Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Senate Republican leaders say Kansans want property tax relief, not income tax cuts

From right, Senate vice president, John Vratil, R-Leawood, Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, R-McPherson, and Senate president Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.

From right, Senate vice president, John Vratil, R-Leawood, Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, R-McPherson, and Senate president Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.

April 25, 2012

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— As legislators today resumed the 2012 session, Gov. Sam Brownback reiterated his call for significant tax reform but a trio of legislative leaders in his own party say Brownback's proposal is not what Kansans want.

In an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, Senate Vice President John Vratil, R-Leawood, and Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, R-McPherson, said the public is not supportive of Brownback's desire to phase out the income tax.

Emler said when he has coffee meetings with constituents in his district, no one expresses a desire to cut state income taxes. "They're asking about property taxes being lowered," he said.

And they want some of the state's growing surplus — now projected at more than $600 million — to be used to restore some of the school funding that has been cut over the past several years.

The three leaders shared results of a poll of 600 likely Republican voters that was taken statewide before the start of the legislative session in January.

Asked which tax they would like to see reduced or eliminated, 45 percent of those likely voters said property taxes; 27 percent, income taxes; and 16 percent, sales tax.

Asked what should be done with the surplus, 38 percent said restore previous cuts to services such as education; 35 percent said save a portion in a rainy day fund; and 17 percent said cut taxes.

Asked which cuts should be restored first, schools got 34 percent; infrastructure/highways, 20 percent; services for the elderly and those with disabilities,16 percent; services for children and low-income families, 8 percent and public safety, 7 percent.

"There is just no public outcry to reduce the income tax," said Vratil.

Brownback's plan cuts individual income tax rates and exempts 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other small businesses from any income taxes on their business earnings. To offset the loss of revenue to the state, the plan would eliminate tax credits and deductions and keep the state's sales tax at 6.3 percent instead of dropping it to 5.7 percent in July 2013 as scheduled. In public statements, Brownback has pushed hard for the elimination of the non-wage income taxes for the wide range of businesses, comparing it to shooting adrenaline to the heart.

In a column published as legislators returned for the wrap-up session, Brownback wrote, "Now the Legislature has the opportunity to enact significant tax reform and prevent another lost decade of economic decline.

"Empowered by a tax policy that is built on liberty and rewards hard work, we can accelerate economic growth, create well-paying jobs, increase family and community stability, and reduce the number of children living in poverty.

But the three Senate leaders said they would rather see enacted a bi-partisan plan passed earlier by the Senate that would provide $180 million over four years to local governments to buy down property taxes.

Several of the tax cutting proposals in a House-Senate conference committee would remove too much revenue from the state, the three leaders said. That House-Senate conference committee picks up its work today.

Comments

gccs14r 3 years ago

Our universities are priced out of reach of most Kansans and their buidings are crumbling before our eyes. I don't think a tax cut is going to fix that.

If you must cut a tax, remove the sales tax on food. That will do the most good for the most families. Make up for it with a tax increase on incomes over $250k.

Jayhawk1958 3 years ago

I thought this was a free country?

Bob Burton 3 years ago

Boy you did good, you picked the senate leadership, all three are RINO's.. Hopefully they will be gone in November.. Hope you are enjoying the nice weather..

chootspa 3 years ago

It will be a sad day for Kansas if things go as you predict.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

No it b a very happy day for Kansas as we get our fiscal house in order.

JayhawksandHerd 3 years ago

You do understand that revenue lost from eliminating income tax will have to be made up somewhere, right? I'm all for getting "our fiscal house in order," but surely the government could do so in a way that benefits all Kansans.

chootspa 3 years ago

Our fiscal house was already in order, since we cannot constitutionally spend more than we accrue in revenue. It's our priorities that seem to be out of whack.

Jimo 3 years ago

RINOs? You mean the real Republicans, not Dixiecrat carpetbaggers. Lincoln, McKinley, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan......, not Limbaugh, Lott, Bush, Santorum, Romney.

Could any of the historical great Republicans get nominated today?

Nope.

billbodiggens 3 years ago

Senate Leadership = RINO's? SouthWestKs = toady? Just as long as we are calling names, just saying.

chootspa 3 years ago

Damn straight. We're taxing little old ladies out of their houses, and we're shooting ourselves in the foot by cutting those other programs.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

More government is not the answer to our problems! We need to encourage the private sector to create jobs by creating the kind of business climate that does that. Lower all tax and reduce the size of all levels of government.

seriouscat 3 years ago

Kansas would need 423,175 new jobs at an average income of $34,000 a year to offset these tax cuts. And since businesses look at not just the income tax rate...but the quality of the local infrastructure... including education, transportation, and the arts, it's simply laughable to propose that slashing taxes and starving out the latter is going to attract any actual good jobs. You can get mad and tell me I'm wrong, but it doesn't matter. We are all in the same boat.

Guess we're all about to find out either way huh?

Orwell 3 years ago

Been there. Tried that. it didn't work.

Are we really stupid enough to enact ever-greater tax giveaways just to see if someday these "job creators" will actually create a few menial jobs?

jafs 3 years ago

Not only did several R legislators disagree with BB, they did so on the basis of a poll of likely R voters.

Interestingly, about 73% of those favored either restoring funds to services, like education, or saving the money, rather than giving it back in tax cuts.

Those are rather reasonable ideas - it's too bad that the extreme right will dismiss those people and ideas in favor of continually cutting taxes.

deec 3 years ago

It is all about the transfer of wealth to those who are already doing well. Any ridiculous proposal is acceptable to the plutocrats and their sycophants, as long as the god of Jobs is invoked. No actual jobs need be created. In a world that worships greed, the deluded drink from the holy grail of Jobs, and all is well in their world.

seriouscat 3 years ago

"A substantial share of the profit exempted from taxation under the proposal is earned by the wealthy owners of large investment funds and other business entities that have no employees. Another share is earned by individuals who live outside Kansas and would see that income taxed by their home states when Kansas stops taxing it. Small, fast-growing businesses — those most likely to create jobs — likely would see very little of the benefit."

