Archive for Monday, February 13, 2012

House GOP tax cut proposal would also cut highway program, transportation officials say

February 13, 2012


Highway projects would be delayed and possibly shelved if a House Republican leadership plan to cut taxes was approved, officials said Monday.

The proposal would divert $351 million from the comprehensive transportation plan, called T-Works, in order to replace revenue lost by the proposed reduction in state income tax rates.

“What it would mean is that we can’t deliver projects when we promised,” said Steve Swartz, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

House Republicans touted their proposal as an alternative to Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax-cutting plan. Brownback, also a Republican, would have reduced income tax rates, but also eliminated standard deductions and made permanent the 6.3 percent state sales tax, which is scheduled to decrease to 5.7 percent next year.

Under the House GOP leadership plan, income tax rates would be reduced, the deductions kept, and the sales tax would fall as scheduled.

But for two years, the House Republican plan would hold back some of the scheduled sales tax transfer to KDOT for the T-Works plan.

Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, and chair of the House Taxation Committee, said of KDOT, “I’m sure they would prefer it not be done,” but added the agency would get its normal funding after two years.

That didn’t placate transportation advocates.

“We’re opposed to changing the way that T-Works was funded in the original legislation,” said Julie Lorenz, chief executive of Economic Lifelines, a coalition of groups that supports T-Works.

Lorenz said such a reduction would result in fewer highway projects getting done.

She also said the plan goes counter to a bi-partisan effort that was recently announced to accelerate $50 million of highway projects to take advantage of low construction prices and spur job growth.

Legislative hearings on the tax proposal are expected to start this week.

Democrats criticized the Republican plan.

“The transportation plan that passed the House in 2010 is the largest jobs package in Kansas history,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence. “It is wrong for House Republicans to propose eliminating those jobs at a time when over 50,000 Kansans are desperate to find work.”

He said Brownback’s plan increased taxes on low-income families, while the House GOP plan would eliminate transportation jobs.

“Both plans make the gap between the rich and the middle class wider,” he said. “We can do better,” he said. Republicans have described their proposals as pro-growth strategies that will help all taxpayers.


ibroke 2 years, 2 months ago

well Brownback inherited a mess from the last administration he has a full plate and is trying hard it will take time to repair the damage and stuff like that


hujiko 2 years, 2 months ago

Can someone please direct me to the part of the article where our fine legislators are creating jobs and bolstering our infrastructure?



tange 2 years, 2 months ago

Eventually, we'll all be stay-at-home mums.


Kendall Simmons 2 years, 2 months ago

Maybe they plan to start a new type of Adopt-a-Highway program? Where groups and families take over responsibility for filling potholes?


Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

"Democrats criticized the Republican plan", and as usual had nothing constructive to add


Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

Repubs never understand that tax cuts cost money. Then again a lot of voters may not understand that.

Voters also should try to understand that putting tax dollars into the workforce:

  1. Brings tax dollars home as it should be

  2. Creates jobs elsewhere in local economies

  3. Creates economic growth

  4. Keeps hard working Americans off unemployment and Social Services which is important after all the BS accusing people of being too damn lazy. So I say let's Kansans back to work at no less than $17.50 per hour so they can pay their bills.

Tax dollars hard at work for the people that provide those tax dollars. Can we say Demand Side Economics for the 99% that keep the wheels turning.


TinmanKC 2 years, 2 months ago

Yeah that's it. Cut the highway construction jobs and give that money to the rich to take another long vacation to Aruba, or Europe, or buy a new Mercedes. Because with their extra money, will they really create more jobs? Why would they? Meanwhile the highways crumble


toe 2 years, 2 months ago

Cutting any government spending is very wise. Until the cost of health care is known, state governments should consider themselves broke.


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