Archive for Sunday, March 11, 2012

Capitol Briefing: Major tax debate on tap; voucher bill in play; seniors on the hook to fish, hunt

March 11, 2012


House to debate major tax bill

Debate is scheduled for Monday on a sweeping change in Kansas tax policy that is being pushed by House Republican leaders.

The proposal would reduce state income tax rates, eliminate taxes on nonwage business income and limit growth in state budget revenue to no more than two percent per year.

It would also decrease the Earned Income Tax Credit and increase the standard deduction for heads of household.

House Republican leaders say the proposal will spur economic development.

But revenue estimates show that the plan would hike tax rates for the lowest income earners in Kansas. And the GOP plan has also been criticized for delaying fund transfers to the highway program.

Democrats and some Republicans have also said the two percent cap on budget growth is unrealistic because of increasing funding needs after years of budget cuts that were made during the recession.

Voucher type bill to receive vote

A bill that would set up a type of voucher system for private and parochial schools will probably be voted on this week in the House Education Budget Committee.

State Rep. Clay Aurand, R-Courtland, said his measure, House Bill 2767, would give parents more choices in finding schools that best fit the educational needs of their children.

It was supported in committee by Bob Voboril, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wichita.

“Tax dollars already follow children to religious day care centers, religious preschools, religious colleges, religious hospitals, religious charitable organizations and religious nursing homes, following a principle that assistance is given to those who need it most, not according to whether the institution is owned by the government,” Voboril said.

The measure is opposed by the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, the Kansas Association of School Boards and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

“You are asking taxpayers to subsidize religious schools,” said Vickie Sandell Stangl of the Great Plains chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The bill would give taxpayers a 90 percent tax credit for contributions made to an organization that would provide scholarships for students to attend private or parochial schools. The measure would be limited to providing scholarships to students from low-income families who attend school in a group of 18 school districts that have a large number of at-risk students.

Senior hunting/fishing license headed to Senate

A Senate committee has approved legislation that would remove the hunting and fishing license exemptions for persons 65-years-old and older.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism says it needs to generate some revenue to take care of upkeep at the parks.

Under the proposal, seniors would have two options. They could buy a lifetime combination senior hunting and fishing license, which is proposed to be $40. The second option would allow seniors to purchase an annual hunting, fishing or combination license at half-price. Currently, that would be $9 each for a hunting or fishing license, or $18 for a combination license.

Quote of the week

“Quiet family homes have become weekend party palaces.”

— Arly Allen with the Centennial Neighborhood Association to the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee in testimony on Senate Bill 400, which would help the city of Lawrence enforce its ordinance regulating how many unrelated people can live in a single-family home.

What’s next:

• 11 a.m. Monday — Final action in House on House Bill 2353, allowing concealed carry in public buildings. Post-secondary schools, hospitals and nursing homes are exempt from the measure.

• 3:30 p.m. Monday — Hearing before House Education Budget Committee on House Bill 2773, authorizing expenditure of unencumbered balances held by school districts; reducing local option budget authority, room 159-South, Capitol.

• 10 a.m. Tuesday — Kansas State Board of Education monthly meeting, 120 SE 10th.

• 1:30 p.m. Wednesday — Kansas Board of Regents monthly meeting, Curtis State Office Building, Suite 520.

• 9 a.m. Thursday — Kansas Board of Regents monthly meeting, Curtis State Office Building, Suite 520.

• 1:30 p.m. Thursday — Informational hearing on death penalty before House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, room 144-South, Capitol.

• 1:30 p.m. Thursday — Hearing on Senate Resolution 1831, requesting Gov. Sam Brownback delay the implementation of KanCare, room 546-South, Capitol.


JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

House Republican leaders say their plan will result in economic development. I say their true plans will result in living conditions like Afganistan had under the Taliban.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

The dichotomy is interesting. They want government to be kept separate from religion in terms of banning funding for birth control. But they want government to underwrite religious training even if it undermines public education. I believe Jesus condemned the hypocrites.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 1 month ago

If the state needs revenue...then why don't they cut welfare checks? Think I am going to run for office.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 1 month ago

In other words, they want to increase taxes on the poor to provide a giant tax break to the rich.

Love it.

raingarden 6 years, 1 month ago

Jayhawkfan1985 hasn't done his homework. Nor has Mr. Rothschild. The bill is not a voucher bill -- the bill actually deals with tax credits. No public monies will go to parochial schools. Parents who choose to enroll children in charter or parochial schools will actually have a choice to educate their children as they see fit. The uneducated, like Jayhawkfan1985, would do well to learn the difference between vouchers and tax credits. Parents are wising up and demanding that they control their children's educational progress. This bill is a step in the right direction to allow parents to do just that. There is no attempt to "underwrite religious training" -- that's absurd. And "Eride" is misguided, too. There is no "giant tax break for the rich" here -- the bill concerns at-risk students who meet certain criteria. They receive scholarships funded by organizations that receive tax credits for making contributions to these scholarships.

Get the facts, folks. And quit creating roadblocks for parents who seek better alternatives for their own children.

texburgh 6 years, 1 month ago

These tax credits are indeed vouchers - this ALEC designed bill is intended to skirt court rulings on tax dollars going directly to religious institutions. The wealthy individual gives to a non religious charity and gets a 90% tax credit (not a deduction mind you, a credit) and the charity provides a "scholarship" to a religious institution for some child - a child probably designated by the contributor. "A rose by any other name..." And it is indeed a tax break for the wealthy - who has money to be tossing at these granting charities after all? If you have money to give some kid a scholarship, give him a scholarship but don't demand a tax credit to do it.