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3662

Jock Navels 3 years ago

the koch brothers operate their business empire through a myriad of partnerships. would these be untaxed undere brownback's proposal?

John Hamm 3 years ago

Oh, this is a no-brainer. So these Legislators talked to homeowners who want their taxes cut. When the talked to non-homeowners they were interested in income tax and sales tax cuts. Jeeezzzzzzzz, how many are gonna fall for this bait-switch tactic. I don't own a home so I sure in heck do NOT want property taxes cut. I want cuts that will help me AND bring additional employers into the state. Jobs is the important thing not relief only for homeowners.

deec 3 years ago

Where does it say that only homeowners were allowed to vote in this poll?

fu7il3 3 years ago

When you pay rent, you are playing property taxes. Your landlord isn't swallowing the cost himself out of the goodness of his heart. He passes it on to you.

3 years ago

Less than half of Lawrence residents (not including students) are homeowners. Yet property taxes continue to go up every single year even as property values go down with the recession. Roughly 40% of the population pays property taxes. How nice of me to pay massive property taxes that you don't have to for services you still use.

Also, lowering property taxes will help you because not only does your landlord pay property taxes from your rent, but businesses also pay property tax that is included in the cost of goods and services you buy.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

It's no wonder that Kansans want property tax reform. Tax collections statewide increased 99% between 1997 and 2011, while inflation was up 37% and population about 10%. There is no good justification for these large increases.

But this is mostly a local government issue. The state only collects 21.5 miils (20 for schools and 1.5 for building funds). The other 110 mills (state average) goes to local governments and school districts.

Property tax details for each county are at http://www.kansasopengov.org/PropertyTax/tabid/1264/Default.aspx

It's also no surprise that a poll asking leading questions would conclude that people want the state to spend reserves on more school funding. The answer to a simplistic question of that nature will be based on participants' understanding of the facts; if they are misinformed, they will give misinformed responses.

Here are some facts that are conveniently ignored in most discussions of school funding. Every fact comes from the Kansas Dept. Of Education; 2012 estimates were provided by Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis on November 9, 2011.

2012 is predicted to be a record-setting year, with total spending of $5.672 billion.

State aid in 2012 is $3.157 billion or $6,931 per pupil...that is more than double base state aid.

Recent declines in state aid have been grossly overstated. 2012 aid is only 4% below the 2009 peak but is 34% higher than in 2005.

Instructional (classroom) spending increased 87% between 1999 and 2011, more than double the combined rates of inflation (32%) and FTE enrollment (1%).

Cash reserves in current operating funds (excluding capital outlay, federal and bond payment funds) were a record-high $868 million at the beginning of this year and 90% more than in 2005. The balances increased more than $400 million and represent state and local tax dollars that were not spent.

Districts had no cash flow problems when they had $500 million in reserve. They could and should spend some of that money left over from prior years.

District-level details on spending, revenues, cash reserves and payroll listings are available at http://www.kansasopengov.org/SchoolDistricts/tabid/1265/Default.aspx

The Senate's plan to increase school funding by $74 million would reduce the State's ending balance...its reserves. How is it logical for the Sate to spend reserves but not school districts, especially since districts' reserves are far greater than the State's?

The Senate plan is not logical...or prudent. It is political.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years ago

The state's ending balance is not an apples to apples comparison with the school district funds Koch Industries is targeting. Sweeping fee funds would be an apples to apples comparison. Dave Trabert and Koch Industries, of course, oppose the sweeping of fee funds on the state level.

It is telling that there is no position the flint hills policy institute takes that isn't propped up by lies and mangled statistics. Next week, they will issue a paper proclaiming the sun is green.

chootspa 3 years ago

Why, hello there Wichita resident and professional newspaper forum commenter! It's been a long time since a Google Alert has brought you to this journal to give us a good seagull post.

PS, for those unfamiliar with him, this message was brought to you by ALEC (Dave's a member) and the Kochs, sponsors of Dave's "think" tank and the source of the links he's spammed us with, yet again.

Dave is already on record saying he'd rather we get rid of income taxes. Although he's correct in stating that property taxes are a "local" issue, they're a logical response to underfunding at the state level. As is instinctive hoarding of funds to compensate for the inevitable loss of them from Gov KochBack. Of COURSE this year will be record setting in education spending. The state has commanded schools to spend down their reserves. Interesting that you forgot to mention that.

It's interesting, yet again, that he cherry picks the years 1999 and 2011. That's not an even decade, so something must have happened in either 1999 or 2011 or both that made a more shocking statistic. Ooooh, maybe it was this ruling that Kansas was underfunding education that made them spend at higher than inflation levels? http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jun/22/timeline_events_school_finance_lawsuit/?kansas_legislature And maybe it was our reliance on one-time stimulus money in 2009 that made the numbers less dramatic at the decade mark?

Just the sort of honest "information" we've come to expect from the ALEC rep. Thanks for keeping us soooo informed, Dave.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

1999 is as far back as KSDE has data at that costing level. 2011 is the most current.

chootspa 3 years ago

It's also a rather convenient spin for you and a measurement without context.

gudpoynt 3 years ago

What were the leading questions Dave? Or anybody for that matter. Does anybody have a copy of the polling questions so that we may ascertain for ourselves whether or not they were misleading? TIA.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

In order to avoid even inadvertently asking leading questions, one must first ask questions that determine participants' understanding of the facts.

