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Archive for Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Anti-tax Missouri billionaire contributing to effort to repeal Kansas state income tax

November 2, 2011

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Missouri billionaire Rex Sinquefield, right, is contributing to a Kansas group's efforts to repeal the income tax. Gov. Sam Brownback, left, supports the campaign.

Missouri billionaire Rex Sinquefield, right, is contributing to a Kansas group's efforts to repeal the income tax. Gov. Sam Brownback, left, supports the campaign.

A Missouri billionaire and Ronald Reagan economist are driving the anti- income tax bus in Kansas.

And Gov. Sam Brownback is ready to turn the ignition key.

Brownback says in a video on his Facebook page that he wants a tax system that is “flatter, simpler, fairer.”

“That is going to be a centerpiece issue in the legislative session,” which starts in January, he said.

Coinciding with Brownback’s previous statements to reduce state income taxes is a new group called Kansans for No Income Tax, which will be taking a bus tour Friday and Saturday to spread its message.

The group, led by Republican operatives, is being funded in part by St. Louis anti-tax billionaire Rex Sinquefield, according to the Kansas City Star.

Sinquefield is also working to abolish the state income tax in Missouri and replace it with a higher state sales tax on a wider variety of goods and services.

His spokesman declined to say how much Sinquefield has contributed to the anti- income tax group in Kansas. Since Kansans for No Income Tax is registered as a nonprofit, its donors and how much they gave can be kept secret. In Missouri, Sinquefield contributed $1.3 million to a group seeking to do away with the income tax there. Last year, he contributed $11 million to other initiatives to repeal taxes in Missouri.

Kansas Democrats criticized the involvement of a Missourian in the Kansas tax debate. “KNIT (Kansans for No Income Tax) claims it’s working for the best interest of Kansans. If that were the case, they’d give Rex Sinquefield his donation back,” the party said.

Ashley McMillan, president of Kansans for No Income Tax, said she wouldn’t comment on the Democrats’ suggestion to return the donation.

McMillan said her group enjoys broad support from Kansans as well as like-minded people across the nation. She declined to say how much the group has received in donations and from whom.

Sinquefield is also president of the Show-Me Institute, which describes itself as a think tank that advocates free-market principles.

At the institute’s 2010 open house, economist Arthur Laffer gave the keynote speech. Laffer, who has been hired as a consultant by the Brownback administraiton, gained prominence during the Reagan administration when he served as an economic adviser. He and Brownback espouse tax cuts as a way to generate economic growth.

Laffer helped write the most recent edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “Rich States, Poor States.” The foreword was written by Brownback.

The Brownback administration is paying Laffer $75,000 to help with plans to reform the Kansas tax code.

That plan is being designed behind closed doors but is expected to be rolled out soon after Friday’s new state revenue estimate.

Kansas Democrats and some Republicans have voiced concerns about doing away with the state personal and corporate income tax, saying that would result in cuts to needed services and increase local property and sales taxes.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, and they are going to post tax collectors at the hospital to tax all newborns. They want to get them started supporting the governers foolishness early on.

guesswho 3 years, 1 month ago

That will decimate K-12 and higher education.

chootspa 3 years, 1 month ago

They'll just make us pay hugely expensive property taxes to fund schools, like they do in Texas, a "no income tax" state.

Jan Rolls 3 years, 1 month ago

Bush and his buddies took a surplus and turned it into a deficit and you want to blame teachers unions? You sound like a fired teacher. By the way bush's tax cuts were supposed to create jobs and 11 years later where are the jobs. You folks have selective memories.

Jeff Zamrzla 3 years, 1 month ago

Laffer's theories have been thouroughly and continuously disproven since his days as chief of vudoo economics in the ronnie raygun administration. And slammin sammy gives the fool 75 grand of our money? Who is left in the insane asylum while we have sammy running loose?

question4u 3 years, 1 month ago

Will Flim-Flam Sam and Ashley "No Comment" McMillan really be able to convince the people of Kansas that they're going to get something for nothing? Is this state so full of rubes and suckers that a Missouri billionaire can manipulate the majority of Kansans into giving away their future? If Kansans are dumb enough to throw themselves in front of the No Income Tax bus, then they'll get what they deserve – or, rather, they won't get what they don't deserve (decent schools, safe communities, healthy environment, etc.).

LTownBaby 3 years, 1 month ago

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William Weissbeck 3 years, 1 month ago

Get a clue! The rich spend their money to buy political influence and to fund misinformation campaigns for the sole purpose of protecting their wealth and to pave the way to acquiring more. We in a democracy have every right to vote and tax them to the poor house. It would be foolish of us to take such an extreme approach, but it is clear that "they" no longer wish to participate in the social contract. In an extreme view - it's theirs so long as they use it wisely and to the mutual benefit of society. The French and Russian aristocracies failed to learn that lesson. Revolutions are one of those times when numbers do count.

chootspa 3 years, 1 month ago

You can have a flatter tax, or you can have a fairer tax. You cannot have both at once. And honest to goodness, Kansas has pretty close to a "flat and simple" tax as it is.

