Archive for Monday, January 9, 2012

Big battle expected in Legislature over Brownback’s tax plan

January 9, 2012


Douglas County legislators on Monday provided a preview of what may be one of most contentious debates in the 2012 legislative session — a proposal by Gov. Sam Brownback to decrease the state personal income tax.

Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City, the leading Democrat in the Senate on tax issues, said elimination of the personal income tax, which provides nearly one-half of state budget revenue, will result in increases in local sales and property taxes, shifting the tax burden from the wealthiest Kansans to the middle class.

But Rep. TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, said states that have reduced their state income tax have seen economic growth. She said Boeing Co., which announced its Wichita defense plant closing last week, left Kansas for two states that do not have a state income tax.

Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, however, said Boeing’s decision was unrelated to taxes. Boeing executives said they were closing the plant because of defense budget reductions and a need to reduce costs.

The legislators’ comments came during a Lawrence Chamber of Commerce meeting just hours before the start of the 2012 legislative session. Those legislators attending the chamber event were senators Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Holland, and representatives Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, and Gregory and Mah.

Brownback, a Republican, has said he wants to reduce the state personal income tax, but has not provided details. His office has said he will unveil the tax plan during his State of the State speech on Wednesday.

Brownback and his supporters have argued that Kansas hasn’t kept pace with the economic growth of fast-growing states like Texas and Florida, which have no state income tax.

But Holland argued Texas has oil revenue and Florida, tourism to offset the absence of a state income tax. And, he said, in terms of public school systems and social services, those states “don’t measure up to Kansas. We have a lot of good things in Kansas.”

Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, told the audience that he considered himself a moderate Republican but that the so-called conservative wing of the party controlled the House and lined up behind Brownback.

He said it will be up to a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to provide adequate funding for education and social services.

At the Lawrence chamber meeting, city, county and school district priority statements for the 2012 session were distributed.

The common priority of all three was for Brownback and the Legislature to stop shifting state funding responsibilities to the local level.

The Douglas County statement said: “First, please do everything you can to avoid hurting local governments any more than they are already hurting. Second, when further cuts to state government are proposed, please ask the question whether the proposed cut will merely shift cost to government at the local level.”

Because of state budget cuts over the past three years, the Lawrence school district has cut more than $8.5 million.

“The Lawrence school district has major concerns with the state’s inadequate, pre-2000 levels of funding for public schools and the governor’s proposed new school finance plan, which is also based on these same funding levels,” the district said.

Brownback’s school finance proposal also would eliminate “weightings,” which provide extra funding to cover the cost of educating students who have additional needs, such as learning how to speak English or those at risk of failing. Brownback said the elimination of the weightings will give districts more flexibility in how they allocate resources. But the Lawrence school district administration maintains that the loss of weightings will make it easier for state and local officials to de-emphasize those programs that address those students’ needs.


headdoctor 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow. Someone doesn't understand the tax system mixing property tax with Federal income tax. Yeah those 46% or so retired fixed income geriatric free loaders are such a drag on the system.


Robert Burnham 2 years, 3 months ago

We should be getting rid of personal property tax, who ever heard of such BS...and if you liberals want to fund all these social programs, give more of YOUR money to you realize only 54% of Americans pay taxes...they rest are frigging freeloaders who think work is a dirty word! I've worked hard to get where I am, have been homeless but never took a dime from anyone! I got an education, worked hard and at a point in my life where I can live comfortably, AND I can afford to give to charities of My choice!

8.5 mil from the Lawrence school district...what were they doing with the money before they lost it!!! Plus kids pay to go to school now, where is that money??


Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 3 months ago

If anyone is surprised by this move, I don't know why. The Republican party represents the rich. This is fact. Kansans obviously don't care. They want the rich to be rich. They want a decreasing middle class. They're going to get what they want. It's called democracy.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

"Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City, the leading Democrat in the Senate on tax issues, said elimination of the personal income tax, which provides nearly one-half of state budget revenue, will result in increases in local sales and property taxes, shifting the tax burden from the wealthiest Kansans to the middle class."

So Gov Brownback is increasing taxes! Simple as that.

It is simply stupid to remove the source that supplies half the state budget. He is looking after himself most certainly.


skinny 2 years, 3 months ago

Everyone ought to pay the same amount of taxes period. WE all receive the same services of Police, Fire, use of the roadways etc.…

Just because someone goes out and gets an education then a good job they shouldn’t have to pay more taxes because the guy next door decided not to go to school and instead decided to sit on his behind all day and watch TV!


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