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Archive for Monday, March 12, 2012

Mother of two urges legislators to reject Brownback plan to eliminate EITC

March 12, 2012

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— Advocates for the poor and a mother of two, who worked her way out of a four-month stay at a homeless shelter, argued Monday for maintaining the Earned Income Tax Credit, which has been targeted for elimination by Gov. Sam Brownback and reduction by House Republican leaders.

Tosha Jansen-Conkey speaks Monday during a news conference. The mother of two young boys, Jansen-Conkey spoke against attempts to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Tosha Jansen-Conkey speaks Monday during a news conference. The mother of two young boys, Jansen-Conkey spoke against attempts to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Tosha Jansen-Conkey, a graduate of Kansas University, said that in 2007 she was divorced, bankrupt and the mother of two boys.

"My biggest reward is the love of my two children," she said, who are now 6 and 5.

She worked several jobs to keep her family afloat and lived for four months at the Topeka Rescue Mission.

Jansen-Conkey said the EITC has been crucial to her family. "Without this sort of relief, I may not have been able to get on my two feet," she said.

Brownback's plan to reduce income tax rates and slash business taxes includes eliminating numerous deductions and credits, including the state portion of the EITC. The House Republican leadership tax plan would cut the credit by half.

The Brownback administration has said there is widespread fraud in the EITC. In January, Brownback’s Budget Director Steve Anderson said, “We have no way of making sure, for example, that a single mother is spending that on needs for her children.”

But Sister Therese Bangert, of the Catholic Sisters of Charity, disagreed with Anderson's assessment.

She said low-income families use the EITC to pay off medical and credit card bills, rent, car repairs and other necessary expenses.

"The EITC has been studied and studied and showed positive outcomes for families," she said. A coalition of groups, called the Partnership to Preserve the Earned Income Tax Credit, said that more than 90 percent of Kansas’ EITC dollars go to families with children, and the average credit is about $360. The coalition said the EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other single program and was adopted to help working low-income families offset sales and property taxes.

Bangert said she was personally offended that talk of tax fraud seems to only come up with the EITC and not the tax dodges used by wealthier people.

Jansen-Conkey, who over the past several years has worked at jobs mopping floors, selling cars and is now a legal secretary, said she received $735 from the credit this year. She said the credit has helped her buy a van and make a downpayment on a mobile home.

Removing the EITC would "be taking away too much from children who have too little," she said.

Comments

Paul R Getto 2 years, 9 months ago

"Bangert said she was personally offended that talk of tax fraud seems to only come up with the EITC and not the tax dodges used by wealthier people." === Good point. Poor people don't lawyer up as quickly or as well as those on the other end of the income scale.

mom_of_three 2 years, 9 months ago

Its okay for rich people to avoid paying taxes, but not okay for poor people to get a break on theirs. I have only qualified for it once in my life, when the three kids were very little and when we weren't making much.

matchbox81 2 years, 9 months ago

“ Brownback’s Budget Director Steve Anderson said,'We have no way of making sure, for example, that a single mother is spending that on needs for her children.' ” Just like we have no way of knowing that tax breaks given to companies are used to create more jobs, but I see no hestitation there on the part of our Governor.

ljwhirled 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually there is a lot of evidence that tax breaks create substantially fewer jobs than direct government spending. Lots of evidence.

http://goo.gl/1Qzob http://goo.gl/SfZWj

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

"Brownback’s Budget Director Steve Anderson said, “We have no way of making sure, for example, that a single mother is spending that on needs for her children.”"

Sounds like collective punishment to me, and for the vast majority who receive the EITC, their only real crime is being among the working poor.

1029 2 years, 9 months ago

Gotta agree with Brownback on this one. EITC should be eliminated. Recently heard a story from a KCMO public school teacher who mentioned a kid showing up with $300 sneakers one day bragging to the other kids about his "new tax credit kicks". It set off a conversation where one kid said he got a wii and his parents bought a new flat screen TV, and another kid mentioned his mom buying new rims for her boyfriend's car.

