Archive for Monday, April 30, 2012

Tax-cut would lead to state deficits

April 30, 2012, 7:01 a.m. Updated April 30, 2012, 4:21 p.m.


— A tax-cut proposal endorsed by Gov. Sam Brownback remained in conference committee Monday as fiscal forecasts showed the measure would lead to state deficits.

The most up-to-date projection provided by Kansas Legislative Research Department showed deficits starting in 2015 and growing to $161 million by July 1, 2017.

An earlier projection showed the tax cuts would transform a $612 million surplus in the next fiscal year into a $911 million deficit in a little more than five years. But that, officials said, was based on an earlier version of the bill and lower revenue growth projections.

Despite the reduction in the projected deficit, opponents of the proposal said it would still produce huge problems for the state.

“We need to slow this process down,” said Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City, who is the lead Democrat in the Senate on tax issues.

Republicans on the House-Senate tax conference committee had agreed to the bill last week, but on Monday indicated more work needed to be done. The committee is scheduled to meet again today.

Democrats and some Republicans have endorsed a plan to follow current law and allow the state sales tax to decrease from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent next year. They also have supported a plan aimed at providing $180 million in property tax relief over four years.

But Brownback, a Republican, and his supporters want to cut taxes more. Brownback has voiced approval of a plan to decrease income tax rates and phase out the non-wage income tax on nearly 200,000 businesses.

Brownback says the plan will boost the economy. Democrats say it will leave no revenue to adequately fund core services of state government.

According to the most recent projection provided by the Kansas Legislative Research Department, the tax cuts would start producing state budget deficits three years out.

But Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, who is chair of the Senate tax committee, said the proposal, especially the exemption of non-wage business income proposed by Brownback, would jump start the state’s fiscal picture.

“What if the governor’s idea really does work,” Donovan said. “These numbers will be blown away,” he said.

On Friday, Brownback said he believed there would be enough revenue for the state budget. “The numbers look doable,” Brownback said. He said that he and the Legislature must “continue to be aggressive in holding our costs down.”

But Holland said there is no evidence to indicate the tax cuts will increase jobs and business activity.

Under the proposal, the three state income tax rates of 3.5 percent, 6.25 percent and 6.45 percent would be collapsed into two rates of 3 percent and 4.9 percent. The business tax elimination would be phased in over four years.

On Monday, both Donovan and House tax chair Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, proposed ideas that would lengthen the phaseout of the business tax or temporarily set the top personal income tax rate at 5.1 percent as ways to reduce the projected budget deficits.

Democrats and some Republicans also have criticized the plan because it would eliminate or reduce several tax credits aimed at helping low-income Kansans. The measure would remove renters from the homestead property tax refund; repeal tax credits for child care and dependent care; and taxpayers who qualify for both the Earned Income Tax Credit and food sales tax rebate credit could only receive one of those credits.


Grump 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm surprised Brownback doesn't order Kansas Legislative Research Department to write a estimate showing numbers he likes better.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

I won't be surprised if he moves to de-fund them.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

what is scary, is the revised numbers might just be that.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

Heck, I thought it was stupid when Bill Graves cut taxes back in the 90s. I knew then that we'd end up in a hole. Now we're even deeper in the hole and Brownback wants to keep digging. It's madness. If we really do have some money sitting around, how about using that as a reserve fund, or investing it in crumbling Regents infrastructure, or restore K-12 funding, or rail, or something useful? Heck, use it to clean out some of our silting-in reservoirs.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 5 months ago

+1. It was all the rage. The city reduced taxes back then, too.

hyperinflate 5 years, 5 months ago

Negative (a.k.a. below zero, or "down below") is clearly the territory of Satan, so any report that shows a negative number is the work of the devil and must be dismissed.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Lets see, since almost half the people don't pay any income taxes....well... If everyone participated then the non-producers would not cost the producers near as much.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

I keep hearing this statement and have a difficult time believing it. The only time I haven't paid income tax was when I was a student and my annual income was under $3000 per year. I think the floor for income tax at the time was $9000. You really want folks with that little income to have to pay more tax? They already have to pay SS and sales tax.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