If participants are misinformed on the facts (e.g., state funding of schools has been cut back to 1990s levels when in fact it is about a billon dollars more), their answers will reflect accordingly.

chootspa 3 years ago

Wrong answer. Priming voters with your spin on the facts is a great way to lead them. You should ask the opinion questions first and then assess their knowledge and political leanings after.

kernal 3 years ago

Good to know we still have some intelligent Republicans in the KS Senate.

deec 3 years ago

Oh goody. The ALEC/AFP guy is assigned to work the Lawrence beat today.

seriouscat 3 years ago

Indeed. As soon as schools are "privatized" enough, we will stop hearing about how much "spending" is being wasted and the word will then become "investment". Just like the prison industry...which is also experiencing "unprecedented spending"...but it's ok because the spending is going to profits for Corrections Corporation of America, instead of "big government".

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

Some people would like you to believe that there is some conspiratorial plot to funnel money to for-profit schools but that is simply nonsense. Most of those who spread that baloney also refuse to have respectful public discussions of the issues.

deec 3 years ago

So AFP's nationwide efforts to push vouchers and charter schools have nothing to do with funneling public funds to private schools?

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

I don't have details on any AFP proposals but charter schools are not private...they are public schools.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

The voucher proposals we support are those dedicated to parents of special needs kids, giving parents the option of deciding which school is best suited to meet their child's needs.

We also support tax credit scholarships for low income families to give them more choice.

Under either plan, districts shed the cost of educating students but retain a good potion of funding.

chootspa 3 years ago

Studies show children actually do better when mainstreamed and educated in an inclusive environment, and that's why the law requires kids to be in the least restrictive environment. Voluntarily offloading special needs kids to other schools will decrease diversity and services available for those who remain. While your claim is an appeal to emotion and may even be popular among the target audience, it's not in the best interest of the students or families.

seriouscat 3 years ago

Dave, are you being compensated for your time spend posting here? Full disclosure please.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

I am posting in my capacity as president of Kansas Policy Institute.

chootspa 3 years ago

Charter schools are publicly funded but can be run by a private, for-profit entity, aka an Education Management Organization. I'm surprised you didn't know this, since you claim to be such an expert on the subject. Unless, of course, you were carefully parsing your words to reveal a technically honest but misleading answer. You wouldn't do that, Dave. That would be disrespectful to your audience.

seriouscat 3 years ago

"investment banker Michael Moe exuded confidence as he kicked off his second annual confab of education start-up companies and venture capitalists"..."Moe has worked for almost fifteen years at converting the K-12 education system into a cash cow for Wall Street. A veteran of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, he now leads an investment group that specializes in raising money for businesses looking to tap into more than $1 trillion in taxpayer money spent annually on primary education."

Who needs conspiracies when we've got Wall Street!

chootspa 3 years ago

The largest study on the issue to date found that they did no better and often did worse, but I'm sure that's what you were getting at.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

The most comprehensive study of charter schools was conducted at Stanford University's Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO). http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/MULTIPLE_CHOICE_CREDO.pdf

On page 4 they conclude the success of charter schools is largely dependent upon how each state's law was written. States that allowed charters to flourish but not placing caps on the number of schools or limit the number of students who can participate did quite well. They also recommend limiting the number of authorizers (I personally favor Regents universities in Kansas) and allowing for annual independent appeals of any adverse renewal applications.

Some people may only cite the findings on page 3, which show that some did better than traditional public schools, most about the same and about 37% did worse...but they won't tell you why those schools didn't perform as well.

chootspa 3 years ago

Nice way to spin the findings the findings from an otherwise pro-charter group, which as you pointed out are "17 percent of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools, while 37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse than their traditional public school counterparts, with 46 percent of charter schools demonstrating no significant difference"

I'm sure the way the state structures the plan does have a lot to do with the outcomes, which is one reason why I oppose them in this state and in this political climate. What two states does our governor want to emulate most? Texas and Florida, right?

"...In six states — Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas — charter school students experienced lower learning gains — ranging from  ‐.01 to  ‐.06 — than would have occurred in TPS."

chootspa 3 years ago

You're right. A conspiracy would require you to keep your plans a secret, oh well-known voucher supporter. That ALEC model legislation your buddy in the House introduced went down in flames this year, but funding for-profit provate schools with taxpayer money is exactly what it would have done.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

It wasn't a voucher plan, it was a tax credit scholarship plan limited to high density urban districts. It was intended to give low income parents choice, one of which could be a for-profit private school or most likely, non-profit schools operated by churches or other organizations.

chootspa 3 years ago

Oh come on. It was a voucher plan in disguise. The scholarships wouldn't have funded enough of the tuition for low income students to afford school, and the remaining portion would have gone to higher income students that were going to attend private and parochial schools anyway. That's why your ALEC plan was defeated.

pittstatebb 3 years ago

I will share my household's plan with real numbers. This past year our AGI was about 150k (we had an effective federal tax rate of 14%). About 100k of this income was eligible to be non-taxed by the state under the governor's proposal to exempt non wage income. This past year we only took 24k of the 100k as non wage, but that number can be (and will be) inflated if this plan passes.

So if we were to take all 100k as non wage, we will save at most $6,450. Of course I should point out that he IRS does not like small business owners taking no W2 income so we will have to take some W2 income. Now we would also save the 4.2 or 6.2% SS and Medicare taxes at the federal level. Our small business employees 4.33 full time employees. Our state + FICA tax savings is not enough to employee a new employee (not that we really need one anyway).

