had proposed. Also, the state cut its overall spending about 6 percent for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

"We need to look at restoring some of the very, deep painful cuts we have made," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat.


weeslicket 7 years ago

oh, this is sure to work out well.

but seriously folks, people are leaving this state because of high taxes?? funny stuff, that. (more kool-aide, please. yummy.)

Paul R Getto 6 years, 12 months ago

This would be a good place to start the debate: Here are the research studies commissioned by the legislature on erosion of the tax base: Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs Wichita State University

75% of the sales and 90% of the property are "off the books." Since we paid for these studies, the legislators and the gov should actually read them. Texas is sometimes held up as a model: Lousy schools in most places; social services at or near the bottom of the scale, approaching 3rd-world status near the southern border; no income tax and a deficit estimated at $27,000,000,000 this year. A fine example of what Muscular Sam wants as Kansas' future?

Dave Trabert 6 years, 12 months ago

I agree we need to eliminate loopholes and other breaks that put government in the business of picking winners and losers but we should use that revenue to lower the burden on others, not spend more.

Kansas Policy Institute looked at the job creation performance of states with the ten lowest and ten highest combined state and local tax burdens. We used the Tax Foundation rankings of states based on 2009 data (the most current available), which shows Kansas had the 19th highest combined burden (before implementing about $500 million in sales, unemployment and property taxes).

Whether looking at the 10-year period leading up to recession or carrying it through 2010, the low burden states dramatically out-performed the high burden states. From 1998 through 2010, high burden states' private sector jobs increased 0.6%; low burden states increased 8.8%. Kansas actually employed fewer private sector workers in 2010 than in 1998. Like or not, jobs and people have been migrating to lower burden states and they will continue to do so.

FYI, Texas has a two-year budget cycle, their budget dwarfs Kansas and much of their deficit (like ours) was the result of stimulus money not returning. Texas increased private sector jobs by 14% between 1998 and 2010. Kansas lost 1.2% of private sector jobs.

Texas students do have lower overall scores on national achievement but a large part of that has to do with a much larger minority population. Kansas has 6.2% Black; Texas 12%. Kansas has 9.3% Hispanic; Texas 36.9%. The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that both states' performance for those minority groups are about the same on 4th grade Reading tests. Kansas seems to perform better because we have a much 'whiter' population.

Reforming the tax code to reduce the burden is likely the best thing we could do to create jobs and reverse the economic stagnation we've seen over at least the last decade.

gudpoynt 6 years, 12 months ago

"Kansas seems to perform better because we have a much 'whiter' population."

Really Dave? KS schools perform better than TX schools because ours are 'whiter'?

Let me explain something to you Dave. Kids with 'whiter' skin do not inherently perform better than kids whose skin is 'browner'.

Surely you don't think that's the case do you?

Perhaps what you meant to say is that 'whiter' schools tend to perform better than 'browner' schools, because 'whiter' families tend to be 'richer' than 'browner' families. That is, 'whiter' families tend to have better access to more resources than 'browner' families.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that this supremacist musing was merely a Freudian slip, and that you did not intend to imply a causal relationship between skin color and intelligence.

If you concede that skin color has no inherent determination on an individual's ability to achieve, then perhaps you could venture to explain the correlation, that certainly does exist, between poor school performance and the 'brownness' of students' skin color.

Could it have anything to do with inadequately funded public education, particularly for those with browner skin tones?

And how are taxes and public education related again?

Which is more important to you? Public education that works for all Kansasa, regardless of income level or skin color? Or an income tax free economy?

Because I tell you Dave, those two concepts are at odds with one another, as evidenced by Brownback's budget hacking.

notanota 6 years, 12 months ago

To be fair, there is a correlation between whiteness and academic performance in the US school system. Not in intelligence or potential, just how well they do in school in this country. Dismissing it as ok and perfectly understandable is really pretty disgusting on Dave's part.

There's a bigger correlation with wealth and performance. Rich kids do great in this country, public or private schools. We're one of the highest scoring groups in the world. We defund public schools, and it certainly won't be the rich kids who pay the price.

tolawdjk 6 years, 12 months ago

So what you are saying is that low burden states have stupider kids than high burden states?

Or, by looking at the entirety of your "data" presented, jobs shifted to low burdern states as people migrated away from high burden states, but only the stupid ones left because the low burden states test scores decreased over the same time period. In addition, it would appear that the "smarter" "remainder" was also "whiter".

Koch's mouthpiece data is at a loggerhead. Jobs left, but so did the "stupid" less "whiter" people. Oh whatever will we do?

notanota 6 years, 12 months ago

Ah yes, you used the ever so reliable Koch Network Tax Policy Foundation's data, right?Mmm, reliable metrics.

Even so, it's not like we'll grow Nevada, Arizona, or Florida's tourism industry, Louisiana, Texas, and Alaska's oil industry, or South Dakota's ability to hide their true unemployment rate by excluding the reservations from their data.

Or maybe we can just get lots of federal subsidies to make up for the shortfall in state taxes. Let's ask Alaska. Property taxes? Let's ask Texas or New Hampshire.

Truth is that rich people don't flee states with higher taxes and public jobs are still economically stimulative, so excluding them from your analysis is purely an exercise in cognitive bias.

tomatogrower 6 years, 12 months ago

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Especially if you are middle class.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 12 months ago

Don't let Charlie Rangel in as a consultant!

tolawdjk 6 years, 12 months ago

"Gov. Brownback starts review of tax code"

Why do I picture a scene, the midnight oil burning low, Mr. Brownback tucked in his bed, his nightcap dishelved and askew. The ravishing Mrs. Brownback tucked in her bed (individual twins, seperated by a regulation 2.5 feet, pushed together occaisionally) peacefully sleeping.

Resting upon Mr. Brownback's comforter, a dog-eared copy of the Kansas tax code. His brow furrowed as he hunts diligently for some bone to save the common man. A legal pad and pencil worn to the bone on the night stand to recieve an important thought to pursue at morning's first light.

weeslicket 6 years, 12 months ago

nice. howsabout also richard III. "a horse! a horse! my kindom for a horse!"

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