You have a difficult time believing it, because you're good at sniffing out lies.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, but this is NOT income tax. There is a difference

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

the difference is you don't count the taxes the poor, elderly and even children pay, because it creams your argument and doesn't make you "feel" righteous. Sure reality doesn't jibe with your prejudice, Well too bad. You are a bit weird crying about federal income taxes on a state income tax and state deficit conversation. Cry your lie.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

You're telling me that half the people don't buy food or anything else in this state? Sales tax. Half the people don't live on property in this state? Property tax - either directly or to the landlord.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

Apparently, that's somehow different. I guess the only tax that counts is income tax levied on The People Who Really Matter®.

Alyosha 5 years, 5 months ago

If you can't provide a citation to back up your claim that "almost half the people don't pay any income taxes" you're poisoning the well of public discourse. Why are you injecting dis- and misinformation into a public debate?

Also, you provide no definition for "producer" and "non-producers" in your comment. Why not use the term "citizen" instead?

Lastly, what exactly do you mean by "participated"? If everyone participated in what? the economy? Paying taxes? Voting? Try to provide all the information your readers need to fully see what you mean.

gudpoynt 5 years, 5 months ago

Good point both_ways, because if those who pay income tax would just stop paying for services for those stuck on the lowest rungs of the income ladder, then the world will be a better place, right?

Can't see past your own 1040, can you?

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh, I think he understands very well that it will lead to lower revenue. He's forcing spending cuts because that's his intent all along. He'll use it as an excuse to plunder retirement accounts and cut spending on social programs.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

So much for his promise to "protect" education and social service funding, huh?

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

He'll argue that pruning makes a tree stronger. And then he'll pull out the chain saw.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

He is cutting the trees down and donating the lumber to billionaires because , we all know give a million to a billionaire and he puts it into his mattress. After a while the guy needs another mattress and there is a job, hiring someone to haul the mattress into one of the guy's homes.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Please tell me you're not the fruit of a public education system.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

It's impossible to tell what you mean from anything you post. It's all a bunch of incoherent garbage peppered with nonsensical quotes and elipses. I can't tell if you just lack any sort of grammatical sense or if you're mentally ill and think what you've posted says something different from reality. Granted, the two ideas aren't mutually exclusive. I hope that you get help of whatever sort that will get you to a point of clarity.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

He's the one who made that promise, then reneged on it.

Shows a lack of integrity and honesty on his part.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

Once again we are presented with a statist (Mr. Rothschild) who proceeds on the tired old assumption that tax money belongs to the government, not the people who worked for it and earned it. All he has to do is insert the simple line: "if current spending levels are not reduced" then the surplus he speaks of will be threatened by the tyranny of simple math he describes.

He doesn't insert this line because he also proceeds on a second very common statist presumption that all state spending is utterly essential and we cannot get by without a penny of it. Wasteful government spending is as certain as the sunrise as he well knows. He omits this truism for the obvious reason that the gloom and doom premise of his entire piece collapses were he to caveat his story with any mention of the spending cuts it would take to preserve the budget surplus.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

And your list of obviously wasteful spending at the state level in KS, and what you would cut, is?

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

Redefine "core service." Lead with the philosophy that if the state-provided product or service is outside the legislative, judicial, or law enforcement function, that serious thought be given to either ending state funding for the service, or privatizing it. How about limit the state budget growth to the rate of inflation +1% How about metrics showing a return on investment for K-12 education. Close / consolidate failing schools. Same goes for ALL state agencies. They show a return on investment and PROVE the private sector cannot perform the same function, or they are eliminated. For example, privatize the operation of state parks. Audit toll-free telephone numbers. Elimate the one's not used enough to justify the cost. Sell (or at least long-term lease) state-owned land and unused buildings. Audit office supply expeditures and contract with a national retail supplier, same goes for all other procurment. Do away with the federal Dept. of Education and keep the money KS sends to DC right here in KS. Invetigate and eliminate illegal aliens from welfare/unemployment roles. Require drug testing of everyone else on unemployment and welfare. End state-provided cars/trucks. End state-provided cell phones. Reinvent how the state provides Human Services. The list is much longer. The state should hire an auditing firm, define what "waste" means, and then tell them they can have all the waste they can find.

