Archive for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Legislators back at table to talk tax cuts

May 15, 2012


— Nearly a week after the House approved and Gov. Sam Brownback said he would sign into law a budget-busting tax cut, legislators on Tuesday resumed talks aimed at forming an alternative package.

House-Senate tax conferees meet Tuesday before a packed room in the Statehouse.

House-Senate tax conferees meet Tuesday before a packed room in the Statehouse.

But the discussion between House and Senate negotiators didn't get far.

State Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, presented a scaled-down tax cut proposal that he said Senate leaders approved, but the House's lead tax negotiator state Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, rejected it.

The two sides, however, agreed to meet again later today.

It was the first meeting of the House-Senate tax conference committee since Wednesday when the House approved a bill that would reduce personal income tax rates and phase out non-wage income taxes for nearly 200,000 businesses.

Critics of the bill said it would benefit mostly the wealthy at the expense of low wage earners while robbing funds from schools, social services and public safety.

A projection by the Kansas Legislative Research Department showed the plan would start producing budget shortfalls within a year, growing to a range of $2.5 billion to $3 billion in 2018. The current state revenue fund is about $6.2 billion.

Even so, Brownback said he was prepared to sign the bill into law, although adding he preferred a plan that had been earlier put together by the House-Senate tax conference committee that was less aggressive.

Brownback had urged the House to approve the larger tax cut, saying that was needed to get Senate leaders to negotiate. The maneuvering on tax cuts and redistricting has produced bad feelings among many legislators.

Under the proposal laid out by Donovan, the top income tax rate would drop from 6.45 percent to 6 percent, and the lower one would decrease from 3.5 percent to 3.25 percent. The plan approved by the House would drop the top rate to 4.9 percent and decrease the lower rate to 3 percent.


Michael LoBurgio 6 years ago

Tax-cut bill puts education at risk

The following commentary was submitted by school superintendents John Allison, Wichita; John Burke, Haysville; Randal Chickadonz, Rose Hill; Mark A. Evans, Andover; Sue Givens, El Dorado; Justin Henry, Goddard; Jim Keller, Circle; Doug Powers, Maize; Brad Rahe, Mulvane; Mike Roth, Clearwater; Scott Springston, Valley Center; and Craig Wilford, Derby:

The Kansas Legislature’s approval of a tax-reduction bill that will plunge the state general fund into the red beginning in 2014 could critically damage public education in Kansas. If Gov. Sam Brownback signs H.B. 2117 into law, local school districts will need to start planning immediately for huge reductions in state aid.

This isn’t just a challenge for local school boards and school faculty. This is a challenge for our entire community.

Public education is the foundation of our local economy. It generates the quality workforce that is essential to our prosperity. Like any other structure, the foundation must be sustained to keep everything else in place. If the foundation is eroded, everything else starts to crumble.

Our options are very limited. If we want to maintain our current level of academic performance, we would have to replace the state dollars with local property taxes. That is an unacceptable alternative that would only mask the state’s failure to meet its constitutional responsibility to public education.

verity 6 years ago

Fire these guys in November. If Brownback doesn't have minions to do his bidding, he's going to be at least somewhat hamstrung. He can't do everything by decree.

chootspa 6 years ago

Do you need an extreme property tax hike? Because that's what you'll get instead.

Michael LoBurgio 6 years ago

Tax-cut legislation will be the end of Kansas as we know it

How much growth do we need to pay for the astronomical cuts?

The Kansas Economic Progress Council has done some quick math. They have calculated that Kansas would need to produce a half million new jobs over the next five years to generate enough income and sales tax to cover the $2 billion hole. Therefore, Kansas jobs would have to grow 50 percent over the next six years.

This is where the nuclear explosion will be felt right here.

Half the state’s budget goes to K-12 education. Unless the Legislature lifts the lid on local tax authority, which is highly unlikely, our schools are in for rough times, indeed. There is no way they can be immune to cuts of the magnitude required. But even if we were given total local authority to tax ourselves, we might have to tax ourselves massively to make up for anticipated shortfalls from the state.

If you have a child who will be or is attending a state university, you can prepare yourself for much higher tuition, as the state inevitably will be forced to cut back on funding for higher education. This isn’t something Brownback wants. It just will be inevitable.

The hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for transportation projects, including the planned improvements at our Johnson County triangle at Interstate 35, Interstate 435 and Kansas 10 will be ditched. The entire transportation budget will be decimated. There will be no choice.

Cuts to local governments from the state are a virtual certainty. That will lead to higher local property taxes to make up the difference.

Read more here:

Orwell 6 years ago

"Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, said Brownback’s Budget Director Steve Anderson would soon release a “dynamic scoring model” that Siegfreid said will show the positive effect of tax cuts cycling back through the economy." 5/14 J-W.

This is pure voodoo economics, but without the economics.

Paul R Getto 6 years ago

Voodoo is faith-based too. A slightly different religion than Muscular Sam's, but ....

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