If your income range is between $0 and $15,000, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 3.5%. If your income range is between $15,001 and $30,000, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 6.25%. If your income range is $30,001 and over, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 6.45%.

Are we really concerned that kids earning less than 15k a year aren't paying enough?

Zarniwoop 3 years, 1 month ago

While I agree with your overall sentiment, I believe your description of the tax structure is slightly incorrect. A better description might be:

Regardless of your total income, your tax rate on every dollar of income between $0 and $15,000 is 3.5%. Regardless of your total income, your tax rate on every dollar of income between $15,001 and $30,000 is 6.25%. Regardless of your total income, your tax rate on every dollar of income above $30,001 is 6.45%.

I only point this out because I feel it makes the flat tax argument seem even more ridiculous. Those with high adjusted gross incomes already pay the same rates as everyone else on their first $15,000 and their second $15,000.

3 years, 1 month ago

The governor is for sale to the wealthiest Christian conservative bidder, and they're lining up to reward him for giving them corporate welfare tax breaks. Think of it, we're subsidizing industries that have unlimited revenue streams while continuing to overcrowd the classrooms and reduce the effectiveness of our school system. This is what you elected to office, Kansas.

3 years, 1 month ago

The governor is for sale to the wealthiest Christian conservative bidder, and they're lining up to reward him for giving them corporate welfare tax breaks. Think of it, we're subsidizing industries that have unlimited revenue streams while continuing to overcrowd the classrooms and reduce the effectiveness of our school system. This is what you elected to office, Kansas.

kansasredlegs 3 years, 1 month ago

Who cares where he's from? It's his money and he can spend it and his time how he likes. btw: the People for Lawrence Library had no problem with its co-chair being a "meddler" from Eudora who would get all the benefits but not the taxes associated with it.

chootspa 3 years, 1 month ago

I've found that people who need an accountant to file their taxes are generally people who can afford an accountant to file their taxes. Just sayin.

average 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas education is better than Texas.

Kansas has lower poverty rates than Texas.

Kansas has better overall health figures than Texas. Cheaper, too.

Kansas has better roads than Texas.

Kansas has better crime figures than Texas.

Kansas has lower unemployment than Texas. And has for every single month of the entire recession.

WHY then are we in such a tizzy to emulate Texas? THEY'RE DOING WORSE! WE'RE DOING BETTER!

The only metric that is in Texas' favor is 'growth'. And chasing the chimera of growth for growth's sake... growth while everything else declines... isn't something in the best interest of the great majority of Kansans.

progressive_thinker 3 years, 1 month ago

Yes, Texas has lots of "issues" not to mention that they are highest in the nation in percent of persons over 25 without a high school diploma, and tie with Mississippi with the highest percent of workers making minimum wage.

The below link is telling. Do we want Kansas to look like this mess?

http://www.texaslsg.org/texasonthebrink/texasonthebrink.pdf

ihatelv 3 years, 1 month ago

Do we want Kansas to look like Lawrence?

progressive_thinker 3 years, 1 month ago

We want Kansas to look like Kansas, not like Texas. We can do better.

It is true that Lawrence does not suit everyone. There are other communities that are different, yet which do not have the host of ills that currently confront Texas.

average 3 years, 1 month ago

And on roads, one national study (by a group that is even generally opposed to 'gubmint roads') finds Kansas 3rd in quality nationally.

http://reason.org/files/19th_annual_highway_report.pdf

naturalist 3 years, 1 month ago

Seems some back scratching is going on here.

average 3 years, 1 month ago

Moreover, if government roles are even more supported by local tax bases (sales/property) it will widen the gap between things that are possible in Johnson County and what is possible in, say, Jewell County. How much you can afford to pay teachers, etc. For as much time as Brownback's people spend holding town halls west of 81 and dreaming of reversing the depopulation, less statewide income and more reliance on local tax base will mean things get comparatively worse in the low-tax-base parts of the state.

WalterS 3 years, 1 month ago

I did too. Kansas showed there were many mindless sheeple last November...

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

The particularly frightening aspect of all this is that it will likely happen. Brownback will easily get his way with the legislature.

At this point in Kansas, Brownback is basically a dictator, able to get his way exactly as he wants it. The legislature and, apparently the people of Kansas, have given him this power.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Not necessarily - I think the legislature has more common sense than that.

