Letters to the Editor

Tax gamble

May 26, 2012


To the editor:

Mr. Brownback’s signing of the massive income tax cut bill, which I believe will have dire consequences for the state’s financial stability, goes against everything I believe in: responsible government, fair taxation and the common good. At the same time, the whole country has been made aware of the extreme crucial cuts made by the Kansas Legislature the past two years. As a result, I sincerely believe that people and small businesses will not choose to live in a state that does not adequately support education, social welfare, public health and Medicaid, the arts, equal rights, religious freedom, public safety and many more things that made our state a good place to live. Those are double whammy consequences, no money and no growth! All I can say is, “He darn well better be right!”


weiser 5 years ago

People will move to states that give them free stuff...they already are. Businesses will move to states with lower taxes....they already are!

jafs 5 years ago

And, what people will the businesses employ, if you're correct?

Also, who will their customers be?

tomatogrower 5 years ago

Would you care to share your information on that? Why do states like Texas and Alaska have a higher unemployment rate? Companies might be moving a shell company there to take advantage of the free taxes, but shell companies don't have a lot of employees. The real work is going on in another state who at least gets the property taxes, but they also get the jobs, so I would say that the states without income tax are chumps.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

That's why Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Texas are the highest growth states in the US.

No, wait a minute, those are all solidly red states,,,,,,

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

They also happen to be states that have had the highest growth of poverty between 2005 and 2010.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Romney is a bigoted, arrogant elitist who has been fully believes that he should be able to buy the presidency.

A bigot like Romney in the White House would be the true nightmare.....

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Yea, that includes unemployment, Social Security and Medicare. The first for people that can't find work, not really surprising considering the economy, the last two for peopel who are retired and paid into the system their entire lives. So what's you point again? Oh right, there isn't one. You should hang out with Dave Trabert, you two have a lot in common.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

and Klein is a well known hack with a long history of taking quotes out of context. He's perfect for the Swift Boat/Breitbart/Drudge/Limboob crowd.

KWCoyote 5 years ago

rockchalk, we believe everything we read, right? If Obama were a leftist, he would have strongly supported unions instead of having a press secretary who called them professional leftists, and he would not have bent over backward to try to accommodate Republicans in the House and Senate. Obama's problem is that he's been too nice and tried too hard to work with wingnuts instead of fighting them. He seemed to take a really long time figuring out that they wanted his scalp instead of the privilege of working in a bipartisan way to carry out the nation's business. The times have changed, and the White House patience has run out. And wingnut lies will not prevail.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Why do you think those people received assistance? Don't you think the worst economy since the Great Depression had at least a little something to do with that? And by the way, SSI and SSDI are not a "handout" nor are they "entitlements". They are benefits that were bought and paid for.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

People will see all of the tax breaks and cuts from the Sam Brownback and realize that is too good to be true. They know that somehow those tax dollar revenues lost will need to be replaced because the cost of republican governments have never been run on less money.

RINO's present an illusion. What is always missing is how Kansas taxpayers will be forced to make up the loss.

The below revelation does not represent fiscal responsibility nor fiscal conservative thinking BUT it did make national news:

Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff! Among the 2,700 corporations cashing in on such absurd diversions of state taxes from public need to private greed are Goldman Sachs, GE, Motorola, and Procter & Gamble.

For more information – and for ways you can help stop this despicable giveaway – get the full report, entitled "Paying Taxes to the Boss." It's available at www.GoodJobsFirst.org.

I do not believe Facism is a popular form of government in the USA.

rtwngr 5 years ago

The two biggest outsourcers of jobs in this country are GM and GE. Obama took over GM and Immelt is a big Obama guy.

Now, save the name calling because we could hang a few on you, too.

Alyosha 5 years ago

Liberty proves with each comment how out-of-the-ball-park his political philosophy is from the mainstream of American political thought, beginning with the Founders.

He forgets, or never learned, how George Washington himself called up state militias to forcefully put down a tax insurrection, demonstrating his willingness to use force to enforce federal laws, including tax laws, in the new nation.

