Archive for Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Democrats say Brownback tax cuts will result in $900 million in cuts to public schools, higher education

October 2, 2012


House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, and state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, speak Tuesday at a news conference. They said a revenue projection of Gov. Sam Brownback's tax cuts, if applied proportionately, would result in a $900 million cut to education. Brownback has said he will protect school funding.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, and state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, speak Tuesday at a news conference. They said a revenue projection of Gov. Sam Brownback's tax cuts, if applied proportionately, would result in a $900 million cut to education. Brownback has said he will protect school funding.

— Democratic legislative leaders on Tuesday said public schools and higher education will suffer $900 million in budget cuts because of Gov. Sam Brownback's tax cuts.

And their argument got support from a public policy group, the Kansas Economic Progress Council, which released a report that said the Brownback tax cuts will lead to state spending cuts, a raid on transportation funds and do little to help the economy.

In public statements, Brownback has vowed to protect school funding and what he calls core services, and his office hit back at the Democrats.

"It must be getting near Halloween season with these Democrat scare tactics," said Sherriene Jones-Sontag, a spokeswoman for Brownback.

But House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence and state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said they were just doing the math.

Displaying a tax cut projection produced by legislative researchers, Davis said, "Gov. Brownback can no longer tell people with a straight face that big cuts to their public schools, their universities are not on the way. The cuts are coming and they are coming as a result of the Brownback tax plan that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest of Kansans."

The projection showed the impact of subtracting the tax cuts from state revenue, while adding 4 percent in annual revenue growth.

Based on the overall reduction in tax revenue, if applied proportionately, public schools would be cut $750 million, and higher education $150 million over a four-year period starting next July.

Overall, the Legislature's research staff projects the tax cuts will create collective budget shortfalls approaching $2.5 billion over the next six years.

The state is decreasing its individual income tax rates for 2013, with the top rate dropping to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent. Also, the state will exempt the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from income taxes.

Brownback has said the tax cuts will boost the economy and create jobs and that his administration will propose the necessary adjustments to state spending.

"No amount of inaccurate scare tactics will changes the facts. For the first time in years Kansas is adding jobs. We turned a $500 million deficit into a $500 million ending balance," Jones-Sontag said.

Democrats have said much of the ending balance at the end of the last fiscal year was the result of the temporary state sales tax increase that was approved before Brownback was elected.

And the KEPC, a not-for-profit group that includes businesses, trade organizations, chambers of commerce and others, said the tax cuts signed into law by Brownback went too far.

"It is obvious to KEPC and many others, including respected conservative legislators who favored some kind of income tax cut, that there are serious consequences to this legislation. They include likely significant cuts to education and other state services," the report said.

In addition, some tax credits and programs aimed at helping low-income Kansans were eliminated by the massive tax cutting plan. Davis said the elimination of those provisions was "absolutely reprehensible."

One of those tax breaks eliminated was the food sales tax rebate, which means Kansas will join Mississippi and Alabama as the only states that levy a tax on food and don't provide a break on that tax to help low-income residents.

On the jobs front, the KEPC report said Kansas would have to add 550,000 new jobs over a six-year period to make up for the projected revenue shortfall. That would be a 50 percent increase in jobs.

"Kansas would have to grow over 5 and a half times as fast as Texas has been growing to get to a zero ending balance," the report said.

Related to school funding, Davis and Hensley also criticized Brownback's formation of a task force that will focus on trying to find efficiencies in school spending.

None of the 10 task force members appointed by Brownback currently work in the education system. "Our children are simply far too important to bet their futures on a group of individuals with little or no education experience," said Davis. Jones-Sontag said the governor wanted finance and budget expertise on the task force.


Paul R Getto 5 years, 7 months ago

Will the last person leaving KochKansas please turn out the lights?

James Nelson 5 years, 7 months ago

You sound like you would prefer CEOs making a trillion times more than the average production worker at their company? How about a septillion times the average worker's pay? Is there no line upon which you, too, would agree that executive pay is too much?

I can tell you where we are headed. Smart stockholders will start tossing out every member of the compensation committee currently found on every board of directors. To keep this from happening the execs and board members had better own over 50% of the stock. Such is not the case very often. Then board members will start refusing to be on that committee. Then, finally, they will start the executive pay rollback.

Fossick 5 years, 7 months ago

"I can tell you where we are headed..."

