Archive for Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brownback seeking end of property tax deduction for homeowners

January 23, 2013


— Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to eliminate two popular state income tax deductions for homeowners, and even some of his conservative Republican allies in the Legislature said Wednesday they were surprised to learn he’s targeting both.

Legislators in both parties said they weren’t previously aware that Brownback seeks to end an income tax deduction claimed by Kansans for the property taxes they pay on their homes. He also proposes ending the deduction for the interest paid on home mortgages. Each tax break is claimed by more than 300,000 taxpayers.

The two proposals are part of Brownback’s broader plan to keep the state budget stable after aggressive income tax cuts last year while allowing Kansas to reduce individual income tax rates further. He wants to keep the state’s sales tax at its current rate, rather than allowing it to drop in July as scheduled by law, but his plan also includes a second round of reductions in income tax rates and provisions for automatic income tax cuts in future years.

Legislators saw more details Wednesday, when the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee agreed to sponsor a bill containing Brownback’s plan and Budget Director Steve Anderson briefed the budget-writing Senate Ways and Means Committee. The governor’s proposal to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction received widespread attention last week, but there’s been little notice given by legislators to his plan to eliminate the property tax deduction.

“That was news to me,” Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said, echoing comments from other prominent conservative GOP lawmakers.

Brownback’s office noted the proposal to eliminate the deduction for property taxes in documents it released last week after the governor’s annual State of the State address, but he didn’t discuss most of the details of his tax plan in his speech. Anderson told reporters that the measure came from the Department of Revenue and “was put in without me.”

Asked about that comment, Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said: “It’s the governor’s tax plan.”

Kansas’ aggressive income tax cuts last year have drawn notice from Republican legislators and governors in other states, including Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Kansas reduced individual income tax rates, boosted standard deductions and exempted the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from income taxes as well.

But the reductions also left Kansas with a projected $267 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year beginning in July. Brownback outlined his proposals last week to eliminate the two popular income tax deductions for homeowners and keep the sales tax at 6.3 percent. Lawmakers and Brownback’s Democratic predecessor as governor boosted the sales tax in 2010 to close a previous budget shortfall but promised it would drop back to 5.7 percent after three years.

Anderson said the governor is trying to phase out individual income taxes while preserving core government programs and retaining healthy cash reserves. Brownback proposes to decrease rates again over the next three years. Also under his plan, rates would automatically drop further when state revenues grow more than 4 percent in a year and the state has healthy reserves.

The budget director called it “a glide path to zero.”

But Masterson said it will be difficult for Brownback’s administration to sell eliminating the property tax deduction, just as he and other lawmakers see resistance to eliminating the mortgage interest tax break.

Koranda said about 372,000 of the state’s 1.4 million taxpayers use the property tax deduction, with an average tax savings of $125 expected for this year. About 315,000 claim the mortgage interest deduction, with an average tax savings of $300.

The administration projects that eliminating the two deductions will raise an additional $231 million during the fiscal year beginning in July. Keeping the sales tax at its current rate would generate $262 million.

Brownback’s administration argues that ongoing decreases in income tax rates and last year’s increase in standard deductions for married couples and single heads of households will make the two deductions for homeowners less important.

But Rep. Tom Sawyer of Wichita, the ranking Democrat on the House Taxation Committee, predicted the proposals will hit middle class families hard. He wasn’t aware of the measure to eliminate the property tax deduction until a reporter asked him about it Wednesday.

“No one’s talked about that,” he said. “Wow.”


irvan moore 5 years, 5 months ago

wow, take that housing market rebound and kiss it goodbye

Currahee 5 years, 5 months ago

If a savings of $300 is all it takes for you to not maintain your housing and lifestyle, maybe you shouldnt get a house in the first place. You complain that he cut taxes and now you complain he increased them? Make up your mind.

Currahee 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't like how Koch does business but he DOES pull in money and employ thousands of people. What have you done in your life to contribute to something of that magnitude?

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

The Kochs have laid thousands of people off as they've made record profits. And that was before we decided that they didn't actually need to pay state taxes. If the poster above has never actually fired anyone as their income has grown, they're actually doing more to improve the the state employment numbers than the Kochs are, because zero is still higher than a negative number.