Liberty is wholly free of course to profess any political philosophy he likes, but no one should be confused about how radical and dystopian his philosophy is, nor with how little it has to do with serious public policy in America.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Not sure who chose the headline here, but there is no gamble involved in this prelude to the gutting of state government. They know quite well that slashing the tax rates on the wealthy and raising them on the poor and middle class will require massive cuts across the board in state programs. The massive deficits they are intentionally creating are merely the pretext to claim that pending draconian spending cuts in social welfare and education are because they have no choice if they're to be fiscally responsible.

So their insane irresponsibility today is the foundation for their self-proclaimed responsibility a year or two down the line. Welcome to Republican La-La Land.

KWCoyote 5 years ago

Do you pay for roads? Schools? Armies and Air Forces? Universities? Cops and deputies? Highway patrolman and drug and border agents? Chemists who test your water to make sure it won't kill you? Chicken inspectors who make sure your Sunday dinner is fit to eat? Etc, etc. I'm sure you never paid for a teacher, because if you had, you'd know something.

jafs 5 years ago

You can't pass retroactive laws - it's unconstitutional.

So, "3" seems highly unlikely.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Jafs: I might disagree with you. As the individuals "at risk" of the special tax are not citizens and presumably do not live in the US, [they have renounced], I think that they could be subjected to this.

In my mind, this is a fair way to approach the issue of folks attempting to avoid taxes that are rightfully due.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Taxes are "rightfully due" pursuant to the US constitution. Get over it.

jafs 5 years ago

Not at all.

If renouncing one's citizenship will now carry consequences, that's one thing. But, making that retroactive seems to violate the constitution to me.

They're not "rightfully due" if the regulations weren't in place when the people renounced their citizenship.

Article 1, section 9 says no "ex post facto" law shall be passed - my understanding of that is a law that would apply to actions taken before the law is passed, like this one.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Retroactive tax laws have been found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court on at least two occasions. See Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386 (1798); and United States v. Carlton (1994).

I have to agree with you that this is often a bad situation, and one that causes much angst between the IRS and those who come onto the audit screen. However, from what I have read, there is nothing unconstitutional about it.

In the narrow case where someone is actively working to skirt the tax system and avoid taxes owed, and who is yet enjoying the fruits of the US taxpayers through the US government [example,Eduardo Saverin] in terms of protection and ability to do business, I have little sympathy.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Did you notice the date of the first of the Supreme Court cases that found retroactive taxes to be constitutional? 1798 and it still stands.

A decision and standard nearly as old as our republic is hardly a matter of being "bent to 'fit' whatever 'complex intellectual nuanced Liberals' need."

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Well established legal precedent is hardly "Conjectural Hypothesis", but I do not expect you to understand the difference.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

The notion that 'taxation is theft' is juvenile at best.

Get over it. It is not going away.

Geiiga 5 years ago

It's what you owe for the privilege of calling yourself an American. If you don't like it, then Somalia has open borders and no taxes.

jafs 5 years ago

Thanks for the citations - I'll look at those cases.

jafs 5 years ago

Well, the first one is quite confusing, and not quite on point, I think. It had to do with the ability of higher courts to review and overturn lower courts decisions.

The second is more to the point, and also confusing, but it's clear that the retro-activity must be quite limited - a 10 year period isn't limited that way.

I don't agree with that decision, by the way - it seems to match the definition of ex post facto quite well.

Even in their opinions, the justices comment that we're not supposed to punish actions that were legal at the time they were committed, or to increase punishment as well - the sort of retro-active laws you're suggesting do both of those.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Sure the SCOTUS found them constitutional but the SCOTUS is certainly not infalliable.

And while you have little sympathy for this individual you need to realize that what initially is enacted to deal with "bad" guys may come back to bite us all in the butt.

Saverin is an a-hole for sure, but we have to protect the rights of a-holes if we want to preserve our rights. If we accept and condone this law being applied retroactively then how can we protest when they apply a law retroactively against us?

jafs 5 years ago


And, the very idea is distasteful and odd, to create laws that apply to the time before they were enacted.

Then, even law abiding citizens can find themselves in trouble after the fact.

And, of course, people who made decisions based on the laws of the time can't go back and make different ones after the fact, when the laws change.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Like it or not, the SCOTUS has set precedent that ex pos facto applies mainly in criminal law, not in civil or tax law. I have to agree with you that this can and has led to some abuses of citizens, particularly in the realm of rule making by the IRS.