One can only hope you are correct, as that is the best possible solution to the abuse of shareholders by piratical management. Unfortunately, I suspect that the fact that mutual funds hold a plurality if not a majority of shares and that individuals shareholders are themselves a minority means that late-stage, statist capitalism will continue to consume itself.

riverdrifter 5 years, 7 months ago

I bet you couldn't afford to stay there.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, why on earth not?

If the correct response of those who dislike Brownback is to move from KS, then the correct response of those who dislike Obama would be to move to another country, right?

Kathy Theis-Getto 5 years, 7 months ago

50 percent or so does. Total staff costs are probably 70-80%.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

Education is a people business. Typically, 90% or more is for salaries. They might not be teachers' salaries, however.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

My experience was just the opposite. Though it was a religious school, the religion wasn't pushed on my family where religion was not important. On the other hand, the education far, far exceeded the public school.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

No. Your child is two grade levels above typical peers. There are public school children "two grade levels ahead," too. I'm a fan of the Montessori method, but let's not pretend it turns water into wine.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

There's nothing wrong with a religious school. Many of them offer great educational experiences. But what you do have when you choose to go to a school outside the system is a school with motivated parents and a relatively homogenized student body of well-behaved children.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

A school with motivated parents and well behaved children vs. a school where I had to make an appointment to see the principal when my child was assaulted. It really boils down to providing an environment that is conducive to learning vs. an environment where multiple obstacles exist that need to be overcome before a good learning environment can take place. And if the obstacles can't be overcome, then my child suffers the consequences. I choose not to roll the dice with my child. But what makes this country great is that you can make whatever choice for your child.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm not saying I blame you for your personal choice, because I'd have probably done the same in your shoes, but please don't generalize that to be the experience of all public schools. It was your experience at one public school during one year.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

I feel for your situation, and would certainly have taken my child out of that school as well.

But, having to make an appointment isn't the real issue to my mind - it's the lack of an adequate response from the principal, like some consequences for the kid that punched yours, and some way to ensure your child's safety, right?

I agree with the rest of your post.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Tuition at private schools rarely pay the full price. Usually, there are multiple fundraisers year round. And they count on volunteers for yard duty, sports coaches, helping serve lunch, etc. If you are sending your child to a private school, you are probably engaged in one or more of those activities. Good for you.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Or stop paying for school buses or special ed services. Those things add up, and they're not expenses incurred at the same rate for private schools.

deec 5 years, 7 months ago

Does the private school have any special needs students? What is the education level of the teachers? What is the teachers' pay? What is the pupil-teacher ratio? Does the school have a library and school nurse? Are parents required to volunteer in the classroom? Does the school receive federal or state funds to subsidize, for example, school lunches?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I recall my one year experiment sending my child to a public school. My child came home one day, having been punched in the face by another student. I went to see the principal first thing in the morning, but was told the principal only sees parents by appointment. I waited. When seen, I was told the child that did the hitting was in an anger management pod half of each day and there really was nothing else that could be done. So ended my one year experiment. All the other 12 years of K-12 in the private school, I never even heard of a fight, much less my child having been hit. Yes, I volunteered frequently so feel confident that had a fight happened, I would have known.

I don't know if this anger management child qualifies as a special needs child, deec. What I do know is that my first obligation is to my child. Further down the list comes him and his needs. I never received a voucher and oppose them now. I support increased spending on schools, even if it's just a hope and a dream that the extra money will provide a better education. I truly wish them the best. But the reality is that today, public schools suck. And they've sucked for a long time. And the sucking is by no means limited to Lawrence or Kansas. There are some small pockets of good schools scattered across the country. But the vast majority suck. I wish it were not true. But it is.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I absolutely agree. Public schools must accepts anger management kids, children whose parents couldn't give a flip about education, every sort of problem that exists in society. I can't solve those problems. I'm not even convinced the professionals in the field can, though I wish them the best.

But again, my first obligation is to my child. To send my child to a bad public school when I could send them to a better private school would be a disservice to my child.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 7 months ago

One punch to the kid and you bailed on public school? Run away to solve your problems. What a great life lesson.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

How many punches would have been acceptable in your mind before I made the decision to pull my child? Of course, that wasn't the only reason, just one of many. There was no homework assigned for the entire school year. There was no summer reading list.

Many jobs have a dress code. A good life lesson might be a dress code. I prefer having one. Many jobs expect good behavior and consequences for bad behavior. I expect the same. The public school did not.

One day my child came home and when I asked how math went that day I was told it was boring because they always had to go at the pace of the slowest child. Actually, quite perceptive for a child. Unfortunately, it's true.