There needs to be a way to take care of the children, but not the irresponsible parents who should have never had children in the first place. Same thing with the SNAP program. There should be a way to make sure that kids get healthy food, but it's disgusting to see some of the items people are buying with their food stamps.

deec 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, god forbid poor people should buy something with the money left after they catch up on their bills. I don't think public policy should be based on the braggadocio of a few teenagers.

Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 9 months ago

"irresponsible parents who should have never had children in the first place"

Pro-life?

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

An unidentified KCMO school teacher? Was it a friend of your cousin's mother-in-law? And they must teach their kids differently in Missouri. I worked in KCK school district as a para, and if you asked a kid what EITC you would be met with blank stares. This is BS

usnsnp 2 years, 9 months ago

Dont know how much fraud is going on, there are no system wide studies. But what I do know is that politicians do not like programs because it clashes with how they think things should be done. They get rid of the program, then they move on to another position or retire, then it is found out that they were wrong in their fix and have hurt large numbers of people. The problem is that they are long gone and no responsibility can be fixed to them, or they blame the failure of their policies on the invisible person by saying it was their fault not mine.

mom_of_three 2 years, 9 months ago

You are so very wrong about the EITC and some of those who use it. I have family members who are working more than one job, are single parents (as a result of divorce and their cheating spouses), and qualify for the EITC. It is a great relief to them to receive it and they use it for the kids, to catch up on the bills and to save for a rainy day. One relative will be more needful of it this year, due to the economy, her hours are being cut at work. I don't even think she has insurance, and certainly doesn't have everything paid for. I think the only break she has is getting free lunches at school and reduced school fees. She has never been on welfare, but does use the EITC. To say that certain people have certain expenses covered is ridiculous, harmful and outright shameful, as well as a lie. And no, she isn't an illegal alien either.

angie497 2 years, 9 months ago

Why, yes, I would happen to know what qualifies as low income to qualify for Medicaid in Kansas. That would $352 a month for a family of one adult and one child. If the income is over $352 a month (and yes, it's a month, not a week), only the child will qualify for Medicaid. The limit is higher if the adult is a pregnant woman - while she's pregnant.

So there are actually few people in Kansas that qualify for full Medicaid. And unless you qualify for full Medicaid, then you do NOT have '100% free medical care'. You have to pick up a certain amount of your medical expenses (the amount varies depending on the family income) before Medicaid will kick in.

And where people got the idea that emergency room care is free or paid by the taxpayer is absolutely beyond me. Yes, emergency rooms at public hospitals have to provide a certain level of treatment regardless of insurance. Those hospitals also BILL the patient for those services - and at a higher rate than is billed to insured individuals, because health care plans for the most part have negotiated lower rates for their insureds.

Oh, and the idea of worrying about illegal aliens and EITC is absolutely nonsensical. In order to claim the EITC, you have to file a tax return. No tax return, to credit on that tax return. The idea that this is why EITC should be reformed is total BS.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 9 months ago

Follow this link to answer your question.

As to your assertion that the EITC is not lifting any children out of poverty, you're probably right. But using that theory to justify taking ANY dollars away from needy people is faulty, and a true Republican trait. Perhaps easing the strain a bit is what the EITC does, and perhaps it allows the poberty-stricken working poor to come closer to making ends meet. You advocate throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and that's just not acceptable.

The EITC was meant as a safety net to help defray some of the costs of actually existing, and you want to throw that away based on two things: anecdotal misinformation and your own prejudice. Do some actual research, bigtoe, and perhaps you'd have some factual argument to make. Until then, continue your diatribe against people being able to survive just because you have no problem in that area. Great thnking.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, toe, the link did not come through. Since you can not do your own research, here it is:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11poverty.shtml

To answer your snide question, no, it's not in the "mid-five figures", not by a long ways.

rubysmom 2 years, 9 months ago

No facts??? Just in case you missed it..."it is nothing more than just enough free money to buy some sneakers they don't need and/or a new flat screen TV, just like the article says" This is not fact - you cited it from someone else's post about a story they heard from a friend, who heard it from a friend.... not the article or any other credible source.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

Well to rich people $350 is just a drop in the bucket. Of course, it might keep the electricity on. But rich people don't have a clue what that even means.