Hal Larsen 5 years, 5 months ago

We would that, but sorry, its been cut from the budget.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

There are perhaps one or two items on your list I could agree with.

But, government is not supposed to provide a "return on investment" - that's private sector thinking.

Government is supposed to provide services, and operate as a non-profit organization does.

And, as we privatize various functions, we lose something - for example, if "state" parks became privatized, we might lose easy and inexpensive access to them.

Also, of course, the state of KS can't do anything like "do away with the Federal Dept. of Education" - that's outside of it's authority.

Closing failing/under-performing schools leaves the children in them what options for education? Unless there are a lot of better quality public schools with lots of empty spaces (very unlikely), where will they go to school?

But, we could save a bunch of money by eliminating most of the state government functions outside of the things you like - I just think that would be a rather drastic mistake.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

Government takes money from the people who work and earn it and you say they shouldn't expect that money to provide a return on investment? I'll not put words in your mouth Jafs, but whatever the government is doing with the money, the government OWES the taxpayers a service that is being done as economically as possible. For functions outside of legislative, judicial, and law enforcement, the inherent nature of governmental bureaucracy prevents it from providing a service better, faster, and cheaper than the private sector. In those instances, the state has a duty to get out of that business and allow the better, faster, cheaper private alternative to provide it. For example, if tax dollars sent to XYZ public school are not achieving the academic standard, then parents should be allowed to take those tax dollars and spend them on a private school for their children. Afterall, the money belongs to them. They worked for it. They earned it - not the state.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

That's what I said - it exists to provide services, not a "return on investment", like an investment in a stock does.

It should be done economically, but it should also be done in alignment with the ideals of government services.

Your assertion is not founded on anything - there are some inefficiencies in government bureaucracies, but also in private ones. And, in addition, private companies need to make a profit, which the government doesn't need to do.

If we take that argument about school funding to it's logical conclusion, there wouldn't be enough funding to provide education to those that can't afford private schools.

Then public education wouldn't be living up to the idea behind it.

Also, of course, there are a myriad number of factors that affect school performance - it's a bit simplistic to only consider public funding.

I don't have any kids in public schools, and it's virtually certain I won't have any in them - should I be able to opt out of paying those taxes?

I don't agree with much of how our military budget is spent - can I get a voucher for those taxes?

The whole idea of taxes is that we pay into a pool, and then decisions are made that reflect a combination of priorities and values.

That's the difference between that system and just spending your own money on what you want to spend it on.

esteshawk 5 years, 5 months ago

You don't seem to understand why we formed governments and why they exist. Not everything can be handled through 'free market' (which is not free at all but very much rigged to skew wealth into fewer and fewer hands).

Mike1949 5 years, 5 months ago

Just heard in the news that he is cutting keepers, there goes our retirement fund. Before we can get brownback out of office, he is going to strip all of Kansans (the 85% that actually works for a living) of all their money to give to his millionaire friends.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Maybe if we had spent more time in school covering Dickens novels, people like you wouldn't keep insisting on reenacting them.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

I did know that, actually. It's a sick world that makes a twelve year old boy work in a factory because his father has bad debts.

Alyosha 5 years, 5 months ago

TL/DR for above comment: "I'm outraged the reporter doesn't repeat my ideological talking points."

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

So if election results are the sole basis for the viability of political perspectives, what office do you hold?

I'm a Democrat and I care about debt whether it be incurred by social programs, waging war or corporate welfare. It doesn't matter to me where the waste originates, everything should be scrutinized and addressed accordingly.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

When did Republicans stop caring about it?

Alyosha 5 years, 5 months ago

Laughably misguided comment and ridiculously inaccurate conclusion that "Democrats are law breakers."