It all boils down to this. The expectations at public schools are much less and the children live down to those expectations. Conversely, the expectations are higher in private schools and the children live up to those expectations. For my child, the correct path is the one I chose. For your child, you can teach him/her to fight back or deal with the bully in whatever way you choose.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

There are public schools that require uniforms, btw. They're just not the norm here. I'm a fan of school uniforms, but I'd argue that it's not really career prep.

There are public schools that give kids homework, group kids by ability, individualize assignments, and raise expectations. Some of those schools are here.

LIke I said, I've got no beef with your choice to attend a private school. There are some great private schools here and elsewhere. But statistically they're not actually any better than the public schools when you correct for socioeconomic status. In fact, our public schools are the best schools in the world (other than China, and pretty much nobody counts China except China in these equations because they game the tests). That's right, the best in the world - when you only look at the schools with low rates of free and reduced lunches.

When the school doesn't have to deal with the problems of poverty on top of the problems of teaching, the school has time to give the kids the attention they need.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, I think it's an excellent lesson.

His child learned that his father, at least (unlike the school officials) cares about him and his safety/well being, ability to be in a constructive learning environment, and acts on that to make sure it's what happens.

Sounds like a very responsible parent to me.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

And just to point this out, when you refer to it as your "one year experiment," it sounds like you were already primed to have a bad year. Your student was punched one time by one student. The principal was not as responsive to the situation as you felt he should be, probably because he had to get his legal ducks in a row. Yay litigious society and regulatory hurdles. That doesn't mean your child wouldn't have had a great year if the hitter hadn't been attending a different school.

I'm not saying you weren't perfectly justified to think of the safety of your child and remove them from a situation you felt was a potential threat, but you're using it as anecdotal justification for a statement of opinion not fully backed by the numbers. The success rate of the students at schools, whether private or public, is largely determined by the socioeconomic status of the student body.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

You did see the no homework for an entire school year. No summer reading. Basically, no expectations whatsoever. I was hoping for a good public school experience. That it turned into a one year experiment was unfortunate.

I agree that socioeconomic status plays a huge part in a child's success. However, that socioeconomic status frequently is based on the parent's level of education which in turn plays a huge role in their attitudes towards the importance of education. Unfortunately, that is something no school can influence. Either the parents have it or they don't. Those that do tend to congregate in private schools.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Already answered you. You just ended up in a school that did not meet your expectations.

There are schools here that have homework, though there's considerably differing opinion on the efficacy of homework, even among education researchers. I'm personally not a fan of homework for homework's sake, but I like the idea of engaging activities that can extend the learning day - and that also depends on motivated parents and students.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

I would have done the same as jhf on this one.

It's not just the fact that his child was punched, it's the lack of adequate response by the principal of the school.

There should be consequences for behavior like that, if we want to discourage it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"The system is broken and someone is stealing a lot of money."

That's a pretty bold statement. That means you must have a very specific list of what needs to be eliminated, and who is stealing all of that money.

Please, let us know exactly what you'd cut.

Enlightenment 5 years, 7 months ago

I would also ask how much Federal funds, training, and other forms of assistance this private school is getting that help off-set your private tuition.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

Not a good comparison. Tuition does not cover the cost of education. The school probably has endowment and other fund raising sources.

paulveer 5 years, 7 months ago

My special needs grandson was squeezed out of Raintree, as they didn't have the resources or patience to provide for him. It was much the same at St John's. He's now getting much more of what he needs in a Lawrence public school.

BigDog 5 years, 7 months ago

Scott ..... Which one of you reporters is not correct in their information?

Topeka paper says the cuts are based upon 5 years budget and you say 3 years of budget. That is significantly different.

Fossick 5 years, 7 months ago

"Scott, wouldn't it be easier to have Paul Davis write your GOP hit pieces for you?"

They're not really difficult as the template for the "Democrats' plainte du jour" story is already there:

1) Democrats or Democrat-leaning group holds a press conference saying that Brownback's tax cuts cause diarrhea, pyorrhea, and gonorrhea.

2) Vague statement of Brownback that sort of contradicts #1

3) Detailed rebuttal of #3 by group #1

4) Other complaints and talking points to provide enough length for publication.

If you want to see the template in action, you can see it here: or here:

It's essentially the same story and can be seen on a 3-day rotation. There's simply no need to interrupt Mr. Davis' busy schedule.

James Nelson 5 years, 7 months ago

I am not even sure of what he just said.