Currahee 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm not a Brownback lover, just a realist. Way to be presumptuous though.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't understand. Brownback wants to raise more money via the income tax by eliminating mortgage interest and property tax deductions, but his ultimate goal is to eliminate the income tax altogether. If we don't need any revenue at all from the income tax (such that it can be eliminated), then why do we need to increase revenue by eliminating deductions from the income tax?

James Nelson 5 years, 5 months ago

Only because he understands how he overshot with his income tax legislation last year. His legislative henchmen (er, buds) created future state revenue chaos and gave him more (but less income) than he asked for. Your premise is exactly right but he is trying to soften the shock to state coffers until he gradually gets everything he wants. His idea is a simple one - strangle the state budget by providing less revenues. This, then, gives him the supposed need to cut the budget to match lower revenue. Its all been so artificially done and unnecessary. He has intentionally manufactured chaos with the state budget, all to appease the rich.

usesomesense 5 years, 5 months ago

That's been my question for some time now. If he's truly trying to eliminate income tax the deduction would be a moot point anyway - you can't deduct anything if you don't pay anything. While I'm fiscally pretty conservative and a business owner that stands to gain personally from the things he's already done I strongly disagree for a couple of reasons. The original 'goal' of eliminating the income tax on business was to bring in businesses from out of state and/or encourage new businesses from within the state it should ONLY apply to NEW businesses and should have an expiration date of say 5 years. Also, shifting the tax base away from income and toward sales tax and basic property taxes (tax deductions for property that people actually LIVE in) ultimately increases taxes on the working class in order to allow those that hoard wealth and property to pay less. People that own multiple properties don't get deductions for their additional property - so no tax increase for them (other than the 1 house they actually live in).

Additionally I have come to the conclusion that the Brownback administration is trying to crash the state educational system. While I do believe our public schools have some significant issues (I know in our district alone the curriculum and testing of the same class in the same school with two different teachers can be VERY different - much less across the entire state) I don't believe that we experiment by completely ruining our children's (and our future) education to prove some kind of point.

I believe the intent is to 'crash' the state educational system so that the state can go to a voucher system that will primarily benefit those that opt for and can already afford a private education. For most Kansans the vouchers may only provide enough tuition for an educational system that is inferior to what we already have and it opens the possibility that even those vouchers are underfunded and the possibility of some children being denied any kind of real education.

Truthfully we do need tax reform. Those that earn the least should pay the least in taxes. Basic living requirements should be exempt when possible (a single 'basic' home shouldn't be taxed - say up to $100k) and there should be no sales tax on basic groceries and pharmacy items needed for daily living. We all have to eat and probably take medicines of some sort at some time.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 5 months ago

This is insane.

Maybe the suburban conservatives will finally wake up and see how bad of a choice Brownback is/was.

jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

Why would they do that, when they can just blame Obama?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Sam Brownback is not in touch with his colleagues only his immediate ALEC advisors. Whether or not anyone agrees with him is irrelevant. He may plan on on exerting his executive powers as in telling the legislature " go straight to hell I'm the dictator" .

Larry Sturm 5 years, 5 months ago

Time to pull in the reins on Brown back before he completely destroys Kansas.

average 5 years, 5 months ago

372,000 out of 747,000 homeowning households in Kansas take the deduction. 315,000 out of 473,000 mortgage-holding households in KS take that deduction.

While I am in that small category who has a mortgage but not enough income most years to bother itemizing, I'll admit that something the majority of homeowners deduct is hardly "only helping the rich".

oldexbeat 5 years, 5 months ago

No. But the Koch family probably only own one old paid for house. And they will attack property tax next, by the way. Only private Christain cult schools will survive and large cages called USDs...

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

What? Many middle income people own a house with a mortgage. Rich people can pay off their houses. The people who will be hurt are those who manage to own their house, but need that deduction for maintenance on their house. Obviously, toe, you are either young or uninformed about home ownership.