Your partisan nature is showing.

Brian Laird 5 years, 5 months ago

It is true that a budget resolution cannot be filibustered; however, a budget resolution is just a blueprint and has no force of law. Spending bills to implement the budget resolution can be fillibustered and in the present climate would require 60 votes to pass. What point is there in passing a resolution that has no chance of being implemented?

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 5 months ago

When did Republicans start increasing debt? I thought that was only a Democrat thing.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

So, not only should we flush a $612 million surplus down the toilet, but we should put the state nearly $300 million in the hole for good measure. Yup, fiscal conservatism at its finest.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

You make the same mistake the author does. You fail to preface your comment with" "if current spending isn't reduced." Whatever may be flushed down the toilet will NOT be as a result of people who work and earn it keeping more of what is theirs. It will be caused by the state making the conscious choice to spend more than it receives in revenue. Demagoguery is not a substitute for rational thought. Wise up.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

Don't let my stance on social issues fool you, I'm all for fiscally conservative government. That being said, all I've heard from Topeka since late 2010 is "we're broke" yet, now that we've managed to build up a surplus, somehow it's wise to flush it down the toilet so a handful of people can avoid paying income taxes. How does that square, exactly? Wouldn't it be wiser to keep that money on-hand to use when absolutely necessary?

Also, if our goal is to reduce spending, how does it make sense to hire an auditing firm and drug test welfare recipients (ask Florida how the latter worked out)? Perhaps the "Office of the Repealer" Brownback created - while reducing the size of government, of course - could be used to root out inefficiencies.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, how does this "we're broke" mantra have any validity at all, given large projected surpluses?

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

I should also ask - while the government is gutting the areas you listed above, where are the laid-off employees going to work? Where is this myriad of private companies tripping over themselves to set up shop in Kansas?

Shelley Bock 5 years, 5 months ago

Brownback's plan is to reduce revenue, then expenditures for the common good will drop because there won't be money. Reductions for education will reduce the quality of the schools and force movement to vouchers. Marginal expenditures will be the incentive for further privatization of State functions.

Reduce income and State government will go away is their plan. Brownbaks's friends will support this propaganda with their money. Let the middle class think that they're in the middle while dropping dropping into poverty. The masses will still vote Republican because Brownback types promise lower income taxes while increasing costs for the middle and lower classes, jobs that never materialize, guns, no gays, and no abortion. That is until the day the majority wakes up and is shocked at what happened.

The pendulum swings hard when it goes to an extreme.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 5 months ago

+1. Good points, but this has worked before. It may work again if the Gov can fool enough Sheeple for long enough 33% of Kansas can't be wrong, eh?

question4u 5 years, 5 months ago

The Kansas Legislative Research Department is a non-partisan agency that has existed since the 1930s. This agency has made the calculations. Tom Holland merely repeated the agency's conclusions.

The response to this non-partisan study should be a non-partisan call for caution. Instead, we are reminded once again that partisanship trumps common sense for some Kansans.

I hope that Tom Holland quotes Newton's law of universal gravitation sometime. It would be fun to see a bunch of Kansans afraid that if they step outside they might float away.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Tom Holland garners his voter base from those who are dependent upon the system and those who don't have any desire to work. Spreading hate and discontent about those who do actually work and produce, and then, in turn, demanding that the producers pay more so the non-producers can have a better life. I call BS on this. If you can't afford whatever it is that you want or need, why not just take it out of the pockets of those who actually worked for it or can.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

"Tom Holland garners his voter base from those who are dependent upon the system and those who don't have any desire to work."


Shelley Bock 5 years, 5 months ago

I would like to know what percentage of Kansans receive welfare benefits. Not, parents with dependent children, not disabled persons, but those who are persistently jobless, not simply unemployed. Is this 5% of the population or less?

coloradoan 5 years, 5 months ago

Try looking at the Kansas tax code - the tax exemptions and credits for the most profitable industries is amazing. Is that welfare?