So what are we planning on doing with this extra money?
Option 1: stick it in retirement accounts to be spent in 20 years in Colorado. Option2: take a nice vacation to somewhere not in KS

I see no way that this tax break will increase our spending in the state or increase our employment in the state.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

Please provide your source for the facts you heard regarding small businesses. Testimony provided by small business groups all strongly favor tax reform...Wichita Independent Business Association...Topeka Independent Business Association...National Federation of Small Business.

Kansas has a very uncompetitve state and local tax structure that has been and will continue to cost jobs.

deec 3 years ago

" "A substantial share of the profit exempted from taxation under the proposal is earned by the wealthy owners of large investment funds and other business entities that have no employees. Another share is earned by individuals who live outside Kansas and would see that income taxed by their home states when Kansas stops taxing it. Small, fast-growing businesses — those most likely to create jobs — likely would see very little of the benefit."

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3662"

pittstatebb 3 years ago

Dave - you said "cost" jobs. Is this plan suppose to keep the current jobs or is supposed to create new jobs? My understanding was that was to spur job growth or steal jobs from other states (depends upon your viewpoint). See my above post about how this will affect my household. Am I wrong in my assumption that this is a more common outcome for small business owners than job creation?

deec 3 years ago

I think Dave's allotted time to post here has passed and he's moved on to his next assignment.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

It is intended to do help keep current jobs, encourage existing employers to expand, encourage new start-ups and attract new employers from other states.

It certainly would not have universal application but that isn't necessary for the plan to be successful.

tomatogrower 3 years ago

Can you give us statistics and proof? So far the Bush tax cuts haven't created any new jobs. Some companies are starting to realize they are hurting the economy, so they are moving jobs back to the US, but I don't think that has anything to do with tax cuts. They've just realized they have been hurting their customers, which is what a business really should be about, not the investors. You lay off workers, then all of sudden the workers, who are customers, are not buying your product. How could that happen? Duh. And please don't mention Texas. Their unemployment rate is higher than ours. I'm not impressed.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

President Bush cut some taxes but he also blew up spending and added to the debt and deficit. That's not a formula that creates positive economic growth. When spending is increased, employers understand that that will eventually lead to higher taxes, so they hold back.

Texas is certainly one of the states that has created a lot of new jobs but they are by no means alone. The ten states with the highest state and local tax burden only added 2.6% private sector jobs between 1997 and 2011; they under-performed the national average of 3.1%. But the ten states with the lowest tax burden added 11.2% jobs. Kansas had anemic growth of just 0.4%

Every state that has enacted an income tax over the last 50 years has seen its share of U.S. domestic product decline. Every state.

Kansas has had sub-standard economic growth for over a decade, while its tax burden has significantly increased. The Tax Foundation's annual ranking of the states said Kansas had the 25th highest burden based on 2005 taxes. By 2008, we had the 23rd highest. Kansas had the 19th highest tax burden based on 2009 taxes and since then Kansans have had to absorb over $500 more is sales, unemployment and property taxes.

Until something is done to significantly reduce the tax burden, Kansas will continue to fall farther behind.

chootspa 3 years ago

Cite your sources, please. I notice you do list the Koch-funded Tax Foundation, which has widely been criticized for its publication of misleading data. Is that your source for all of this?

Note also how private jobs are the only ones that count in Dave's world of data cherry picking. States practicing economic austerity have seen real job loss. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/the-role-of-austerity/?wpisrc=nl_wonk

pittstatebb 3 years ago

Is there any way to determine how many taxpayers recieve non-W2 Kansas income in large enough amounts to make a difference (I readily acknowledge that I have no ideal what the magic amount would be) in job creation?

I guess I am trying to make a value judgement on this tax exemption based upon how many small business owners it could actually help expand, hire, keep jobs, etc. It would seem that a small business owner would have to have a rather large net to be able to save enough on taxes to hire new employees and am I not correct that captial expansions, salary of new employees are already tax exempt (as this money does not flow through to the owner)?

And how do you quantify the effect this will have on SS and Medicare if this becomes the norm state to state (as this type of income is not subject to SS and Medicare taxes)?

This change to the tax law will directly affect me in a positive way financially, but I am having a hard time justifying it to myself in the terms of fairness. Why should small business owners not be required to pay state income taxes when an employee does? And what are the unintended consequences of this tax change? I have decided that it will not be possible to create enough new jobs to replace the state revenue lost through this move, but what other effects will it have 5 or 10 years down the road.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

KDOR and the IRS would have data on the numbers of businesses paying individual tax rates. I don't have it but have heard Sec. Jordan say that it is a pretty significant number of employers; some are smaller but many are pretty large.

I don't believe it would have any impact on SS or Medicare. Business profits are not subject to those taxes now.

I believe that the tax on non-corporate business profits will be phased out, not eliminated overnight (and that is what KPI recommends as a matter of policy...taxes should be incrementally reduced on all taxpayers and those earning less than $25,000 should not see their liability increase in the process).

This space is a little cramped, so I'm going to start a new thread to respond to the balance of your questions.

tomatogrower 3 years ago

And how do you intend to maintain infrastructure, education and law enforcement? All of these responsibilities will be passed down to local governments, some who have the resources to raise taxes and cover these expenses and others who will have lousy roads and schools, which will make it more difficult to attract business. There is no such thing as a free lunch. As I see it many companies want to come into a community, use their roads, fire protection, police protection, and schools, but they don't want to contribute to paying for these things. I'm not sure I want those kinds of businesses in my community.

tomatogrower 3 years ago

Are these Republicans listening to the people instead of their handlers, like Brownback does? Actually, I agree with the food sales tax being cut out. That helps more people than the others. If you cut a landlord's property tax, he isn't going to lower the rent. He'll just pocket the profit.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years ago

To bad he gets it... if the left gets its way they would take the money from the producer and give it to the non producer. Just another form of income re distribution.