Andrew Dufour 5 years, 5 months ago

The point is that the poor/middle class who take this deduction need it. It disproportionately will affect the middle class in comparison to the rich. The amount of $ as a percentage of total income that this costs the middle class is significantly higher than that of the rich. They can lose this deduction w/o skipping a beat, just like they can eat a sales tax increase. It's not that this ONLY affects the middle class it's that it only NEGATIVELY affects the middle class.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm just curious - how many poor and middle class folks do you know who own their home outright, without any loans?

Charles Fogarty 5 years, 5 months ago

You are joking! This deduction helps the middle class. It's the only deduction left us.

James Nelson 5 years, 5 months ago

Go to hell, Sam, and take your poor and middle class hating legislative buddies with you. And stop with the Christian ruse. Its totally insane for you to think you have heaven all locked up for yourself because of your stance on abortion.

jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

YOU'RE attacking somebody else for a lack of class? The person who cheered for the destruction of liberal bastions in upstate New York during Hurricane Sandy? Pardon while I laugh loudly.

Tony Kisner 5 years, 5 months ago

Snakefist comment makes to much sense for our governor to understand. This is the governor picking winners and losers.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Have no fear the banking/real estate/building industry can probably bribe him into changing his mind..... which may well be his agenda.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

Looking at history, one might draw that conclusion.

average 5 years, 5 months ago

Let's be honest here. Nobody bases their decision to buy versus rent a house, or how much mortgage to take out, because they get an effective 4-6% discount on what they're paying (the effect of the state tax deductibilty... $300-$400 per household who bothers).

Orwell 5 years, 5 months ago

I certainly took it into account. The deductibility of mortgage interest and property taxes absolutely affected my decision, and now Sam has decided I have to give up that opportunity retroactively, all so his handlers can get even richer.


vuduchyld 5 years, 5 months ago

I did the math and I came up with $141,000,000. How do the Brownshirts get to $231,000,000???

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 5 months ago

That's what I got too. Do they think we're all so stupid that we don't even know how to check their figures?

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

The emperor has no clothes.

We all know by now what the agenda is---

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

There was no reason for us to not know what the agenda is. They came right out and told us before they were elected.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 5 months ago

And yes Kansans continue to vote against their own self interest. I think we are inside a cult here.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

Brownback calls for a progressive change in taxes (poor folks won't likely pay mortgage interest on the trailer they rent) and the left kneejerks with hate and telling us this is evil.

It's pretty funny.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Well, not exactly.

Landlords tend to pass on all their costs, if possible, so they may in fact raise the rents to cover this.

It is odd that he wants to lower taxes and raise them at the same time, don't you think?

jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

"You're nuts if you think otherwise."

Read his comment history and you'll have your answer.

Andrew Dufour 5 years, 5 months ago

No, what the liberals want friend is for the tax cuts and deduction eliminations to not disproportionately affect the poor/middle class. Slice it however you want but the combination of sales tax increases (and it is an increase since the tax is supposed to abate now), and deduction eliminations do affect the poor more than the rich. There is absolutely no contradiction in the progressive/liberal viewpoint on this. Tax cuts disproportionately help the wealthy and these deductions disproportionately affect the poor and middle class.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 5 months ago

I want to drink whatever koolaid Brownback is drinking.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't. I prefer being a rational being.

myavaka 5 years, 5 months ago

For over 120 years now, Republican (failed) fiscal policy has consisted largely of cutting taxes on the rich and raising them on everyone else. Originally called "Horse and Sparrow" during the time of 'Silent Cal' Coolidge (feed the horse enough oats and the sparrow should get some as it filters through to the road below), and subsequently named "Trickle Down" by Will Rogers about Hoover's economy, it has NEVER WORKED. Well, OK, it has definitely 'worked' to penalize low and middle-income Americans and engorge the coffers of the rich. Today, this malarkey is cloaked in "Job Creator" nonsense rhetoric. I just completely fail to understand how how rank and file middle or working class Republicans can buy this crap. It is eating them alive just like the rest of us.

Currahee 5 years, 5 months ago

This is the same mentality that got us the housing bubble and financial crisis. If this deduction will make or break your home purchase maybe you should think again before buying one. The banks were guilty, but people have also have just as much to blame themselves for taking a deal they didnt think twice about.