Phillbert 5 years, 5 months ago

Surprising that even after they bumped the numbers they still get deficits. And when these deficits happen, we'll be told it is because we didn't cut taxes on businesses and the wealthy enough, so we must make even more cuts to schools, roads, health care, prison guards, etc. Plus we'll be told there's no choice but to raise taxes on poor people even more than this plan already will, and raise local property taxes when all the state cuts "trickle down" to the cities.

Deficits aren't a side effect of Republican policies, they're the intended outcome.

Pete Nachbar 5 years, 5 months ago

WHY DO STATE DEFICITS GO UP WITH TAX CUTS AND NOT FEDERAL DEFICITS ? Do you mean the Trickle Down , Supply Side Theory is a fraud ?

You have got to be kidding me !!!! I am shocked
The Reagan and Bush Tax Cuts did not help raise the Deficit ?

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

tax cuts lead to greater deficit, greater deficit will be met with more, cuts in service, cuts to education and destruction or sell off of state infrastructure, A rocket scientist could spell the trouble in Kochland economics but don't you know, Kochland is a matter of faith and the buck doesn't stop at the governor's office, it on the shuttle to the brothers.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

The problem with conservativism is that it focuses exclusively on individual rights and not at all on social obligations. Man hasn't been absolutely free and without obligations to his fellow man since he recognized the advantages of cooperation and agreed to the social contract.

The money you make is made within a system, and the system has to be maintained or you will stop making money. If, for example, the roads aren't maintained, then paying customers can't get to your business. Similarly, if future customers aren't sufficiently educated, then they won't have good jobs and money to spend at your business.

Conservatives are too short-sighted to see (or, at least, admit) any of this. They cry "mine, mine" like petulant children who have yet to learn the value of cooperation or that their success wasn't acheived in a vacuum without the contributions of others.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't think you're talking about real conservatives, but the extreme who call themselves conservatives.

Other than that, you're right on. It's been amazing to me, both in the work place and in my personal life how much more people can get done when they cooperate and how much more pleasant life is in general. I've also observed how badly things go when people don't cooperate and are only in it for themselves. Nobody wins.

Unfortunately, all it takes is one person to screw the whole thing up, but hardly ever can one person fix it.

akuna 5 years, 5 months ago

I've always said that Republicans are like teenagers that get to throw really great parties. Democrats are the parents that have to clean up the mess.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 5 months ago

The GOP is good for two things...

1) slash and burn of budgets.

2) imposing their Taliban style morality on everyone else while claiming to be for limited government.


Shelley Bock 5 years, 5 months ago

Remember that Bush said he didn't care about Bin Laden. He was tracked down when George II couldn't or didn't want it. Best for him to have the bogey man running loose so Bush could continue to spend on his military adventures.

gudpoynt 5 years, 5 months ago

Whenever I need an onomatopoeia for the vacating of foul bodily fluids, I turn to the musing of the great FalseHope. He never let's me down.

akuna 5 years, 5 months ago

lol Seriously, False. You can't even give Obama credit for getting Osama? I guess he needed to stand on an aircraft carrier with a Mission Accomplished sign for you to believe

Shelley Bock 5 years, 5 months ago

Cerner is locating in the Legends because KCK-Wyandotte County extended $200 million worth of bonds to build "Livegood Sporting KC" stadium. Since Cerner owners are also the owners of Sporting KC soccer team, they wanted to locate near the club and their activities.

Oh, wait a minute, that's not the type of investment Sam likes. If it weren't for all of those "blue voters" in KCK, The Legends wouldn't be such a positive economic development. They invested where Sam doesn't want to do so. Now, he's taking the credit for it? Garbage!

I didn't stand for him on opening night last June 8th at the Sporting game and would never do that anytime in the future. Where have the "red voters" made similar investments in their community or State? (And don't say with their "tax dollars" already paid.)

