Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2012

House approves tax cuts despite misgivings

March 14, 2012


— A sweeping package of tax cuts was approved by the Kansas House on Wednesday despite misgivings about its cost and the breaks offered to wealthy residents, though it's expected to get a cold reception in the Senate.

Supporters believe the plan is a step toward tax relief and job creation, but critics argue that some provisions favor the wealthy and businesses. Others maintain that the state can't afford the plan's price tag, estimated between $375 million and $425 million.

The legislation, approved 68-56, is the second tax-break plan that the House has passed in two years. Last year's plan languished in the Senate, never coming to a vote, and a Senate committee on Wednesday endorsed a separate income tax plan offered by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback with minor changes.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal was confident that some form of tax relief would pass the Legislature this session. But the Hutchinson Republican predicted the final plan's cost would be far less that outlined in the House plan.

The House plan would lower the tax rates in all income brackets and require any growth in state revenue above 3 percent to be used to cut taxes further. It also keeps in place popular income credits and exemptions, including the earned income tax credit for low-income tax filers.

It would also phase out earnings taxes for thousands of partnerships, sole proprietorships and other small businesses. The sales tax rate would drop to 5.7 percent from 6.3 percent in July 2013, as previously scheduled.

The elimination of sales taxes on food would cost the state an estimated $350 million annually. Supporters of the provision said it was another way to give Kansas residents more disposable income for other purposes.

They also said the changes would create jobs.

Brownback has pushed cutting tax rates as a top goal of the 2012 session as he seeks to revive the Kansas economy. He proposed a similar income tax bill that House members reviewed and sampled in drafting their own package.

Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said the administration's policies to create jobs have been taking hold, evidenced by a report earlier Tuesday that said Kansas added 22,000 jobs in the past year.

Critics called the policy misguided, saying that the effects would leave Kansas government with fewer resources to function.

"It would be nice if we could look the people of Kansas in the face and tell them we could get rid of their income tax without having any consequences," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, "but the fact of the matter is, this is going to disable funding for schools, universities, public safety and a lot of things Kansans depend upon from state government."


sad_lawrencian 6 years, 2 months ago

"House approves tax cuts despite misgivings." One should never have misgivings about cutting taxes.

ksrover 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree on the tax cuts, but no one has offered any insight to how the state will cover that 350 million dollar reduction in revenue. Wasn't the 2012 budget near a $500 million dollar deficit as it was?

kernal 6 years, 2 months ago

If they have misgivings, why approve it? Too many carrots being dangled in front of them?

hawkergirl 6 years, 2 months ago

I wear Birkenstocks because they're comfortable, NOT because I'm a liberal.....

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

What spending will you cut in the amount of $350 million/yr?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

If, as many suggest, taxes on groceries are one of the most regressive taxes, hitting the poor especially hard, doesn't it stand to reason that whatever is cut, it could be no worse for the poor. One would think liberals and advocates for the poor would be thrilled with this.

Alexander Smith 6 years, 2 months ago

LOL Its the GOP that wants to cause this financial pain on the people to look good to the voters. The left side know for a fact that cutting the taxes is going to hurt the economy, education, and other parts of the state.

The difference between the right and the left is that the Right cares about the here and now and how FAT I can make my wallet. They don't care about the domino effect ..let THEM deal with it. The left looks down the road and the long term effects. They look at all who is going to be impacted.

So explain to me mr. right wing- all-I-care-about-is-myself. How are you going to recoup the loss that your GOP wants to do? What programs are you going to cut? HOw many people are going to un-employ? How much of our education system are going to destroy so your party can look good? Also a huge portion of that TAX cut..only the business and wealthy will benefit. Regular joe will still be struggling to make ends meet and our children will suffer even more as they cram more students into schools that don't have the staff to truely educate like they should. GO GOP for destroying or children's future.

ALSO.. what is amazing. Very few right wing people claim to be so "American" but yet they give very little back into the system that benefits everyone. Our class back a few years ago did a study on United Way campaign fund raiser. When the results were done, democrats and unclassified gave 70 percent MORE then republicans. Last time I checked our constitution was "WE" the people of the United States... seems like the GOP its "I" the people...

No answer..thought so.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 2 months ago

"The elimination of sales taxes on food would cost the state an estimated $350 million annually. Supporters of the provision said it was another way to give Kansas residents more disposable income for other purposes"

Yes, for other purposes like road and bridge construction, public education, police, fire, and college.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

A Smart ALEC Threatens Public Education

Coordinated efforts to introduce model legislation aimed at defunding and dismantling public schools is the signature work of this conservative organization.

By Julie Underwood and Julie F. Mead, Phi Delta Kappan Article Tools

A legislative contagion seemed to sweep across the Midwest during the early months of 2011. First, Wisconsin legislators wanted to strip public employees of the right to bargain. Then, Indiana legislators got into the act. Then, it was Ohio. In each case, Republican governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures had introduced substantially similar bills that sought sweeping changes to each state’s collective bargaining statutes and various school funding provisions.

What was going on? How could elected officials in multiple states suddenly introduce essentially the same legislation?

The answer: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Its self-described legislative approach to education reads:

Across the country for the past two decades, education reform efforts have popped up in legislatures at different times in different places. As a result, teachers’ unions have been playing something akin to “whack-a-mole”—you know the game—striking down as many education reform efforts as possible. Many times, the unions successfully “whack” the “mole,” i.e., the reform legislation. Sometimes, however, they miss. If all the moles pop up at once, there is no way the person with the mallet can get them all. Introduce comprehensive reform packages. (Ladner, LeFevre, & Lips, 2010, p. 108)

ALEC’s own “whack-a-mole” strategy also reveals the group’s ultimate goal. Every gardener who has ever had to deal with a mole knows that the animals undermine and ultimately destroy a garden. ALEC’s positions on various education issues make it clear that the organization seeks to undermine public education by systematically defunding and ultimately destroying public education as we know it.

What is ALEC?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

And today's Trifecta Thread Spam award goes to merrill for posting the same (mostly unrelated to the thread topic) goulash on three threads of this award-winning website in a matter of minutes.

question4u 6 years, 2 months ago

It's like Pavlov's dog. Merrill has Pop well trained.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 2 months ago

I would also like to see how many total local government and state jobs have been lost (or vacated/not filled)

headdoctor 6 years, 2 months ago

I believe the total loss of government jobs is around 10,000 from January 2011 to January 2012.

notorious_agenda 6 years, 2 months ago

The cutting of taxes costs the state nothing. It's not their money to begin with... The budget was not always be this high, the budget will not always be this low. So many people post about where will get get that 350million dollars???; the fact is that our money is safer in our hands and we have an entire system with checks and balances to work out the budget. Its a simple equation: Here is our budget + Here are our choices on what to spend it on. = The State of Kansas

Your only recourse is still just to vote.

lgrant 6 years, 2 months ago

Uh, ladies & gentlemen, the time to act on misgivings is before you approve the bill, not after. This not good for Kansans. You all have a lot of legislation to work on, slow down and WORK on it, don't just approve because leadership says so. They are the ones who claimed that Jim Ward's amendment was a good one without reading it. What you do everyday affects all Kansas from womb to tomb not just the upper crust. Oh, there I go again, asking for common sense from the majority party. Oops!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

So, the wealthy get their tax cuts, and the sales taxes on food is eliminated. The latter is a great thing, but why are they doing it? How will they pay for the large deficits that will follow? I guarantee you that it won't come at the expense of anything that the Kansas Chamber of Commerce or the Koch brothers value. But if you're poor and disabled or sick, or a kid in a public school, you'll be paying for this someday soon.

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