Actually, a person in Saverin's position can always avoid paying the tax that is the result of a retroactive law. All that he has to do is stay out of the US, and not do business with US entities.

The problem is that he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to relinquish citizenship to avoid taxes, however, he wants to continue to be able to make huge sums of money doing business with US companies.

Finally, he wants to stay in an area [Singapore] that is effectively protected by the US by virtue of the fact that we maintain a large military presence there in the form of the US Naval base. Viewed as a whole, he is affording himself the comforts and benefits of a citizen while not paying his fair share.

Saverin enjoys adequate protection from the US government by simply staying out and not doing business with US entities. As a non US citizen, I do not see him as entitled to more.

jafs 5 years ago

You're right, and I don't like it.

And, I say again that it's fine to make such a law, but it shouldn't apply retroactively.

People make decisions based on the law at the time of their decisions, and would in all likelihood make different ones if the laws were different.

What if somebody bought a house based on the 1st time homebuyers credit, and then the government stopped the program, and did so retroactively, demanding that all those who received it pay it back?

Is that ok with you?

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

Like I said twice previously in this string, I do not particularly agree with some of the ways in which a retroactive implementation of a rule could be applied. The most egregious manner would be in the form of tax code rules issued by the IRS.

I just do not happen to have any sympathy for someone like Saverin who uses his wealth to further compound wealth, at the expense of the US taxpayer, while not paying his share for things like maintaining an economic system, protection of the military, education of a workforce to produce goods and services, critical infrastructure, and the like.

jafs 5 years ago

And, yet, that's the main way in which these laws have been used.

I don't have any particular "sympathy" for Saverin, or any particular "antipathy" either.

But, if we think he's not paying "his share" of taxes, then the right thing to do is change the tax code, but not to apply that retroactively.

rtwngr 5 years ago

"I sincerely believe that people and small businesses will not choose to live in a state that does not adequately support education, social welfare, public health and Medicaid, the arts, equal rights, religious freedom, public safety..."

I can show you proof that people will not choose to live in a state that maintains a confiscatory tax policy that does not support education, social welfare, public health and medicaid, the arts, equal rights, religious freedom, public safety....

You and so many others like you just don't get it. The government is not in the business of doling out money to every single person or entity that thinks it is entitled to it. Yes it would be a "charitable" thing to do but the government is not in the business of charity as much as you would like to believe. There should be a safety net for the most unfortunate of our citizenry but not a hammock for those that wish to milk the system and take handouts because it is easier than work. I know, I'm a cruel individual that has no heart and I don't know what it is truly like to be disabled. For every handicapped individual that wants to castigate me for not understanding their "plight", I can show them an equally disabled individual who has taken the assistance given them, used it for some education, and is working in the job force right now. I'm personally tired of being handed the bill for the handouts that this state government has seen fit to enact over the last 40 years. You whine about balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class but that is what you do with the entitlements. Whom do you think pays for those?

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

As the current regime in DC has proven, whizzing away hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars as kickbacks to high-roller campaign donors is a bad idea.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Give me a break! Whatever regime is in DC will do the exact same thing. Democans and Republicrats are all bought and paid for by big business. Do you not recognize this? Divide and conquer is the name of the game and Republicrats and Democans are the dungeon masters.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Any opinion on the no-bid billion dollar contracts to Halliburton that Bush Co. gave out?

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Selective memory is the flavor of the day! I like pie.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

The Iraq War. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Kill, Kill, Kill! Go team Red!

JackMcKee 5 years ago

The hand: pocket 7-2 off suit The pot: Brownbacks future as POTUS (in his deranged mind) The gamble: the next 20 years of quality of life in Kansas

Odds of success? slim

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Dave Trabert, come tell us again that we have nothing to fear. I'd really love to get a better explanation of your fantasy finance where 1.5% growth will offset $2-3 billion per year of tax revenue.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

and that has to be growth in W2 earnings. Independent contractors along with all business income are now tax exempt. Anyone else understanding how it's just not within the realm of the sane that this lost tax revenue will magically reappear? Think about this question. How many millions of new jobs have to be created to come up with $3 billion in tax revenue? The population of Kansas would have to double or triple. No, there isn't a secret $600 million pot of gold hidden in the Kansas budget. No, there isn't an easy 6.5% that can be cut from the budget (why don't you explain exactly where that's supposed to come from, Dave), no there isn't a tooth fairy or Easter Bunny

JackMcKee 5 years ago

so which would you defund, roads, schools, or public safety?