Fossick 5 years, 7 months ago

Don't worry about it. It's rubbish anyway.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Neither WOMEN nor Republicans nor Democrats nor the Upper Middle Class/Middle class can afford this RINO Party posing as republicans.

James Nelson 5 years, 7 months ago

If we do get spent into bankruptcy, it will ONLY be because Sam's tax cuts were most unwisely too deep.

Armstrong 5 years, 7 months ago

Another "sky is falling" piece by Rothschild. Who would have guessed

Fossick 5 years, 7 months ago

He's trying to win the LJ World scary story contest.

James Nelson 5 years, 7 months ago

I just read in another article that new Kansas Labor Secretary Lana Gordon says unemployment figures in Kansas are looking up and we are adding jobs. Did anyone else wonder just how big the carrot was to convince her, as an incumbent, to drop out of the republican primary this summer? Sam delivered for her didn't he? There are some out there who might think that makes her an instant expert on unemployment issues, statistics, etc. Some might even go so far as to think that since Sherriene Jones-Sontag, the Governor's mouthpiece, has also said things are looking up employment-wise in Kansas that it must be true. Of course, this is the same lady who tries hard to convince everyone that independent studies showing the harsh realities for the Kansas state budget during the next few years are just plain full of it.

Readers would do well to realize that Sam Brownback is virtually calling every shot at the state level these days. He does not trust any department head and absolutely rues that some elected officials who actually do their own thinking are not beholden to him. We should also remember that Sam does an atrocious job of forecasting job growth. Remember his trying to start counting the hundreds of workers at the new Mars plant in Topeka that would not even begin their employment for 2-3 years. That must have been a most fateful week for Sam because at about the same time Wichita's largest employer announced that several times the number mentioned at the new Mars plant were to be laid off in Wichita. But we never heard Sam come back and revise his figures down. Why not, Sam? Collective Brands (Volume Shoe), right here in Topeka, said they were cutting Topeka jobs way back. Sam never revised his figures then, either.

Is it any wonder that a growing number of Kansans are learning that the truth doesn't always flow from his lips. Sam likes to leave favorable impressions but rarely the ultimate truth, even when all independently gathered evidence is stacked against him. Such deception will make him a one term governor. Kansas voters are not as masochistic as he thinks they are.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 7 months ago

Screwing the school district again I see. I guess uneducated children will make great Republicans someday.

Fossick 5 years, 7 months ago

Nice little bit of mythology, but the facts are that a person with a less than high school education is far more likely to be a Democrat than a Republican. A person with a graduate degree is more likely to be a Democrat than a Republican. So if the Republicans were about making little Republicans, they would get you some college - maybe even a bachelors but no more. Of course, they would also make you rich, since the poor tend to be overwhelmingly Democrat.

2006 was a particularly Democratic year - hell, even I voted Democrat that year - but still, these numbers are broadly in line with all the other data I've seen.

Don't try to make yourself feel better by assuming your political opponents are stupider than you are. If they're so dumb, how come they're winning?

cowboy 5 years, 7 months ago

"Sherriene Jones-Sontag, a spokeswoman for Brownback, said, "It must be getting near Halloween season with these Democrat scare tactics.'

While Sheriene may think she's being cute I am offended that this is the smart ass response to legitimate factual examination of the fiscal condition of our State. It's not your personal playground Ms. Jones. You are employed by the people , both political parties and in public comment you should conduct yourself professionally.

IMHO #SherrieneBlowsalot

Dave Trabert 5 years, 7 months ago

KSDE recently posted new spending per-pupil numbers for each district at

Total spending set a new record in 2012 at $5.771 billion. That puts total spending per-pupil at $12,656. State aid was $6,983 per-pupil, Federal $981 and Local $4,692.

Also, claims that school funding will be cut by $900 million are pure scare tactics. Both Hensley and Davis know that the Governor would never do that. Further, our dynamic analysis of the tax bill shows that only a one-time reduction of about 8.5% in general fund spending would cover implementation of the tax plan...or a two-year phase in of about 4.5% per year.

That sounds like a lot but it can be done by making government more efficient, not curtailing necessary services...which is exactly how many other states manage to spend a lot less per-resident than Kansas.

Fossick 5 years, 7 months ago

"...the Governor would never do that..."

That's the shame. The fact that we are spending $12,000 per kid per year is outrageous - for that money, we could just give each kid a $150,000 home when he turns 5 and call it even.

The $750 million in ghost cuts is over a multi-year period, meaning that it's not coming out of $5.7 billion, but $25 billion or so. If we can't cut 5% of that record spending, then public education is the most efficient enterprise the world has ever seen.

