Archive for Monday, October 17, 2011

Journal-World seeks information on Brownback tax policy group

October 17, 2011


The Lawrence Journal-World has filed a request under state law to Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration for information about a task force that meets secretly and is preparing a tax policy recommendation for Brownback.

In an Oct. 11 email, the Journal-World requested access or copies of minutes, agendas and policy papers of the task force.

The Brownback administration wrote in a letter dated Oct. 12, and received in the mail Oct. 15, that it may take up to seven weeks to respond to the newspaper’s request.

“Due to the extensive nature of your request, additional time will be needed to search files, to determine the existence of any such records, to contact personnel who may have possession of said requested records, to determine the applicability of any exceptions to the Open Records Act, and to determine the cost of producing the copies which can be provided pursuant to the Open Records Act. Therefore, the Department will communicate with you not later than November 30, 2011, regarding its response to your request,” said the letter signed by Christy Weiler, Records Custodian with the Kansas Department of Revenue states.

Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan is heading the effort to give recommendations to Brownback by the end of the year. Jordan has said a task force is near completion of its task.

When Jordan’s office was asked to provide names of those serving on the task force and other details, the office provided little information.

Jeannine Koranda, a spokeswoman for the agency, said senior Revenue Department staff members Richard Cram, head of policy and research, and Steve Stotts, director of taxation, have been consulted. She said Republican leaders of the House and Senate tax committees had been consulted.

But she declined to name any business people who are working with the task force.

The only person outside state government who has been named to the task force working on a recommendation for Brownback is Arthur Laffer, who had served as a key economic adviser to President Reagan. Laffer espouses cutting taxes for corporations and top-income earners as a way to grow the economy through increased jobs.

Laffer, who is being paid $75,000 as a consultant on the Kansas tax proposal, helped write the latest edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” for the American Legislative Exchange Council. Brownback wrote the forward to the ALEC report.

Last week, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he would form a bi-partisan committee, including public members, to study options for reducing taxes. “Right now, there are a lot of ideas being floated around, but what they all seem to be missing is citizen input,” Morris said. “This isn’t something that should be done behind closed doors by a bunch of bureaucrats.”


cowboy 6 years, 7 months ago

A sincere thank you to the LJW ! This should be a good story on evil shadow government.

GovJunkie 6 years, 7 months ago

Two I hear are Art Laffer (disclosed) and Stephen Moore, editorial page editor, Wall Street Journal... And both are founding members of Club for Growth... Throw in Art Hall for good measure Is anyone surprised??. Koch, Inc., strikes again!


ksjayhawk74 6 years, 7 months ago

Seven weeks to figure out what was said, what information they distributed, what their plans are and who was there... Seven weeks... Really?

You know there was some Koch influence in that group.

Their goal is simple changing the tax rate for corporations and the very wealthy to 0%, or maybe BETTER!

getreal 6 years, 7 months ago

The LJWorld should also do an open record request and find out who hired Blackstone after they met with Brownback in March, but now they are denying they work for the administration.

How about who they are consulting with on school finance. They say they are consulting with Superintendents, which ones? These are all public funded offices, we deserve to know who is crafting legislation and policy, since it doesn't seem to be the individuals elected by the people.

If Kansas has been sold, it would be nice to know.

ljwhirled 6 years, 7 months ago

You are now on notice.

Kansas has been sold.

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

It sure would be handy to have a think tank with the mission of giving Kansans a clear vision of where our state and local tax dollars were spent... Oh wait. That not-at-all-biased-group only gives us that vision when it doesn't involve giving Koch Industries tax cuts on the backs of the poor.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

This is the same tactic Bush and Cheney used to control their secret energy meetings.

However, according to media reports at the time, energy industry executives participated in the Task Force. In particular, those identified as having been involved included then-Enron President and Chairman Kenneth Lay and lobbyists Haley Barbour and Marc Racicot.

In April 2001, the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, sought to obtain the records of the task force meetings. [3] In July 2001 Judicial Watch filed suit on the grounds that the administration was not "in compliance with the Federal Advisory Commission Act (FACA), which mandates that certain documents, task force members, meetings, and decision-making activities be open to the public." [4]

Judicial Watch argued that the acting as energy lobbyists -- "regularly attended and fully participated" in the group's meetings held behind closed doors, and were in fact members of the group. The Sierra Club also filed suit.

