Statehouse Live: Former legislators, all Republicans, criticize Brownback-endorsed tax cuts

? A group of nearly 50 former legislators, all Republicans, criticized a proposed tax cut endorsed by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican.

Traditional Republicans for Common Sense said the tax bill, if enacted, would put the state in a budget hole that would result in cuts to essential services, such as schools, roads, and nursing home care. The group said it would also lead to increases in local property taxes.

“I think Kansas taxpayers need to be asking where the governor would make these cuts,” said Rochelle Chronister, former assistant majority leader in the House, and former chair of the Kansas Republican Party.

“More importantly, we need to be asking what cuts of this magnitude might look like for working families, retirees and Kansas children,” Chronister, of Neodesha, said.

Under a tax-cut proposal in a House-Senate conference committee, the three state income tax rates of 3.5 percent, 6.25 percent and 6.45 percent would be collapsed into two rates of 3 percent and 4.9 percent. The plan would also phase out the non-wage income tax on nearly 200,000 businesses.

The proposal would lead to state deficits within three years, according to state projections.

Brownback has said the tax cuts will boost the state economy and create jobs.

Chronister said Kansas already has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. “Now is not the time for more government intervention. Topeka needs to stay out of the way and make sure proven economic development tools – like good schools and safe roads – remain strong so that the private sector can thrive,” she said.