As a guy with 2 kids in the public schools, I really doubt that is the case.

Kate Rogge 5 years, 7 months ago

"dynamic analysis" Good to know they're going that extra step. Competing with Texas and Mississippi sounds like what the Governor wants for Kansas, and now every voice he hears agrees with him.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, I don't know a lot the governor wouldn't do these days, other than consistently display wisdom.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

Dave Talbert, The cost of education is a large chunk of the state's budget. Even from your perspective, the state will have to cut the cost of education while a new tax plan unfolds.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

There's also some domino aspects to cutting the state budget. My understanding is that we've lost some of our federal matching funds for special education - forever - for cuts that were made under Sebelius. If Brownback further cuts the funding, we could lose all of those funds forever, for a funding crisis that is temporary and later resolved. We won't lose the federal obligation to pay for those services.

weeslicket 5 years, 7 months ago

from D. Trabert: Total spending set a new record in 2012 at $5.771 billion. That puts total spending per-pupil at $12,656. State aid was $6,983 per-pupil, Federal $981 and Local $4,692

acording to your link (click the "state" button in the bottom right corner, folks; or go here: the "new record" was achieved because federal and local spending has increased by almost $1 billion over the past decade. state spending is up this year after lagging behind for almost half of that time (in contradiction of the KS supreme court's direction to the legislature to increase funding according to the kansas state constitution).
now mr. trabert, remind us how all those half-a-million school aged kids can earn back all those lost opportunities due to the loss of constitutionally mandated STATE funding.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 7 months ago

Just cut sports out of public education! That will more than offset any decrease in State aid. No more Friday night football games and no basketball games in the winter. That will save lots of money.

Kathy Theis-Getto 5 years, 7 months ago

That would save 2-3 cents on the dollar. Car repair shops and purveyors of spirits would appreciate this. If the goal is to spend less overall, this will not help.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 7 months ago

Kathy Getto, I personally agree with your observation.

I wanted someone to point out that it is really a marginal cost, but one that be a necessary cut if resources make it a question of funding academics or athletics. Many wanting lower taxes will be disappointed if their local community no longer has high school sports.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Also worth noting - the Lawrence portion was 11,524 per pupil. If Lawrence were above the mean in per pupil spending, I suspect he would't have used the state average.

cowboy 5 years, 7 months ago

Dave Trabert , professional troll for hire

Lets step back a couple steps. Now we are discussing the school cuts , what school cuts ? Holy Sam said that businesses would Flock to Kansas and those job Creators would unleash their buckets of capital and Kansas would become the Garden of Eden.

We need to hold Savior Sammy's feet to the fire. Unfortunately in Kansas there is no opposition party , and Savior Sammy is actively purging any republican moderates from the party even employing professional propaganda spreaders such as Mr. Trabert.

IMHO #brownbackblowsalot&TrabertblowsalotasdoesSherriene

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

I recall our paid Koch and ALEC spokesperson also claiming that rattling the magic supply side stick would make the business all come a courtin'.

But don't you worry. They'll have excuses for us about why the Laffer magic didn't bring business Tinkerbell back from the dead. I do believe in fairies! I do, I do, I do!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Public Education is a strong player in new Economic Growth yet republicans starve the system of funding which starves our teachers of resources. Which starves the desired level of education = stealing from our children’s future.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

OMG - I actually agree with Merrill. See what happens when you post a comment that does not include a long diatribe that is really nothing more than a cut and paste. People actually read it. That said, another example of stealing from our children, and their children as well is the huge deficits we are leaving them. We need to pay for schools now, to ensure we are giving future generations the tools they will need. We need to pay for whatever we need now, and not leave that debt for them to pay.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Keep yelping and we will get an extension of the sales tax increase and maybe even an increase in it. Republicans like sales taxes as they are in general regressive meaning their supporters don't get hit as hard as people with lower incomes.

Wonder how we got to the point where one party protects the 47% from tax increases while trying to tax the other 47% while the second party tries to do the reverese. To the victors go the spoils. Hexx of a way to run a country.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Don't retirees usually vote for Republicans? Lazy 47% bums! Get a job, Grandpa!

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm just pointing out that many of those "47%" are, in fact, members of demographics that traditionally vote for Republicans, so boiling it down as majority representation is a bit misleading. I suspect there are a few voters in for a rude awakening when their taxes go up in ways they didn't expect.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Which one are those?? Poor seniors? working-class whites? College professors (whoops they are not part of the 47%). There is little or no data that correlates tax payments and voting patterns.