If the landlord was taxed less, this might just put off a rent increase. Never mind, you would never understand.

bad_dog 3 years ago

If the landlord was taxed less, why not reduce rent in addition to postponing an increase?

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

No, I was otherwise engaged for awhile. And the vast majority of our sources are government data. I was simply pointing out that the small business associations have come out in favor of tax reform.

chootspa 3 years ago

No. He took a lunch break. You wouldn't want him to post off the clock, would you? Now you've gone and challenged him to keep nattering at us to prove he's not chicken.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years ago

If Obama wants taxes to be fair, then why do 50% not pay any income taxes.

I am sick and tired of moochers. We have more than our share in Lawrence.

pittstatebb 3 years ago

You do realize that exempting non-wage income will allow many Kansas to not pay any state income tax (or pay greatly reduced amount) while you continue to pay your 6.45%. These mouchers would be doctors, laywers, farmers, et

George Lippencott 3 years ago

Amen. Tax the rich with a more progressive income tax. Reduce dependency on the property tax. Capitalism does not depend on the rich getting all the goodies. The middle invests too, when we let it keep some of what it makes.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

In response to several questions from Tomatogrower...

Any impact on services related to tax reform will be determined by how government chooses to analyze the opportunities. States with lower tax burdens all have schools, highways, etc. but they provide those services more efficiently. Taxes are determined by spending...the more you spend the more you have to tax.

The states with no income tax spent $2,444 per resident in 2010. The rest of the country spent 46% more per resident. Kansas spent $3,216 per resident and would have saved $2.2 billion by providing services at the same cost as states with no income tax. $2.2 billion is nearly all of the individual income tax collections in Kansas.

Kansas needs to go through an exhaustive review of every program and agency to determine which are effective, both functionally and from an efficiency standpoint. Once programs get started in state government, they are rarely reviewed in that manner. They just keep getting funded.

There would also be new revenue coming in. Oklahoma cut its marginal rate several times and seen sales tax revenue increase by letting taxpayers more of their money. Income tax rates would be phased out over a period of years, so new residents attracted and unemployed people put back to work would pay income tax for several years.

There will always be good questions (like yours) and no guarantees but one thing is pretty much for certain: if we keep doing what we've been doing, we can expect to continue to fall farther behind.

chootspa 3 years ago

So how do you propose we get a booming tourism industry and/or huge deposits of oil and other natural resources like so many of those states with no income tax have?

Liberty275 3 years ago

How about a booming cornfield? What would you do with your last $10? Go to DisneyLand, buy some gas or buy food? That's a lousy excuse.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

The secret to having a low tax burden is not access to tourism or oil...it is keeping spending under control.

The states with no income tax spent $2,444 per resident in 2010 (NASBO). The rest of the country spent 46% more. Kansas spent 32% more per resident than those states.

chootspa 3 years ago

Right. It's just very convenient that the majority of those states happen to have high tourism and energy resources they can tax, unlike Kansas, which would be forced to shift the burden to local property taxes.

All states are exactly the same and supplement their state spending with the same amount of federal dollars, right? Oh right, they don't. You're counting the local revenue and spending in that state total too, right? My guess is you aren't. All states also have the same populations which are distributed in the same densities and make the same value judgements about what it's in the best interest of each state to fund, right? Oh right...

The secret to giving misleading info is to leave out the details.

gudpoynt 3 years ago

As I understand it, shifting the tax burden away from a progressive structure (income and property tax) toward a flat structure (sales tax) hurts low income families the most.

A low income family, who is exempt from income tax, would not be exempt from increases in sales taxes, and thus would see their annual tax burden increase, making it that much harder to get their financial footing. Right?

Furthermore, when you consider that "financial footing" is made of savings and investments, flat taxes become regressive the closer you get to the the cost-of-living floor, because excess income approaches zero dollars. Which means there are zero dollars with which to save and/or invest. Which means financial footing becomes that much more difficult.

Contrast that with middle to high income households, who are subject to the same "flattening" of tax rates, yet unlike their lower income counterparts, are NOT further deprived of opportunities to save or invest.

Flattening of the tax structure oftentimes looks like a fair proposal at first. But you have to consider the cost-of-living floor, the opportunities to save and invest excess income above the cost-of-living floor, and how crucial those opportunities are to gaining financial footing and building wealth, to see just how regressive tax flattening can really be.

tomatogrower 3 years ago

Please do not compare Kansas schools with Texas schools. I want quality schools, not Texas schools. Kansas has had plenty of quality, and the only reason it hasn't gone downhill is the dedication of educators who care, despite the total disrespect they get from Topeka. But that won't continue if the state further disrespects them.

chootspa 3 years ago

But buying tons of textbooks that take a razor to Thomas Jefferson is efficient!

JackMcKee 3 years ago

One thing the income tax "cutting" (it's in quotes because it's not actually a tax cut, but a tax shift from rich to middle class/poor that Brownback proposed) crowd has proven, they have no problem lying through their teeth and perverting any statistic available to further their nefarious agenda. The residents of Kansas will not be sold out to ALEC without a fight.

jafs 3 years ago

I really like how DT leaves out the quality of schools, infrastructure, etc. in the states that are spending less.

I'm sure there are possibilities for improvement in efficiency in government, and I'm greatly in favor of those, but I would be just about willing to wager that when the government spends less on schools, etc. the quality of those declines.

JackMcKee 3 years ago

we've been through all of this at least 50 times since Brownback formed his "secret" tax committee. Kansas's demographics and economy are nothing like the states without an income tax and the social services and education systems in the states that are sans income tax are not something that we would want to emulate. Art Laffler and his supply side economic theories have been discredited. It is shameful that Kansas wasted $75,000 on that charlatan's "consulting" services.

