Archive for Sunday, February 24, 2013

Revenue Secretary Jordan says Brownback cares about the poor

February 24, 2013


Gov. Sam Brownback's policies have frequently been criticized for hurting low-income Kansans.

From left to right,  Dole Institute director Bill Lacy, state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan on Sunday discuss Gov. Sam Brownback's tax policies.

From left to right, Dole Institute director Bill Lacy, state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan on Sunday discuss Gov. Sam Brownback's tax policies.

On Sunday, Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan sought to defend his boss, saying that Brownback is compassionate to the poor and that the governor gives money to homeless people on Massachusetts Street.

Jordan, who is Brownback's point man on tax issues, and state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, spoke on Brownback's tax policies during a moderated discussion before about 150 people at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Brownback's policies — cutting income tax rates while removing tax credits aimed at helping the poor — have been criticized as unfair to low-income Kansans. In addition, in 2011, Brownback tried to shut down the state welfare agency office in Lawrence but then changed course leaving the office open.

But Jordan said Brownback cares about poor people.

"I've been here in Lawrence with the governor walking down Mass Street with him several times, and I've seen him stop and give the homeless people money and spend 20 minutes with them, talking with them, asking them what he can do to help them," Jordan said.

"I just want to say from my perspective, we've got a governor that is compassionate for the low-income people. I know that has been in dispute. I know the media many times have not painted him that way, but I've watched him," Jordan added.

Holland said the tax changes Brownback, a Republican, signed into law and the ones he is proposing during the current legislative session will cause significant budget cuts while shifting the tax burden onto low- and middle-class Kansans.

"I personally believe this is a tax plan designed to benefit Charles and David Koch and it will hurt everyday Kansans in the long run," Holland said, referring to the billionaire brothers who run Wichita-based Koch Industries.

Last year, Brownback signed legislation reducing personal income tax rates, increasing the standard deduction and eliminating the income tax for 191,000 business owners.

This year, Brownback has proposed a plan to phase out the income tax, but that first entails eliminating the mortgage interest and property tax deductions for homeowners, and keeping the state sales tax at 6.3 percent when it is supposed to fall back to 5.7 percent on July 1.

Holland said "this tax policy is supply-side economics in spades," designed by economist Arthur Laffer, whom Brownback hired last year as a $75,000 consultant on the tax plan.

Holland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate tax committee, said the theory is that states without income taxes are economically outperforming states that levy an income tax. But, Holland said, that theory dissolves when looking more closely at the states.

Alaska, Texas and Wyoming, for instance, receive a large portions of their tax revenue from oil, gas or coal. Florida has a booming tourism industry.

But Jordan said South Dakota, which has no income tax, doesn't have a large oil or tourism industry, but yet is growing much faster than Kansas.

"We've got to stop a declining economy in the state of Kansas," he said.

Jordan said reducing income taxes will cause businesses to expand and help the overall economy. He said much of the benefit from income tax cuts will help small businesses hire more people or buy more equipment.

During the question and answer session, one of the members of the audience asked Jordan to elaborate on Brownback's feelings for the poor.

Jordan said Brownback's Cabinet has worked putting together meals with the Salvation Army in Lawrence and often has a service project to help a charity.

But Holland said Brownback's tax policies are hurting the poor. Last year's tax bill eliminated property tax refunds for renters and the food sales tax rebate. Keeping the state sales tax at 6.3 percent will also hurt lower-income Kansans, he said.

However, Jordan said the state needs to remove "social engineering" from tax policy and fund specific programs to help the poor.


Thomas Christie 5 years, 4 months ago

Really, Nick Jordan.You equate giving change to the homeless on Mass Street to helping the poor of Kansas? You are about as clueless as your boss.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

As more low income Kansans become homeless due to the governor's policies, they can count on the governor to make regular donations to them as they beg on Mass. street.

Noemon 5 years, 4 months ago

I could easily believe that Brownback likes the homeless; it would explain why he's so focused on creating more of them.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't doubt he really did do it. Especially if there were witnesses. Can anyone verify that they've seen him be charitable when he wasn't aware that someone was watching?