(The two actions were later merged.) "At issue is whether Cheney allowed private energy lobbyists and big-name campaign contributors to participate in the work of the group, and if so, whether that information should be made public," UPI reported. [5]

The organizations claim the documents will show the extent to which the task force staff met secretly with industry executives to craft the Bush administration's energy policies, such as drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and weakening power plant pollution regulations.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Doubt it's required in 3 days, but all that's due is a response explaining any delay, not necessarily the actual records.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

What they expect is that the report will be generated and rammed through the legislature before the public is given a glimpse of how Kochistan operates a state government.

parrothead8 6 years, 7 months ago

If it's taking them seven weeks to find and make copies of their paperwork, then they are the most inept, inefficient, and disorganized "task force" in history and in no way should their recommendations for a statewide tax policy be taken seriously. Perhaps they should hire someone to take notes and keep their files a little more organized.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Nice touch! I laughed and winced at the same time!

Paul R Getto 6 years, 7 months ago

"Due to the extensive nature of your request, additional time will be needed to search files, to determine the existence of any such records, to contact personnel who may have possession of said requested records, to determine the applicability of any exceptions to the Open Records Act, and to determine the cost of producing the copies which can be provided pursuant to the Open Records Act." === More BS from Muscular Sam and his minions. When they 'find' the records they will likely ask for $25,000 up front to purchase them. Sam, does your weird little businessman jesus think lying is a sin? This is an old trick. People are still trying to figure out how they cooked the books in Ohio in 2004.

verity 6 years, 7 months ago

Silly, lying is not only OK, but is required when your cause is righteous and true. Growing up in a fundamentalist church and family, I have first-hand experience with this---and lost a significant amount of money due to the fact that I was trusting and naive and thought that surely their religion meant something to them. It turns out that money, control and pride was their god---even to the point of acting against their own interests. It was a lose-lose situation---although in the end I won because I escaped.

And that is the really sad thing about all this---it is a lose-lose situation for everybody.

On the other hand, if you believe what the radical right religionists believe, you can believe most anything. I think that in many cases, they actually believe their lies.

WilburNether 6 years, 7 months ago

Did the Journal World do this when Lyin' Kathy Sebelius, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid were ginning up the ObamaCare monstrosity?

No, I guess not, considering that Pelosi told the world that they had to pass the bill so we could find out what was in it.

Bit of a typical liberal double standard here, eh?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Are you saying that the JW should have a Washington bureau?

Carol Bowen 6 years, 7 months ago

Brownback is deliberately delaying his response. I'll bet his task force members are all imported. The information will be available after the task force is done.

Brownback knows that he has to have the support of the Kansas legislature. He's probably doing some serious lobbying and bargaining with legislators while we wait for information. his reform will be ready for a vote before we have a chance to read it.

verity 6 years, 7 months ago

It is very important that moderate Republicans get elected/reelected to our legislature. Many of them are not supportive of Governor Brownback and cooperate with the Democrats to try to stop the worst of his follies.

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

kansas has been sold, for pennies on the dollar. The open meeting laws, information access on who is designing our next tax structure is our business. If our vote is valued? Oh, I forgot, the new voter laws, that sold for pennies on our dollar.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

Club for Growth is political campaign cookie jar = aka special interest campaign money established by a former Brownback chief of staff. There is a Kansas Club for Growth that which performs the same function = raise special interest campaign dollars.

This should provide a hint as to what will come out of the secret meeting: Grab Your Wallets!

I expect to see authorization for local additional tax increases to fund respective school districts as Brownback and his beltway cronies drain the school districts in favor of funding fundamentalist private schools.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

"It is very important that moderate Republicans get elected/reelected to our legislature. "

These people will be targets of the Koch/Walton(Wal-Mart) and Brownback RINO campaign money. Eliminating republicans from the republican party has been quite successful over the past 20-25 years.

Democrat voters better keep a watchful eye on who the new demo candidates might be as there are signs of this same RINO endeavor leaking into the democrat party.

RINO's believe in the one party system = think dictator. Remember GW saying how much easier it would be if he were a dictator?

weeslicket 6 years, 7 months ago

7 weeks for a response to a simple question?

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