Kansas' property taxes are primarily what are out of proportion to other states and that is the area we should focus on cutting. Sales taxes on necessities should be next on the agenda. Shifting the burden of taxation from rich to the middle class and poor is shameful and won't produce the results as promised by Brownback and his dwindling supporters.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

It's perhaps normal to assume so but the data tells a different story.

For example, taxpayer funding of Kansas schools increased from $3.1 billion in 1998 to $5.6 billion last year, yet test scores on national assessments with consistent standards are virtually unchanged.

The states in the region with the best test scores on individual student cohorts (White, Hispanic, Black, Low Income, etc.) actually spend a lot less than Kansas. Colorado has the best score with Whites and spends about $1,200 per pupil less. Texas has the best scores with Hispanics and Blacks (and also better scores than Kansas on Whites) and spends about $1,400 per pupil less than Kansas.

Table 24 of our recent analysis entitled "Removing Barriers to Better Public Education" lists the 20 states with the highest composite test scores. The scores are pretty tightly bunched but spending per-pupil is all over the place. http://www.kansaspolicy.org/researchcenters/education/studies/88528.aspx

There simply is no correlation between achievement and high spending.

George Lippencott 3 years ago

So cut property taxes and raise income taxes to address any resulting shortfall. Tye middle will save more (or spend more) resulting in more money for investment and business expansion.

From where comes the assumption that only cuts to the rich produce both?

jafs 3 years ago

I didn't say there was a correlation between achievement and "high spending", I said that states that spend less probably have lower quality schools and infrastructure.

I'm sorry to say that I just don't trust your data, based on your organization's goals.

And, I've seen other data that seem to contradict it, and support my general feeling, which is pretty common sense.

By the way, what is achievement correlated with, if not spending, in your view?

Even our own SC concluded that KS wasn't spending a sufficient amount on education to fulfill it's constitutional responsibilities.

Texas has dismal data on schools, from what I've seen elsewhere - it has the highest rate of non-completion of high school. Perhaps the poorer performing students simply drop out, which increases the performance level of the remaining group. We certainly wouldn't want that in KS, would we? I'd rather have students stay in school and get an education, personally.

pittstatebb 3 years ago

Dave - should we use ACT, NAEP, TIMMS, or PICA scores to prove or disprove how spending affects outcomes? None of these tests are aligned to the state of Kansas standards (although the ACT is by far the closest but standardized) nor are any of these tests given to every student in the state (the NAEP is the closest but only at 4th and 8th).

It would be nice if we had an assessment that would allow comparisions to not only other states, but also other countries. However, this is not the case. There is no correlation between assessment achievement and higher spending because there is not a reliable test to measure it. I do not include the NAEP because 1) no one really knows what is on that test as it is not given the importance, 2) it is not given to any grades at the high school level, 3) it is not driving curriculum and instruction (which is where we should be spending most of our money).

If these seems like a teaching to the test arguement, then you need to look a little deeper than that. We have to teach something in schools (what we teach is really not as important as how we teach it), but if we are not assessing what we are teaching the assessment is not valid.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

The NAEP results provide the best analysis because the standards have remained consistent since Kansas first participated in 1998. State standards changed to such extent that department policy says no comparisons should be made prior to 2006 (although they do it anyway).

There have been some improvements on the state assessments since 2006 but nowhere near the increase in spending. And you always have to be cautious of results when districts have opportunities to review the results and suggest changes.

NAEP is the gold standard of testing and even KSDE agrees that the results are valid; they said so in their November 1, 2011 press release.

But even if you only want to consider the state assessment, even by KSDE standards only about half of 11th grade students have full comprehension of grade-appropriate material. Parents are given a higher number based on those considered proficient. If you are wondering how both can be true, it's because a student is not required to have full comprehension of grade-appropriate material to Meet Standard in Kansas and be considered proficient.

ebyrdstarr 3 years ago

I'm a little confused about what point you're trying to make here. We shouldn't fund schools because they're not working anyway?

pittstatebb 3 years ago

Dave - the NAEP is not valid for judging whether students are learning what they are taught. I will attempt to explain it again.

States are not teaching the standards tested on the NAEP or vice-versa, the NAEP is not testing what states are teaching (or supposed to be). This may be a failure on the part of the educational system, but it does not change the fact that unitl NAEP is the only test given at EVERY grade level, it is not useful to measure student achievement. I stand by my belief that there is not a current test (and probably never will be) that can be used to judge student achievement long term as it does not matter if standards have stayed consistent, if they are not what is being taught in schools. In fact, this would seem to lend itself to flat achievement levels as you basically have an intelligence test.

This is why Walt is completely off base with Common Core. This is the first attempt in recent memory to produce standards consistent across states AND a testing system that is somewhat consistent (given both SBAC and PARCC).

PS our state assessments are crap, but they are better crap than some states (TX, TN, etc.). I do not care what an analysis of the standards show, what matters is what the test questions actually look like when they show up on the test.

chootspa 3 years ago

Again with the cherry picked data. You were already called out for picking data prior to the Kansas lawsuit finding underfunding and the year after temporary stimulus funds were used in lieue of state funding. I don't trust any of your other statistics. You've proven yourself to use deceptive framing and have lost credibility as a source.

Saying that there's "no correlation" between achievement and spending is dishonest. I notice that you've put in the weasel word "high," so you can dodge the inevitable retort pointing out that spending nothing would achieve low outcomes and therefore is demonstrable correlation between spending and achievement. Saying that spending is not the only factor is the more accurate statement and part of an honest dialog. A dialog I don't think you want to have. You've got an agenda. You're not open to solutions that don't match your ideology.

progressive_thinker 3 years ago

Texas is a poor example of a state to emulate.