Bill Getz 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, I was nearby, giving volunteer rides to "homeless" citizens. The governor delivered a platitudinous lecture to a guy claiming to be a homeless, and then contributed all of fifty bucks to the Lawrence Shelter out of his own pocket. The paltry amount is understandable in that Brownback could hardly donate more were he to similarly endow each homeless shelter springing up throughout the state as a consequence of his policies, with more to come. This would be a matter for the state budget to address, but we cant have that, can we. I was also present at the Dole Center forum last evening. Jordan's invocation of this incident was one of the most mawkish and obsequious things I have ever seen a public official do on behalf of his boss. BG

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure he also sings the loudest in church. That doesn't mean his policies don't stink.

question4u 5 years, 4 months ago

Of course, in Kansas backwards land Slimy Sam is really a saint. He's a champion of the poor but is so misunderstood that only Nick Jordan knows his true nature. Big-hearted Sam is working tirelessly to make Kansas a better place for the poor by eliminating the earned income tax credit and raising sales tax on luxuries like food that the poor don't really need. He's helping the poor by letting minimum-wage earners shoulder the income tax burden for business owners who pay nothing. He's helping the poor by pushing to change the Kansas constitution to permit systematic underfunding of education in Kansas in ways that shortchange poorer school districts, and he's doing so much to improve the lot of the poor by recommending elimination of programs for at-risk students and Early Head Start programs. He's modestly tried to hide his love for the poor, but his resistance to expanding Medicaid makes his love shine through.

Sure, Bleeding Heart Sam is misunderstood by just about everyone, but Nick Jordan and Jesus know that he is really a male Mother Teresa.

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

Well done -- thanks for saving me the trouble of writing a sarcastic litany.

This all reminds me of how Reagan supposedly kept a checkbook in his Oval Office desk for a single purpose: cutting personal checks for a few thousand bucks each to those who wrote him relating their financial desperation.

As a species, we're always electing leaders with such stunted imaginations when it comes to the human condition. Sure, they'll of course acknowledge suffering when abject examples somehow stumble into their blinkered field of view, but they'll never willingly ponder what their rigid principles and "tough love" policies will inflict on a massive scale. Out of sight, out of mind. Tragic.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 4 months ago

You whiners just do not understand. Sam's C-Street Cult jesusperson will bust the unions, make the rich richer and bring in the new age predicted by Doug Coe. Just give him some time. The Cult's leadership heros, Stalin, Hitler and Mao cared about the poor too. Give magical economics a chance. This will all work out soon.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

So, reporting on a discussion between Brownback's main budget director and a local senator isn't news?

Armstrong goes to his favorite argument when he hears things he doesn't like. "Ah, just shut up!!"

Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

I typically save that argument for Boz posts

voevoda 5 years, 4 months ago

"However, Jordan said the state needs to remove "social engineering" from tax policy ." Really? Brownback's tax policy is all about social engineering. He has decided that people who work for themselves are much more valuable than people who work for others, and so he designed a tax policy to favor them. He has decided that wealthy people should be privileged over poor people, and so he designed a tax policy to favor them. He decided that people who have abortions are committing a sin, and so he designed a tax policy to penalize it.

Catalano 5 years, 4 months ago

Sorry I had to miss this cage match. Sounds like Holland won. What was the turnout, Scott?

oldexbeat 5 years, 4 months ago

trying to find out more about Nick Jordan's foundation -- For The Love of America is its name -- seems to not do anything but is listed often on his web sites ?? Anyone know more ? Seem operated out of his house.

UneasyRider 5 years, 4 months ago

First of all. Brownback would never walk down Mass, he might run into a Liberal and he couldn't stand that. The only money he gives to anyone, and that is the taxpayers money, he gives to the rich. His idea being it will returned to him disguised as campaign donations.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback Tax Plan Will Cost Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars, Despite Raising Taxes On The Poor

– The poorest 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 0.2 percent more of their income in taxes each year, or an average increase of $22.

– The middle 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 0.2 percent less of their income in taxes each year, or an average cut of $104.

– Upper-income families, by contrast, reap the greatest benefit with the richest one percent of Kansans, those with an average income of over a million dollars, saving an average of $6,528 a year.

The plan would cost the state $340 million in revenue, despite hiking taxes the poor. And Kansas already has a regressive tax system, with the poorest residents paying a rate more than twice as high as the richest 1 percent.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 4 months ago

brownback needs to head to wichita next to hand out change.

Last year, social workers and teachers found a record 1,733 homeless children in Wichita schools.

Educators who work with the families say many of the parents want to work and are neither lazy nor unintelligent.

“Many of these families have jobs,” said Cynthia Martinez, the school district’s liaison for homeless students. “We’re starting for the first time to see families where the parents used to work for Hawker, or the aeronautical companies, people who used to have good jobs but have now lost everything.”

Read more here:

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

Apparently the half million or so bikers who visit Sturgis for a week every August don't count.

chargeit 5 years, 4 months ago

We can only hope Brokeback runs for a second term. He will waste so much time and money campaigning, his agenda will have to take a backseat (assuming there is anything left to change after this year). Republican party better wake up and kick this psycho to the curb so we can return to sane, moderate politics. After term prediction, he jumps to the largest religious, right wing lobby out there.

sciencegeek 5 years, 4 months ago

Sure Brownback cares about the poor, as in, "let 'em eat cake".