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

I have a better shot at POTUS than Sammy.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

Boy, that was fast! No worries, though. Now they're projecting "only" a $160 million shortfall by 2018.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

Demagoguery is not a substitute for rational thought. Tax cuts do not cause budget deficits. The state spending more than it receives in revenue does. Those who disagree must then assume every penny of current spending is essential. Common sense says it isn't.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

Except that we're already underfunding state services, which helps explain why companies don't want to locate here. Companies need healthy, well-educated employees who can reliably get to and from work.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

Like I said, you have to believe every penny of current government spending is essential. Nonetheless, it is spending that creates deficits, not the tax cuts. Taking your inference as an example, lets say everyone agrees that government function XYZ is utterly essential and the majority of citizens believe the state should fund the service. Government taking money out of the economy in taxes and then spending it to create and operate a service that is already available in the economy is an incredibly inefficient use of the money. The same tax dollar would go much further in the private economy. The state should contract the service instead of growing the government and expanding the state payroll.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

The combination of revenue and spending is what causes deficits, or a balanced budget, or surpluses.

I still await your proof that the private sector is inherently more efficient than the government, and would provide analogous services.

How did that work out when we contracted our military services to Halliburton, etc.? Didn't seem so great to me.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 5 months ago

Government is not inherently inefficient nor is the private sector inherently efficient. They are both good at some things and lousy at others. Funny thing is those things tend to be different for each.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Actually, some of us think we could stand to spend a little more. Common sense says that forcing cuts by removing the revenue rather than examining the level of need is putting the cart before the horse. Also shooting yourself in the foot and many other cliches.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 5 months ago

"Demagoguery is not a substitute for rational thought. " === I agree on that point, and there are demagogues on the left and right. I hope you run for office, get elected and straighten this out; it doesn't appear any of those there now can do it. The essence of the problem: 90%+ of government is education, social services, and fixed expenses, which probably accounts for how hard it is to really cut spending, even for those who rage against it and wait for their 'gummint checks.' I'll vote for you.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Paul. I have no problem with the government providing so-called "core" services to the citizens. What I have a problem with is poor performance. If the majority of citizens want the state to provide something, then the politicians need to demand performance for the tax money being spent. For example, per-student spending in public schools has steadily risen over the last 40 years, yet virtually every measure of academic performance has steadily declined over the same period. Everyone agrees children need to get a good education, yet the facts say government is getting progressively worse at delivering it. I'm not for doing away with public schools, I'm for doing away with the politicians, school board members, tenured teachers and their union reps that are responsible for this decline, and finding people who understand how to reverse this trend and re-establish the standards we all expect. Part of the solution is giving parents the choice to vote with their feet and take their tax money with them. Competition works every time it is tried.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Education is more complex than you make it sound.

In order for children to succeed academically, they need educated and involved parents, a healthy diet, lower stress levels, etc. in addition to good teachers.

Teachers can't do it all, and to conclude that they are solely responsible for outcomes is silly.

Having said that, I would like to ensure that we are providing kids with good teachers, classrooms, etc. and I'd be glad to hold the school system accountable for what it delivers, but it's rather difficult to sort that out.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

I keep forgeting to caveat the obvious things Jafs.

Hows this: For education things tax money is being spent on / can influence, government owes tax payers improved performance and/or alternatives for parents.

No where did I imply education is a simple proposition, nor did I overlook the fact a lot depends on the child's parents and home life. For example, if you come from a single parent home, are teenage, female, black, and are a single parent to a young child yourself, the odds of you graduating HS, and going on to a rewarding job with good pay and benefits are very low. The odds of you becoming a burden on the taxpayer are very high. If the single parent rasing you is on government assistance too, then the odds of you going this route go up an order of magnitude.

No amount of spending on "education" can change those odds. If students like the one in my example do poorly on tests or drop out of HS. That shouldn't be blamed on the school.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Then how do you evaluate the performance level of the school?

The whole idea of public education is education for all, not just the rich and fortunate.

The student you mention is exactly the one that shouldn't fall through the cracks, since they don't have any good alternatives - rich white folks can always go to private schools.