Other "big picture" outcomes in Texas are:

Texas ranks 50th among the states [worst in the nation] in percentage of the adult population over 25 without a GED

Texas ranks 43rd among the states in high school graduation rate

Texas is the 4th highest among the states in percent of children living in poverty.

Texas has the highest percentage among the states [worst in the nation] of non elderly women who lack health insurance

Texas ranks 45th among the states in percentage of women who have had a dental visit in the past year.

Texas ranks 50th [worst in the nation] among the states regarding the percentage of women who receive prenatal care in the first trimester.

Texas ranks 49th among the states in terms of women's voter turnout

Texas ranks 6th among the states in terms of the percentage of women living in poverty.

Is this really the vision that you and the ALEC have for Kansas?

tomatogrower 3 years ago

Texas and Kansas have different state assessments. I understand that Texas has dummied down theirs. Not to mention the wide spread cheating that has been documented. Besides, being able to pass a state assessment has nothing to do with education. It just makes politicians and lazy parents happy.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

I was not referring to the Texas state assessment. The results are from NAEP and both states took the same test.

chootspa 3 years ago

I've already seen you cherry pick convenient comparisons from that data. If you make enough comparisons, sooner or later you'll find a few subgroups to support your agenda. I doubt you ran a chi-squared.

deec 3 years ago

"There simply is no correlation between achievement and high spending. " Great! Let's cut all politicians' and corporate executives' salaries 95%. State department heads should make minimum wage. Part time state legislators and lobbyists can work for free.

JackMcKee 3 years ago

ALEC/Brownback are in serious damage control mode right now, as evidenced by a paid shill for ALEC making the rounds on internet message boards. I've never seen anything quite like it before. Dave, how do you feel about significant erosion of your support in the business community? Maybe that should be a canary in the coal mine for your organization.

chootspa 3 years ago

He's posted here before. But we certainly are seeing a lot more of his loving personal touch today than I think we've ever seen in his prior post and runs.

gudpoynt 3 years ago

I find it interesting that these three legislators spoke up about this AND the redistricting business. Could there be a mutiny of moderates afoot in the KS "GOP"?

chootspa 3 years ago

They've been told that they're being ousted by extremists. I'd mutiny against the @#$#$head that was doing that to me.

verity 3 years ago

Many thanks to all those who took the time to do the research and to prove Mr Trabert wrong. Job well done.

I believe that Kansans have seen what the extreme ALEC members---they may like to call themselves conservatives, but they're not, they're radical reactionaries---are trying to do to the state and Kansas will once again return to being moderate and progressive. These extremes have never been the majority, but they have managed to manipulate the system. Now that people have seen what they're up too, we have the push back. Kind of like with the school board and evolution.

chootspa 3 years ago

Please tell me you were educated in a charter school.

pittstatebb 3 years ago

I will state this for the entire forum.

NAEP is only given at the 4th and 8th grade levels. The standards used to write the questions on these tests have not changed (as Dave has correctly pointed out). However, since we also take state assessments at grades 3-8 and HS (with different standards) and the ACT/SAT for many HS students (with different standards), no school in any state is spending an ounce of energy developing curriculum that matches the NAEP. Nor is the NAEP now aligned with the 50 different sets of state standards (and they vary widly). This leaves us basically with a test that may or may not be testing material that is taught in the 4th or 8th grade (for example what I teach in 8th grade in KS may be taught in 6th grade in MO, or vice-versa).

IMO, the NAEP is simply no better than a standardized intelligence test. When we transition to Common Core standards and assessments we will get a little better on assessments. With the exception of 5 states (Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Virgina, and Alaska), the standards taught will be the same at each grade level. Also these 45 states are split between two different groups (SBAC and PARCC) that will be giving the same test (one group the SBAC test and one the PARCC test). We will finally be close to being able to compare education state to state and have a significantly more rigorous test to observe long term growth.

I am making no judgement on whether increased spending in KS has increased student achievement, just as I believe Dave should not be making the arguement that increased spending has NOT increased student achievement. Without using state assessments, there is simply not a valid testing tool to do this. But you can look up the state assessments scores in KS and make your own judgement :)

pittstatebb 3 years ago

I will share what my district did to increase student acheivement on the HS mathematics assessment.

1) Hired a fourth math teacher. 2) Doubled the time that struggeling students spent in a math class (double blocked) to 410 minutes a week. 3) Aligned our curriculum to match the KS mathematics curriculum not what the textbook had in it. 4) Did away with Pre-algebra at the high school level and started almost every student in Algebra I, then Geometry, then Algebra II. I say almost because some of our special education students take Pre-algebra through a resource math class. 5) Tested our brightest kids as freshmen so they never had to worry about state assessments again (our 9th in Geometry).

We started out at a passing rate of 38% the year before we made these changes. We now average about a 90% passage rate and have made standard of excellence 5 years in a row.

I will leave you to make decision if it took more $ to achieve our turn around.

PS: In the past two years, due to budget cuts, we have had to cut 1.5 math teachers at the HS level and 0.5 at the middle school level and undo our double blocks as we transition to a traditional schedule (260 minutes a week instead of 410). How it affects our performance on state assessments? We will find out next year.

nativeson 3 years ago

The majority of property taxes are spent at the local level to fund city and county government. If you want real relief on taxes other than income, focus on your local officials that control most of your property taxes, water, sewer, trash and other rates.

The idea that the state has a surplus to spend is overstated. KPERS is at least $10 billion underfunded. Regardless of what is done with new state employees, the deficit must be funded in some fashion over-and-above employee contributions. The state for the first time in several years is actually scheduled to pay its obligations to school districts and KPERS funding on time from its pooled money investments.