William Weissbeck 3 years, 1 month ago

Here's the handwriting on the wall. Kansas public employee pensions are underfunded. No plan to fix the long term funding. But there is word of a plan to eliminate the income tax. So, then you either fund the pensions with a sales tax or slash the benefits. Guesses anyone? Isn't it clear that Brownback's plan is to shield the wealthy from having to pay for any state services they've been receiving or to pay for the mistakes that state government may have made over the years. Further, because it's the GOP's plan to obstruct all tax increases at the national level, it's clear that there will be no further aid to the states. So the solution must be unicorns for all.

lucky_guy 3 years, 1 month ago

What we have now is a comic book country. We have the super rich 1% who can now be comic book characters. Doctor Evil and slick sam his side kick really do exist now and domination is there aim. They preache something for nothing meaning state services for no tax. The legislature will vote for it just like the gullable citzens of Gothum City in the Batman comics. Except who will rescue us?

Jimo 3 years, 1 month ago

A. By definition, flatter tax rates are unfair. A fair tax rate matches the share of income captured by the taxpayer. (E.g., The 1% that gets 25% of the wealth should fund 25% of the budget...plus a generous share of what those who get <10% of the wealth need to live.)

The exact number varies depending on how you estimate, but basically any individual (not household) in Kansas that makes less than about $50k does not pay their own way but relies on revenue subsidy from the better off. Yes, you may pay taxes but the dollars don't cover society's lifetime expenditure on your behalf.

Jimo 3 years, 1 month ago

B. I can't recall at any of the Brownback campaign stops Sam running on a platform of cutting taxes on the wealthy and replacing them with taxes on the middle class. Did I miss that moment of candor with the voters? Or did it never happen? Looks like Kansas bought a pig in a poke.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually, he campaigned on a promise to "protect" education and social service funding.

I knew he'd break that promise, of course.

Jimo 3 years, 1 month ago

There's a world of difference between "give the upper class tax breaks" and eliminating taxation of income.

If Brownback wanted to repeal income taxes then he should have run on that platform.

He didn't.

And the reason for that is obvious.

Jimo 3 years, 1 month ago

C. This marks just another reminder that Brownback lacks a vision for the future of Kansas. There is no future for our children and grandchildren except with the investment that government makes and pays for through tax revenues. The United States was founded on this Hamiltonian principle. Kansas itself was settled by people accepting the largesse of government. You can't run a 21st century economy without investment in infrastructure and education. The only investor in Kansas is going to be the people acting through their government. What Sam won't tell you: there is no billionaire waiting in the wings to pour money into Kansas the minute the income tax disappears. Sam's plan is for your grandchildren to struggle to understand the orders of their future employer through his manager's heavy Chinese accent. (Don't worry though. Sam, if not the 1%, probably is the 2% and he's got his why should he worry if your kids ever get anything?)

Jimo 3 years, 1 month ago

D. Is there a better time to note that Brownback's Kansas is not one where everyone is not 'in it together' but rather where it's 'every man for himself'? As B. Franklin once quipped: we must hang together or we shall, most assuredly, hang separately.

gccs14r 3 years, 1 month ago

I think the only people who didn't see this coming are the folks who pulled the Brownback lever in the booth. The rest of us knew better.

Jan Rolls 3 years, 1 month ago

I heard nut case sam mentioned on national tv news today. The comment was to the effect that he was such a nutcase in 2008 that he was forced to withdraw from the presidential race before they even had a primary.

verity 3 years, 1 month ago

One major huge problem here---Sam Brownback will win another term as governor if there is nobody of substance running against him.

I suggest writing to Sandy Praeger and asking her to run in the primary against Gov Brownback.

voevoda 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe Sandy Praeger can run as a Democrat.

Ronnie24 3 years, 1 month ago

Im new on here, tho I follow most of the comments made on all topics. That being said, My two cents is that even the bank and I own my home, It will soon be the Countys to sell because I cant afford the property taxes. Im not able to work, and STRUGGLE to make it through the month on my SS check. By the time I pay mortage, insurance, utilities, gas for the vehichle, and food, there is nothing left to pay anything else. Stopping the Income Tax wouldnt help in the least.. With it gone and looking at an increase in property taxes, and sales tax, I dont see ANY way I can keep my home.
There has got to be something for folks like me that have NO WAY to make any extra money to offset taxes in any form. Everything seems to be geared for the higher income people than for the "Middle Class". SOMETHING"S GOT TO CHANGE if "we" are going to be able to make it..

George_Braziller 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm registered as a Democrat but I'd vote for Sandy Praeger.

vlpete 3 years, 1 month ago

Good article, What Mr. Rothschild may be unaware of is that, the Kansans for No Income Tax takes their "publications and research" under "resources" on their web page, directly from the Kansas Policy Institutes web page. And they are known to be directly funded by the Koch brothers. So it leads me to deduce, so is the Kansans for No Income Tax!

getreal 3 years, 1 month ago

First, this is never going to pass in Missouri, but if Kansas passes it they will be forced to increase sales tax dramatically. The real danger is for border communities like Johnson County. People will drive 10 minutes across the state line to make their purchases. How long before their malls are empty and their businesses are closing their doors. This is not only the most regressive tax plan putting the burden on working families it is an economic disaster and will stunt the economic growth in this state for years to come.

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