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.


gravitykills 1 year, 6 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?


bd 1 year, 6 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????


George Lippencott 1 year, 6 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.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 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.


cowboy 1 year, 6 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


weeslicket 1 year, 6 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.


Dave Trabert 1 year, 6 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.


cowboy 1 year, 6 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


Ricky_Vaughn 1 year, 6 months ago

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


James Nelson 1 year, 6 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.


consumer1 1 year, 6 months ago

Paul Davis is such a panty waste.


Armstrong 1 year, 6 months ago

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


irvan moore 1 year, 6 months ago

property taxes are gonna be going up


SageonPage 1 year, 6 months ago

Paul Davis= Henny Penny. 'The Sky is falling! The Sky is falling! Shriek! Egad! Paul twisting his panties again! Our little Parrot on the Plains for Thug DNC National...Yawn. Paul Davis is a joke along with Hensley and Joan 'Big Wagon' Wagnon. Next hit piece please...


Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

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


rockchalk1977 1 year, 6 months ago

Scott, wouldn't it be easier to have Paul Davis write your GOP hit pieces for you? After all, you just spew Democrat red meat talking points with the sensational headline du jour. The LJW could just cut out the middleman and save your salary.


BigDog 1 year, 6 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.


Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 6 months ago

Just looked it up. In 2011 Ks spent $12,226 per student a yr. Really? I send my son to a private school for about $700 a month. This private school turns a great profit charging much less. The system is broken and someone is stealing a lot of money.


Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 6 months ago

I would like to see the current school budget and see where the money goes because its not the teachers.


JackMcKee 1 year, 6 months ago

Anyone seen David Trabert lately?


Paul R Getto 1 year, 6 months ago

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


Commenting has been disabled for this item.