Cutting income taxes at this point is a huge risk. The success of this plan assumes significant growth in population and jobs in the state over the next 5 years. Tax policy is one among a number of economic drivers in the economy. Economists are now very mixed in their opinion about the potential growth in the national economy. If GDP grows at 1-2%, this plan will lower revenues significantly. I am very uncomfortable saying with any certainty that we have robust economic conditions in our near future.

Would you run your household budget in this fashion? Likely not.

Liberty275 3 years ago

Cut budgets, cut property taxes and delete the concept of state income tax. Just-another-Bozo-with-his-hand-out won't like that idea, but I don't care what he likes.

My first year here was shocking, after living my working life in Florida which doesn't feel compelled to tax it's residents because they have a job. I was also surprised to pay tax on food in grocery stores. That is insane.

Before all of you tax-lovers tell me to not let the door hit me, trust me, as soon as the housing market comes back, I'll be heading south. If I wasn't invested in a house, I'd have left 10 years ago.

Michael LoBurgio 3 years ago

A Kansas House tax committee passed a bill in which anyone making more than $250,000 — about 21,000 people — will see a $1,500 cut, according to Kansas Department of Revenue!

The hike would come from the elimination of tax credits for Middle class and Poor!

4getabouit 3 years ago

Let me be the first to pledge one dollar for the "Help Send Liberty275 Back To Florida Fund (HSLBFF). Or, you could just abandon your house here like your fellow buddies in Florida do.

It will be tough but hopefully Kansas can survive without old L275.

JackMcKee 3 years ago

We've hashed and rehashed these points about 18 million times. The Florida sun must have sun dried Liberty's noggin.

William Weissbeck 3 years ago

If these moderates were smart and truly dedicated to service to the state, they would reach across to Democrats and seek to form a third party in Kansas. The Democrats are all but dead by being marginalized and demonized. Because they have so few seats to run in, they don't need to waste much in resources there. But they can help by using those resources to aid the campaigns of like minded souls. Plus it would send a strong signal to the majority moderates in the state, that the moderates are disavowing the extreme positions of the current GOP power structure and will no longer be beholden to them, the extreme gun lobby, the extreme pro-life lobby, the extreme anti-tax lobby, etc. The Populists took over the state in the 1890's. Kansas is in need a of a similar pro-citizen, anti-control freaks revolution.

William Weissbeck 3 years ago

That's what makes libertarians and populists so interesting. Neither trusts the power structure. One believes in the freedom of the individual, the other believes in the wisdom and freedom of the group.

streetman 3 years ago

Could triple the amount spent on our schools -- more teachers, more "necessities" like pools and duplicate HS football stadiums, etc -- not going to make much difference in what is learned and "test scores." The key is personal discipline -- student commitment to learning, and parents who actually take an interest in getting/keeping their children committed. That's the secret to those countries/cultures that beat the US globally on achievement -- in their own countries or within the US.

chootspa 3 years ago

China excludes even non-disabled kids from higher education. Germany has a tiered system as well.

Finns, on the other hand, do offer mainstreamed special ed, and many of the other schools that score higher than us do the same. Claiming that our scores are lower because of our efforts at special ed are an oft-cited claim meant to make us feel better, but it's not entirely accurate.

chootspa 3 years ago

There are actually a lot of "keys." Parental involvement is certainly one of them, but the European countries that do better also have less of a wealth gap. Indeed, when we compare only the wealthiest students, Americans do better than Finns, whether they were educated in a public or private school. Are wealthy parents the only ones who care about education or want their kids to do well? Certainly not.

Jayhawk1958 3 years ago

You mean an entitlement for yourself?

Charles L Bloss Jr 3 years ago

Hell yes I want property tax relief. I am retired and they are trying to tax me out of my home.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

If anyone would like to get together and discuss these issues in person, I will be in Lawrence Monday afternoon. Write to me at Dave.trabert@kansaspolicy.org and we can set a time and place.

chootspa 3 years ago

This is the point, once again, where you whine about how nobody wants to have a discussion with you.

a) You're not our elected representative, so such dialog provides no useful outcomes. b) You're not going to have a road to Damascus moment, and neither are we.
c) You've repeatedly shown yourself incapable of a fully honest dialog on the issues. You leave out context. You cherry pick data. You willfully ignore inconvenient facts. You cite sources with known accuracy problems.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

Not whining at all. Just offering to have an open discussion, which is always more productive than anonymous electronic exchanges.

chootspa 3 years ago

More productive for whom? See points a, b, c.

Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Hightower Report: Workers' Wages Lost to the Boss

A new study by Good Jobs First finds some major loopholes in withholding By Jim Hightower, Fri., April 27, 2012

My congratulations to workers in 16 states – from Maine to Georgia, New Jersey to Colorado! Many of you will be thrilled to know that the income taxes deducted from your paychecks each month are going to a very worthy cause: your corporate boss.

Good Jobs First, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but which instead have created some $700 million a year in corporate welfare. This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe. But rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, these 16 states simply allow the corporations to keep the tax payments for themselves! Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the bosses don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

These heists are rationalized in the name of "job creation," but that's a hoax, too. They're really just bribes the states pay to get corporations to move existing jobs from one state to another, or they're hostage payments to corporations that demand the public's money – or else they'll move their jobs out of state.

Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Mo., to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff! Among the 2,700 corporations cashing in on such absurd diversions of state taxes from public need to private greed are Goldman Sachs, GE, Motorola, and Procter & Gamble.

For more information – and for ways you can help stop this despicable giveaway – get the full report, titled "Paying Taxes to the Boss." It's available at www.goodjobsfirst.org.

Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston joins us to talk about his new book, "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)." Johnston reveals how government subsidies and new regulations have quietly funneled money from the local poor and the local middle class to the rich and politically connected.

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

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