Of course, the same legislators who support this also support the elimination of the income tax - they give with one hand and take away with the other. Hypocrites all.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago


But, the result is the same - less tax revenue for public schools, while those who give money to private schools get a tax break. So, in essence, it's the same - money that would otherwise have gone to the public school system goes to private schools.

The giant tax breaks for the rich are in a different part of the article - it's quite clear that these tax policies help the well-off and hurt the less fortunate, by lowering taxes for those with money, and raising taxes for those with little money.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't recall writing about vouchers or tax credits. I was commenting on the hypocrisy of the GOP. On the one hand, the GOP argues against hospitals owned by churches from being required to provide health insurance that covers birth control. The crux of their argument is religious freedom. I fail to see that as church employees are exempted from that already. On the other hand, the GOP Argues in favor of establishing a voucher system that could take money out of public schools and thereby underwrite the costs of religious education. Make no mistake that If catholic hospitals are part of the catholic church then catholic schools are part of the catholic church too. The same would be true about Mormon schools and Islamic schools too. By diverting funding from public education, we will undermine public schools. That is wrong. As for me, I have two sons who I send to Raintree Montessori school. If you want your kids to attend private schools, pay for it yourself or seek scholarship/aid.

Also, why do you think I'm uninformed based on my comment. Maybe you should reread it with an open mind. Or, were you home schooled?

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 1 month ago

Brownbacks tax cuts = Class Warfare To compensate for these reductions in income taxes, the Governor’s plan eliminates itemized deductions (including home mortgage interest and charitable contributions). It eliminates incentives for 529 education savings programs and long-term care insurance premiums. It eliminates the refund for sales tax on food for low-income Kansans. I also understand it eliminates part of the Homestead property tax refund.

The plan also eliminates tax credits for: * Adoption * Alternative fuel tax * Assistive technology contribution * Child and dependent care * Child day care assistance * Community service contribution * Disabled access * Earned income (EITC) * Environmental compliance * Historic preservation * Individual development account * National Guard employer health insurance * Small employer health benefit plan * Temporary assistance to families contribution * and more.

It appears that this plan moves the tax burden from the richest Kansans to the middle class and poorest Kansans. For example, sales tax is the most regressive tax we have. Making the 1% sales tax increase permanent not only reneges on our promise to remove the sales tax increase, it puts a disproportionate burden on low-income families. Removing the refund for sales tax on food and the Earned Income Tax Credit is a double whammy for the poorest working Kansans. In fact, President Ronald Reagan once said the Earned Income Tax Credit was “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.”

Eliminating the deduction for home mortgage discourages home purchases for the middle class. Cutting the upper marginal income tax rate benefits the richest Kansans the most. Low-income Kansans can buy a Big Mac with their income tax cut while the folks at the top can buy a yacht with theirs. Not only that, when the income tax is eliminated altogether, there will only be sales and property taxes left to pay the bills.

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 1 month ago

Robin Hood in Reverse: Kansas Bill Raises Taxes On The Poor While Cutting Them For The Rich

A Kansas House tax committee passed a bill in which anyone making less than $25,000 a year — roughly half a million of the state’s 2.9 million residents — will pay an average of $72 more in taxes, while those making more than $250,000 — about 21,000 people — will see a $1,500 cut, according to Kansas Department of Revenue estimates cited by the Kansas City Star.

The hike would come from the elimination of tax credits typically benefitting the poor.

usnsnp 6 years, 1 month ago

And the money for theis tax credits would be removed from the money that the state provides to school districts, and would also lower the amout of taxes that would be payed by people sending their children to charter or religious schools.

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 1 month ago

President Ronald Reagan once said the Earned Income Tax Credit was “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.”

House Republican leaders It would also decrease the Earned Income Tax Credit and increase the standard deduction for heads of household. House Republican leaders say the proposal will spur economic development.

William Weissbeck 6 years, 1 month ago

If the 2% cap were to pass, can anyone say inflation? Every economist on the right and the left has bet the ranch that a decade plus of unnaturally low interest rates can only end one way. It's not a matter of if, but when. And on vouchers. The idea is to create a market incentive to public schools to improve. But there are pieces missing from that model. Private schools can recruit (sports) and can pick and choose it's students. Public schools have to take all. A better solution? Pay the private schools to take disadvantaged and special needs kids - then compare results and determine what practices public schools should explore and adopt. If there is no attempt at true empirical study, then this just becomes an end run to weaken the public school lobby and to create the fantasy that tax payers don't have to pay for public education.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

"If there is no attempt at true empirical study, then this just becomes an end run to weaken the public school lobby and to create the fantasy that tax payers don't have to pay for public education." === WWWW: Good points here. Public schools have issues, no doubt, but they do pretty well in most cases where there is adequate funding and community engagement. Private schools are a good choice for some, but their choice to pay the tuition shouldn't have anything to do with public schools, tax breaks or funding levels for the educational system. Private schools do about as well academically as public schools, when you consider the fact they can discriminate, choose their student body and are not subect to some of the regulations for public entities. If a private school finds a good athlete they may offer him or her a scholarship; if they find out after enrolling the student that they have special education needs, they just call the public school down the street and ask for taxpayer-paid services. Or, in some cases, the parents decide they will simply do without the special help. There is much good in private schools and they serve their purpose. Using the false hope that they will be able to 'cure what ails' the public schools or even accomodate all who want to enroll IS a fantasy.

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

"eliminate taxes on nonwage business income"

This should have a nickname, Let's call it koch graft.

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