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Cutting the budget for the state police? Cutting funding for state infrastructure? Cutting funding for the prison system? Cutting funding for natural gas storage facility inspection? Cutting funding for vaccinations? Cutting funding for etcetera, etcetera...

imastinker 5 years ago

Independent contractors and many businesses are "pass through" entities that don't file for their own tax returns but revenue and expenses show up on the owners return. That's a lot different than what you said.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Wrong. Under the new Kansas tax code, "business" income is no longer taxable. Only "employees" now pay Kansas income taxes.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

After Brownback was secretary of ag, the legislative post audit wrote a scathing report about several of its programs. One word sums it up - FAIL.

Brownback failed as secretary of ag so in a sense, he is getting a do-over as Gov. Will he fail again? Will we need Legislative Post Audit to issue a report or will we know by the gold in the streets or by the decay left behind when he leaves?

booyalab 5 years ago

Being taxed is so important. It just amazes me that people were able to survive before it.

gccs14r 5 years ago

You mean back when we didn't have schools, sewers, or running water, and the streets and highways were dirt tracks?

Kate Rogge 5 years ago

And who pays that private firm?

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

You live in a fantasy world, dude.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Every road in Kansas should be privately owned and everyone should have pay the Koch boys a toll to drive on the road to work. Sounds like Shangri-La!

booyalab 5 years ago

Why stop at those? You could totally attribute the invention of the internet to taxes too, because of Al Gore.

gccs14r 5 years ago

So what's to keep a business from encouraging its employees to all become independent contractors? How will Kansas survive if the only employees paying taxes are the ones who work for multinationals such as McDonald's and Wal-Mart?

KWCoyote 5 years ago

Oh well... After the stuff hits the fan, and it will soon, Republican legislators and their rich backers will count themselves lucky if they don't end up wearing tar and feathers. Brownback will go down in history as the worst governor this state has ever had. It's a rugged path to enlightenment that Kansas voters have chosen, but I'm sure they'll get there. Even the wingers posting here will have to rethink their views.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Brownback added a tax increase on each vehicle at time of each motorized vehicle registration renewal. $4.00 each

It's called a DMV modernization fee = the new $40,000,000 computer that has been malfunctioning.

A fee is a tax simple as that. Look for more tax increases hidden behind the word fee or rate.

booyalab 5 years ago

I just figured out why liberals are always so angry. They think government is the solution to all our problems but they despise half of it's members. Geez, I'd be angry too.

tbaker 5 years ago

Letting the people who work for and earn the money in the first place keep a little more of what belongs to them - is a gamble? Wise up Mr.Lauridsen. The best way to raise tax revenue is a growing economy. The best thing a poor person in need of government hand-outs could ever receive is a job. If these two things don't improve as the governor has promissed, then there is always the ballot box.

jafs 5 years ago

Yes there is.

Unfortunately there are a great many people in this country right now who are so blinded by ideology that they can't see the evidence that it doesn't work.

tbaker 5 years ago

Like I said - there's always the ballot box. If the ideology this great many people are blinded by is so obviously wrong, then it must be changed with facts currently not in evidence.

What evidence? Money taken out of the economy and spent by the government is orders of magnitudes less efficient and effective than money spent in the economy. Generations of economists have documented this.

Money spent by the government must meet two criteria, a) the constitution says the government does the function, and b) the private economy cannot provide it better, faster and cheaper. Proceeding on the assumption that everything the state is currently spending money on is utterly essential and constitutional (not to mention effective / getting our money's worth) just doesn't pass the common sense test. Mountains of examples of government fraud, waste, and abuse abound.