Actions speak louder than words. But this crowd thinks that they can call an apple an aardvark and get away with it. And as long as most Kansans pay no attention, they can.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I care very much about the poor.

I could care less about the poor.

Both those statements are true. How can that be? Because the poor, like any other large group, are a diverse group of people with widely different circumstances. That they are poor is coincidence. Some are struggling mightily to change their circumstances and they should be given every opportunity to do just that. If given that chance, they would be hard working productive members of our society. There are others who have no desire to work hard and become productive members of our society. They live on the fringes because they choose to live there. Assistance given to them might help them in the short term and it might even make us feel better, but it will do nothing about eliminating their poverty. That will only come when they change their attitudes and make other choices.

Currently, we don't have a really good way of determining if an individual belongs to that first group or the second. And that is in no small part because those in the best position to make that determination have a financial incentive to not make that determination. We've come to a time and place where whole agencies, public and private, are terminally infected with enablers.

Brownback belongs to a group of radical conservatives who want to throw the baby out with the bath water. He wants to slash funds to those who would benefit from a helping hand because he believes some of those funds are being flushed down the toilet, spent on those who will never change. His mirror image, those radicals on the left, are content to flush that money away, knowing at least some of it will help those with the desire to change. In fact, they want to flush even more down the toilet on the theory that whatever that small percentage that actually reaches those who would change, more would reach them if we just flushed more away.

I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Nor do I wish to simply flush good money away. If those in the best position to make the determination of which people fall into which category, if they would cease enabling all who enter their offices and focused their efforts on those who could change, then the funds needed to help those who would help themselves would be there. Now, those funds are being siphoned off by those with no desire to change.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 4 months ago

Good idea, but this evaluation would cost money and resources

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

My thing is that I would rather help even those I dislike rather than see them suffer because they made a bad choice instead of all the good choices that I have made.(Sarcasm here.)

Disclosure, I was in the Salvation Army Shelter, which we affectionately called Sally's back in the old days, and there were people there I really did not like. But, I would not want them to be out in this weather. I give credit to God that I now have housing and have turned my life around. He gave me the strength to not give in to despair and give up,but to keep going every day when it seemed as though I was standing still. I don't think people realize the potency of despair and hopelessness.

To me every one of the homeless is a brother or sister deserving of help. When Peter was angry at someone he asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive. "Seven times seventy?" "No, Jesus answered. "Do not ask how many times you have to forgive. Forgive each time."

Now, I use this reference as I am Catholic, but I believe it would also be true of every faith, because just as we all have different names, but are all human, so we have many faith names but are all children of God.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I applaud your sentiments. And if charitable organizations, especially those that are faith based wish to follow your lead, I would applaud their efforts as well. Things like prayer and charity have no limits.

However, when it comes to public policy, I'm going to have to differ with you there. There are limits on how much we can spend on any one thing. Roads need to be built and maintained. Schools need to be built and staffed. Police, fire, hospitals, jails all need to be financed. The poor are also deserving of help, but that help cannot be without limits, both in how long and in how much. When we take that into consideration, then we all must know that for every dollar spent on someone who is not deserving, that's one less dollar being spent on someone who is. If there is no one making that difficult decision, then the deserving are being cheated out of what could really help them. And if the person who could make that decision has a financial incentive in not making that decision, well, that's the system we have now.

I think it's better that as a matter of public policy, we help only those who are trying their best to better themselves. The others can be served by the Salvation Army or the Catholic Church.

kevingray 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback's good, I have to admit. I wouldn't doubt he did on Mass Street what our Christian conservative governor did, when talking to the poor. Brownback can really hob-nob better'n most. I've interviewed him three times for Osawatomie newspapers (Graphic and Journal), and one of those times he and I got into a fascinating conversation about the Kansas Highway Byway Frontier Military Scenic Byway and Linn and Miami County history. Being a reporter, though, I was on my guard and sure enough he put his knowledge and his charm into overdrive. We both shared an interest and knowledge in Kansas history, particularly Eastern Kansas and so I had this moment to spend, listen, watch his eyes and listen to him up close. I continued to watch him work the room that evening. Like I said, the man's good. Oh and he listens. You ought to watch him listening, then asking questions, while taking folks in. Since then, he became governor, and I've listened to several people from Linn County apologize for having voted for him. They often start off by saying, "We didn't think he'd...but he went to Prairie View High School..." As for this article, look what the idea of compassionate conservatism has gotten us since the term was first coined.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

Slimy Sam the Sham cares for the poor.