Niemoller 2 years, 9 months ago

Bigtoe - "Low income people aren't paying medical bills with it because they have 100% free medical care under Medicaid and/or at the emergency room, also covered by the taxpayer. Most of them also probably have their food, rent and a car covered by the taxpayer."

I feel that you have confused "Low income" with those on Social Security and other programs. Those that work do not qualify for medical, nor can they usually afford to pay for it. They are actually the ones that you complain about not paying their medical bills and raising prices of medical care for everyone else. Also, at about 130% poverty level, they also do not get SNAP benefits nor could they possibly qualify for Section 8. I don't know any program that directly pays car payments. So it sounds like you really talk out of your rear.

angie497 2 years, 9 months ago

I like the way that some of the right-wing types scream about undocumented workers not paying taxes (although they do) while at the same time insisting that they're somehow getting tax benefits. I'd really like to know how that works.

Katara 2 years, 9 months ago

So any bets as to which insults Rush will launch at this woman who dares to testify at a public hearing?

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

He would probably tell too bad she was born ugly, or she could have married a rich, fat guy like him. Poverty or married to someone like Rush? I think I'd rather be homeless.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 9 months ago

How do we know that businesses benefitting from his proposed tax cuts will reinvest in the business by giving raises to employees, buying equipment, or whatever? Why does the GOP presume big business and the wealthy are so much better at managing money than working class people? As for me, I don't think a person like Paris Hilton could form a complete sentence or fill up a tank of gas but since she was born into a wealthy family, we are supposed to believe she would make better choices than the mother in this article? I don't think so. The GOP is filled with bigoted zealots who are owned by the Koch brothers.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 9 months ago

Didn't I read another article about a Wichita grocery store owner committing food stamp fraud?

Niemoller 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, my understanding was that a mom and pop kind of store was using food stamps to buy food to resell in their store, and gave the food stamp recipient some % on the dollar.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

"Why does the GOP presume big business and the wealthy are so much better at managing money than working class people?"

Or less corrupt. Which is worse? The guy ripping off disability for $600 a month, or the doctor in Texas who stole millions from Medicare. I'll bet Sam hangs out with more rich doctors, than he does a disability fraud. I know Christians who think if you have money, god has blessed you for being so good. That's a crock.

Katara 2 years, 9 months ago

Federal law does not specifically allow illegal aliens to file for and receive and annual Federal EITC check in the mail. You'll need to pony up a source that states that they do get this.

Niemoller 2 years, 9 months ago

EITC recipients may not pay INCOME TAX, but they still pay Social Security and Medicaid, that will MOST LIKELY not be there for them when they need it. “Under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act 12.4% of earned income up to an annual limit must be paid into Social Security, and an additional 2.9% must be paid into Medicare.” For a person who makes less than $2000 per month, that 15.3% is around $60, and in my car that’s a tank of gas. If that comes out twice a month, that’s two tanks of gas. In a year, that is $720 – that is about the refund a person who makes $2000 a month gets from KS EITC – get over yourself. Why is it so hard for you to do simple math. You do not know what people do with their money and it is inappropriate to assume that all recipients of the EITC make bad choices. Why would you think that anyway, because they don't make 6 figures a year?

Niemoller 2 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, those numbers are half unless you are self employed - but still.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 9 months 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 2 years, 9 months 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.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 9 months 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.

rtwngr 2 years, 9 months ago

The Kansas City Star does not report anything in a fair manner. The state does not have money to hand out. The budget has to be brought into line.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

Then why cut taxes to the rich and raise them for the poor? Why not leave the tax structure alone? Why not stop creating new positions so you can give your cronies a six figure income?

angie497 2 years, 9 months ago

That's funny. Last week, Brownback was telling a legislative conference in Topeka that he's worked miracles in the state and that the budget's no longer in the red. And that he wants to reduce the state income tax to zero.

And yes, I know that's what he said because I was there to hear it personally.

So, which is it? My guess is that Brownback's talking out of both sides of his ass, as the mood suits him.

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