In_God_we_trust 5 years, 5 months ago

I would be in favor of getting rid of the personal property tax altogether. How about it Gov. Brownback? A great way to cut taxes!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Looks like again, taxes are great as long as you are not the one paying them.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

I think I hear the final death knell of attracting retirees to Lawrence.

lunacydetector 5 years, 5 months ago

as a born again liberal, i applaud any and all tax increases...everyone needs to pay their fair share so there are no haves and have nots.

jesse499 5 years, 5 months ago

Trouble is the haves are not paying and the have nots are not paying and every one in the middle keeps picking up more of the tab and we're running out.

streetman 5 years, 5 months ago

Hey -- eliminating these deductions will hurt those damn "rich" people more than the rest of us, since they tend to have larger mortgages and higher property taxes. That'll teach 'em to be successful!!

gatekeeper 5 years, 5 months ago

B.S. My inlaws make about that, own a Porsche, travel a lot and live a life of luxury in a home they paid off very quickly. Making $250K a year is rich. Making a million every four years while it takes me 20 years to earn the same.

If you make $250K a year and have no money left, then you need to learn how to live and not blow every cent of it.

Andrew Dufour 5 years, 5 months ago

Sorry Gotland but it's simple math. The fact is the mortgage interest and property tax deduction just like sales tax disproportionately aids poor/middle class individuals. I know there is some grey area between the wealthy (say 150k-400k) and the super rich (500k or more). In that middle wealthy range i'll grant that they could have a large/expensive enough house that the benefit of the deduction keeps up with their salary. i.e. someone making 75k a year getting both deductions would benefit just as much as someone making 200k because of the difference in the value of the homes. However, as you get higher and higher in the income bracket the home value and value of the deduction doesn't keep up with the income. Just like sales tax is regressive so too is the elimination of this deduction. If Brownback wanted to make this significantly less regressive all he would need to do is cap the home value at a reasonable amount and limit the deduction above that amount. That would permit the wealthy and middle class to continue taking a needed deduction but restrict it from the very wealth who frankly don't need it. If the intention of the deduction is to encourage home purchases and the housing market then it really only need be targeted at those who otherwise wouldn't buy the home.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

I know a couple who paid cash for a $700,000 home.

If I suddenly started earning $250k, I wouldn't know what to do with the money. Assuming the government would take half, having $125k net would give me a paid-for house in a year, and I would then be able to live on about $6000 per year. The rest would go in the bank. 12 years later, I'd retire and live on the interest, leaving that $250k job open for someone else to use.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

These are always fun.

Could you really live on $500/month, even without a house payment? You still have to pay taxes and insurance, as well as all other living expenses.

There must be a lot of rich people out there who don't know how to manage money, if LN is right about his view.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

Taxes and insurance are about $2400, but I could probably get my insurance bill lowered if I shopped around. Utilities are $1400, but I could probably squeeze a little more out of that if I never watered the yard and dropped the house temp a bit in winter. That leaves $2200 for everything else. I'd have to switch to an all-staple diet and make everything from scratch and make better use of public transportation, but I could mostly pull it off. It wouldn't be a luxurious life by any stretch, but it would work. And I said about $6000, so as long as I stayed under $6500 it wouldn't invalidate my claim.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

More power to you - I don't think I could do it.

I wouldn't want to eat staples, for one thing :-)

$200/month for everything other than taxes, insurance and utilities is pretty meager.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

The key to that is "suddenly." If you gradually grow the income, studies show that we tend to habituate to the extra wealth rather than saving it. I know I don't eat potato soup and ramen nearly as much as I did in college.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

"Mega rich" is relative. While it's certainly not going to turn you into a Rockefeller, having a $250k income is rolling in cash in this state, where the cost of living is relatively low and the average middle class resident earns five times less.

Alexander Smith 5 years, 5 months ago

HOLY COW.. I read this and WTF!. BrownB is a moron. How did ANYONE vote for this guy. He is going to destroy Kansas. He wants to cut this,, cut that,, to try and get our budget right. WHAT ABOUT THE STUPID capital restoration??? HOW LONG has the company been sucking 100s of millions of dollars out of our budget?