The ideology blinding people is the statist notion there can not be any reduction in the spending, size, and scope of government, that it must remain undisturbed in a perpetutal state of growth and expansion. I reject this. Working, tax-paying people reject this. That is not what the constitution (state or federal) says. It says that save only the most helpless, the vast majority of people need to take care of themselves.

jafs 5 years ago

That would also be a blinding ideology.

Fortunately, nobody I know believes that, although many believe that tax cuts will fix the economy.

You can say that all you like, but without evidence, I don't believe it - and evidence is not opinions of libertarian economists. If the government spends the money, it does so "in the economy", which is the same place that everybody else does.

For example, if we have a private sector employee, and they get paid, they spend their money "in the economy" - a public sector employee will do the same.

Thus, a private and public sector job that pay the same amount will result in the same economic activity.

The evidence I'm referring to is the clear evidence that tax cuts don't work to stimulate enough growth to pay for themselves, in the vast majority of cases.

I am wholeheartedly in favor of eliminating (as much as we can) waste and fraud and abuse, in all sectors of the government, and also in the private sector.

It's one of my great frustrations that more people can't talk about that subject without the ideological stuff entering the picture - it seems to me that we should all be able to agree on that, at the very least.

And, the constitution does not say that at all - it says that taxes can be collected and spent on the general welfare - that isn't what you said.

tbaker 5 years ago

  1. You need to get out more and mingle with the blinded majority.

  2. I favor tax cuts more for moral reasons than I do as a solution to government financial problems. Spending (size and scope of government) has to shrink.

  3. You didn't look at the link, did you? You won't accept a libertarian economists findings? How about a Nobel prize winning economists findings? Would you read it if I went to the trouble?

  4. How is following the constitution ideological?

  5. The general welfare clause does not carry the weight of an article of the constitution, it is explanatory narration in the preamble. I have sent you quotes from Jefferson and Madison explaining this before. If what you say is true, then there is no need for enumerated powers or any further limitation on federal government powers (limiting those being the main purpose of the constitution)

  6. The General Welfare clause is not a blank check for endlessly expanding government until we can no longer afford to pay for it and be forced to borrow 60 cents of every dollar the feds now spend. This madness speaks for itself and you know it. It is ruining our lives and condeming future generations to servitude.

jafs 5 years ago

Well, then you don't really mean that cutting taxes will increase revenues, which has been your main argument in a number of posts.

I did look at the link - I don't consider a libertarian economist's opinion to be evidence, generally speaking, because they're quite ideologically biased. For example, I've asked several times for evidence that government spending is "orders of magnitude" less efficient than private sector spending, and have gotten none. Your links on various subjects have included that comment by libertarian economists, who seem to take it as true, without providing any evidence. I gave you an example of how they would be the same - what's your argument with that?

The general welfare phrase is found in the actual constitution, not just the preamble, as I've pointed out before - check Article 1, Section 8.

I agree, finally, with your last comment - I'd prefer to see tax revenue that covers spending, instead of ever increasing debts.

jafs 5 years ago

And yet, of the 10 countries that have the happiest people, the US isn't on the list, and many, if not most, of them have substantial government and "socialistic" programs, like nationalized health care.

Norway, Sweden, Canada, etc.

GDP growth is not the be-all and end-all of everything, it's only one part of a complex picture.

tbaker 5 years ago

Changing the subject doesn't make me wrong.

jafs 5 years ago


But GDP growth isn't synonymous with tax revenues either - all your link showed was that there may be a slowing (not sure whether it's significant or not) of GDP growth with a larger government.

jafs 5 years ago

And, I'm not sure it's really changing the subject, in fact.

Underlying all of these discussions, I would think, is that we want people to be happy - otherwise what's the point?

So, the reason you want lower taxes, growth and a healthy economy is so that people can prosper, which will make them happy, right?

I know, if I had the choice between a system that had great GDP growth but lots of unhappy stressed out people, and one that had slower growth but lots of happy people, the second sounds much better to me.

Aristotle said that the end goal of most, if not all human activities was happiness - pretty much everything else is a means to that end.

In our society, we seem to have forgotten that, unfortunately, and pursue things like wealth, status, power, etc. as if they're the real goal. There was even a study in which people said they'd rather be rich and unhappy than poor and happy, which is hard for me to grasp. I guess it's the triumph of advertising over common sense.

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