If you cull out performance by socioeconomic levels, people have posted data showing that public schools perform equally well, if not better, than analogous private schools.

Much of the improved performance at private schools comes from their ability to choose their students.

The question then would become, how can we do a better job with the difficult kids, like the ones you mention? And, I suggest that it's not the school's job, alone, to do that. In order to do that, we need other social programs to help families and parents.

But, of course, those social programs are usually opposed by conservatives and libertarians.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Also, even in the best possible idealized version of free markets, competition only provides goods and services that people want at a price they're willing to pay.

You should note that there's nothing in there about the inherent quality of those goods and services.

So, if a conservative Christian parent wants their children to be educated in such a way as to confirm their own biases, regardless of the truth, a school will spring up to provide that for them.

Or, you could do it with the liberal side as well - the point's the same.

That's not what I want from our educational system - a hodgepodge of schools, all of which offer different educations to children.

I want all children in this country to get a decent basic (at least) education, and one which is not controlled by the desires of the parents as consumers.

pittstatebb 5 years, 5 months ago

Please share these measures of decline in education performance. Please do not imply that flat growth is a decline because more money was spent to achieve said result. Please do NOT use any NAEP, TIMMS, PICA, SAT, ACT test scores to prove your point of negative growth. Please find an assessment tool that is consistent, measures what is being taught, is given yearly, and is given to across a wide spectrum of students (both in age and location).

PS: This measurement tool does not exist (unless you use a state's state assessments - which in Kansas will show positive growth since 2006).

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

While he/she is at it, let's see some proof that firing everyone with any experience in education is going to make students somehow learn more.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

That's how they do it in the private sector, you know. When a CEO runs his or her company into the ground, the board fires that individual immediately, never provides any sort of bonus or golden parachute, and hires a replacement with little to no business experience at a fraction of the cost. Oh, wait...

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

What's wrong with sat and act tests as a measure of performance?

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

SAT and ACT tests are theoretically college aptitude tests, not high school performance tests. They're voluntary, so they don't measure every student. Because some states require one test over the other, they also have some selection bias based on the aspirations of the students. In Kansas the SAT tests would tend to be higher because students taking that test think they've got a shot at going to an out of state school with selective admissions.

So if your intent is to measure whether or not students who intend to attend college do well on tests, the answer is already yes.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Well, isn't the goal of high school education to give students a good enough education so that they can attend college if they want to do so?

And, even if they're voluntary, the students who take them perform at a certain level, which may change from year to year.

Not sure why that would skew the results.

And, given that there's a wide range of SAT scores among students that take them, not all of those students "do well" on tests.

I realize they're not perfect, but I think they're the best we've got right now - they're standardized tests, and they measure what ought to be learned in high school (if that's not true, please explain why not).

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Also, there are other performance metrics, I would think.

Grade distributions - ie. how many kids are getting A's, B's, C's or how many are passing/failing?

What percentage are taking the SAT/ACT tests?

And probably more.

I just think it doesn't make sense to say we have no way to measure how well the schools are doing, and throw up our hands. We need to evaluate that, and do it intelligently, so we can decide whether they're doing the job we want them to do, and if they're not, how to improve them.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 5 months ago

All of this is fine and dandy, but I read no mention on creating jobs.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 5 months ago

I say we privitize all public services for the rich. Let them fund their own police and fire so we can reduce taxes for the 99%ers. They already pay for their own private schools, recreation, and entertainment. Their kids already play in private sports programs, not local government programs. Maybe the rich can participate in a co-op for water and sewer.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 5 months ago

+1. Not a bad idea. I think we should have a "No-taxachussetts" state where they can move and keep all their money. On Mondays their mechanics can work on the fire trucks and ambulances; on Tuesdays, their gardeners can work on the parks and roadsides; on Wednesdays, they can send their children to meetings to develop a private utility system, etc., etc......

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Worker's taxes siphoned off by their bosses

Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Posted by Jim Hightower

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 non-profit, non-partisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but 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, Missouri, 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, entitled "Paying Taxes to the Boss." It's available at

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