I have to give that some space. Brownback is the leader of the Republican Terrorist party of Kansas.

He is the Tea-Bagger-In-Charge.

He doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone except his support from the Kochs..

That's what we got, Kansas...Ain't you PROUD!!!!!!!!!

Robert Greenwood 5 years, 4 months ago

There is that saying:

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a child to fish and he will feed the world.

Sam, you are no Mother Teresa.

jgkojak 5 years, 4 months ago

Stopping on Mass St talking to homeless people???

How he can help them is by not gutting our Mental Health system and safety net programs.

Is it more disturbing that Brownback is a self-serving political climber who is throwing the state under the bus to win a Presidential primary...

Or so completely ignorant that he really doesn't get it.

Larry Sturm 5 years, 4 months ago

I never saw anything in the news about Brownback walking down the street in lawrence. First he would be afraid of the dark community and the douglas county democrats.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Good gravy, I'm tired of seeing the fallacy of the golden mean. There isn't a mirror image argument to every situation. The philosophies of Eisenhower vs Brownback are not those of two extremist radicals. It's the philosophy of one extremist radical and one guy who would no longer recognize the party that once considered him to be a moderate conservative.

voevoda 5 years, 4 months ago

When Brownback gives a buck to a beggar on the street, he doesn't consider it to be undercutting that person's motivation to work. Instead, he feels virtuous, as though he has fulfilled Christian teachings about giving to the poor. But he is opposed to having the Kansas State government do the same as he has done personally on Mass Street--give money to the poor. In that case, he and his ultra-right-wing Republican cronies consider helping the poor to be a bad thing, claiming that it makes them dependent on handouts instead of motivating them to be self-sufficient. What what's the real difference between the governor handing out money to beggars and the government aiding them through social service programs? Only the latter is likely to be effective, and to help the recipients rise out of poverty. The former, Brownback's personal handouts, primarily helps him to feel better about himself; it doesn't do much to alleviate poverty.

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Matthew 7:15-16

Patricia Davis 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback loves the move to another state so we can be done with the lazy bums and continue so social engineer the Kockmeisters's agenda.

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Secretary? Yes sir? Take a note, please. On the morrow, inform the people that I care about the poor. Yes sir.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 4 months ago

Comparing giving change to the homeless on the street to social conscience is facile and sappy.

It actually highlights how little Brownback actually cares about the less fortunate and disabled.

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 4 months ago

His efforts would mean more if he reimbursed the taxpayers ~ or donated to charity ~ the hundreds of thousands of dollars he and his family have mooched from hard-working taxpayers to keep his poor little family farm afloat. I guess he's not a very good businessman, in addition to having a quite warped view of the meaning of charity.

George_Braziller 5 years, 4 months ago

And just when I thought the Brownback administration couldn't be more clueless one of his Secretaries comes out with comments like this. Did Jordan really think this was going to help Brownback's already dismal approval rating?

Paul R Getto 5 years, 4 months ago

I doubt it, George, but there aren't many arrows left in his quiver. Must be time to shoot the compassion one. I for one am impressed.

Lynn Grant 5 years, 4 months ago

Maybe Sam should visit all the dark spiritual areas and drop a 50 in each one. That would really show how charitable he is. If he wants to put his money where his mouth is he would reconsider most of the legislation he has the tea party working on.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 4 months ago

"However, Jordan said the state needs to remove "social engineering" from tax policy and fund specific programs to help the poor."

I would love Jordan to explain how eliminating the income tax on business owners while raising the sales tax is NOT social engineering? Business owners pay zero income tax, poor wage earners pay income tax AND a higher sales tax on their comparatively meager gross incomes. If Brownback loved poor people so much, I doubt he would be increasing their taxes to pay for an elimination of the income tax for business owners.

The real issue with the new tax policy is the asinine way it was structured. Almost any organization can be structured in a way that it can shield itself from Kansas income taxes. Eliminating the income tax will increase tax collections in the long run...? Riiiiggghhhttt. What we will probably end up seeing is a slight, if any, increase in business expansion and tax collections plummeting as every current organization in the state restructures to avoid paying the state income tax. In the end, only the wage earners will pay income taxes in this state.

Enjoy Kansas.

Centerville 5 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone else think it's odd that the Journal World didn't carry the news that this past Friday, HHS announced that it is cutting $761 billion from Medicare? No, take that back, it isn't odd - it's utterly predictable.

ScottyMac 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe they didn't report it because it didn't happen?

UneasyRider 5 years, 3 months ago

Why should any news site post as news something that didn't happen? Did Fox or Limbaugh provide this non-news lie.

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