What there is relates poverty to party affiliation

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

If it were that simple (poverty and party affiliation being the only factor), Mississippi would be the bluest state in the union. In fact, of the ten poorest states per capita, only one voted for Obama in 2008 (North Carolina), and polls say it will go to Romney this time. People vote on issues other than whether or not they'll personally see a difference in taxes, and sometimes they're just uninformed.

Over 10% of the people who owe no federal income taxes are seniors. Seniors, as a bloc, are far more likely to vote for the conservative. I've heard interviews with many seniors this cycle who paid no taxes and still planned to vote Republican. I personally know people who owe no taxes but do not consider themselves part of that 47% because they pay payroll taxes. I guess it's right up there with the "No socialized medicine, but don't touch my Medicare" signs.

Furthermore, while they may be voting themselves tax hikes this cycle, it hasn't always been so. Reagan may have pushed for lower benefits, but he also passed policies to eliminate taxes on the very poor, and the EIC was long championed by Republicans. It wasn't until recently that taxes on poor people suddenly became a good thing. I find the entire attitude to be very odd, frankly.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, my perception of you improves.

The term social conservative has been bandied about. There are relatively poor seniors who vote a social ticket. There are relatively poor non-seniors who do likewise. There are many poor voters who trend democratic (by district). Of course there are many other ways to parse the electorate. Trying to ascribe a particular voting pattern to tax payments is at best problematic once beyond general statistics as I posted (poor districts tend to vote democratic). I am not sure the other way as one of the richest districts in the country voted democratic in recent elections.

My point is that there are too many non-poor not paying federal income taxes. IMHO that is not a good thing for our democracy as people who have no stake in an argument are less involved in its resolution. In tying into the payroll tax point you made, would it not be helpful to many low income families if we did away with payroll taxes altogether, funded Medicare and Social Security from general revenue and means tested it. If somebody promised me that platform and I made $45K a year I would sign up in a minute and that is my point. The result would be massive income redistribution from the upper half of the middle class to the lower half. If we are to all be equal in outcome as determined by the government why work hard to accumulate wealth. That would be a radically different society. Is that what is desired?

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

No, there aren't too many non- poor not paying federal income taxes, unless you count the wealthy with creative tax write-offs. Only 8% of the population pays neither payroll nor income taxes, and those are mostly the very poor.

No, I wouldn't do away with payroll taxes, but I would do away with the cap on SS contributions. If we did away with the payroll taxes and converted it into a redistribution system, too many people would feel tempted to remove the programs once they'd accumulated some personal wealth and set aside a nest egg. I've got a nest egg, but I'm not going to turn down my SS checks, because I earned those. See what I mean? Means testing SS benefits and raising the retirement age are lousy ideas.

EIC was always championed by conservatives in the past because you have to work to be earning EIC. It's not welfare. It's a means to get by with very low income. But we might also do better by insisting on regular increases in minimum wage.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Good thing I don't need your approval, your sense of humor, or your ability to detect sarcasm in order to post here, as all of those things seem to be defective tonight. I hope you have a good night's sleep and wake up refreshed and with a renewed sense of perspective on the important things in life, including whether or not a local newspaper's discussion board is really one of those things.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Just an endless challenge with little hope. My limited understanding precludes how what IMHO is misguided tax policy relates to my sense of humor or ability to sort from the written word the sarcasm you apparently perceive you employ.

The issue was tax policy in Kansas and by extension the US. Exactly how my defects are germane is puzzling???

Or perhaps you are incapable of defending a position on the subject beyond demonizing those who hold other opinions.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Unless you post under two IDs, this comment wasn't directed to you....

Never mind. I see that the moderators decided to delete the previous comment, so I can see how you'd make that mistake.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Not a mistake - you are in the thread related to my "meaningless" input.

And I was starting to agree with some of your ideas.

bd 5 years, 7 months ago

I can just see Paul & Hensley running around screaming "THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING" What a couple of nimrods!

Tea anyone????

gravitykills 5 years, 7 months ago

Schools used to be funded by property taxes. At least then school districts knew their limits.

I don't like to pay more, but if that's what it takes, what's wrong with going back to property taxes?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

The argument against that is that in school district with high property tax valuations, there would be more money going to those schools. Conversely, schools in low property tax areas would get less.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

legal action to balance funds (Virginia, Texas and others). At least our legal efforts are at increasing the pot not moving it around.

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