Also, for personal reason he rejected the funds to do the Obama medical stuf.. it was a huge amount of money and would of brought in a lot of jobs. As much as people may not like it, we need to boost the economy in KS and sometimes you have to do things that rub you the wrong way.

I am Republican and this guy is going to destroy us.

Centerville 5 years, 5 months ago

I'll look forward to the reasoning on this. Possibly it's to put downward pressure on property taxes...which would be a good thing.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

How are property taxes going to be lowered when state aid to students is already too low? If anything, property taxes will go up.

btsflk 5 years, 5 months ago

Obviously, the gov is trying to annihilate what's left of the middle class.

We were once middle class.

We get the message, anyone who is poor, infirm or old, either leave or die of neglect. The new and improved Ks is meant for the wealthy and corporate.

btsflk 5 years, 5 months ago

OOps, forgot to include children, and their teachers.

50YearResident 5 years, 5 months ago

Remember. this is the man who wants to be your next President, King Brownback, hail the King.

webmocker 5 years, 5 months ago

In other words, and this has probably been said somewhere in the messages above, Brownback reduced income taxes for all, eliminated them for businesses, small and large, and now plans to go back and raise them on the middle class.

leftylucky 5 years, 5 months ago

Sam is using kansas as a Opus Dei testing ground for their eventual takeover of the world.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

All you moochers have the option of moving to another state...just a thought. (Then those of us who actually pay income taxes wont have to carry you any more)

hujiko 5 years, 5 months ago

"If you don't like it, leave."

Great argument. Bravo.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Strangely, they don't apply it to themselves.

They hate Obama, but never move to another country.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

I can't think of what country would accept them. I think they are just stuck here and know it so they are mad at the world.

Steve Miller 5 years, 5 months ago

Browny sucks, here we go again, he is robbing us .. Only the rich will support Browny .. ( Brown eye),, LOL !!

jjt 5 years, 5 months ago

Brownback admirers, Republicans, Democrats and others, if you own a home pay attention. Mrs Thatcher did this in 1988 in the UK and collapsed the property market. Our sales dropped over a 6 week period by around 70%. It is not about a 1500 +/- deduction. It is about confidence. If the same thing happened here as did ion the UK then not only does confidence tank the property market and the value of your home but also has a real knock on effect on car sales restaurants, clothes sales etc. In the UK the market never really recovered.
My fear is the Brownback does not realise or does not care about what the impact of his policy might be. Mrs Thatcher messed this up by thinking she knew better than her advisers, her Chancellor is still alive and has confirmed it was a mistake "seemed like a good logical idea".

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

I have a house on the market. I hope it sells before all this nonsense passes.

William Weissbeck 5 years, 5 months ago

Is this just Brownback's cynical attack on government (any government) at all levels? Eliminate the state income tax and shift government services and education funding to the local level, BUT them make it more difficult for local governments to raise property taxes to offset the loss of revenue and added program responsibilities. What is the Koch Bros. secret plan?

Thekudude 5 years, 5 months ago

I come from a wealth family and I usually voice the protection of the wealthy. However, I am not wealthy. I noticed the Social Security withholding increase on my paycheck and my wife's compounded with changes in my flex spending. We are losing $250 per month as of January 2013. THAT AMOUNT OF MONEY IS NOTICABLE TO US! If I made 6 figures, I would make a cutback on one of my many luxuries. WE DON'T HAVE MANY LUXURIES!!
I agree with the fact that the middle class is vanishing. You are either well off and working hard to maintain it, or you are barely able to afford the normal American lifestyle and struggling to maintain that. You know, a house, a car, maybe 1 activity for your kids each month. Ridiculous.
Cut spending AMERICA! That's how we are getting by... We don't need rich idiots running the state and country. They are just out of touch with US. Otherwise you wouldn't take money from US to continue spending money on NOTHING.

David Reynolds 5 years, 5 months ago

Please forgive me, just please stop he class warfare dialogue.

THe issue is what is best for the USA & by extension every person in the country.

If you really want equity between government& its citizens, it must be responsive to we the citizens. Then demand & support "Term Limits". We have to stop the "power players in our governments", at all levels, who have been elected for too many years & become insulated from us. They become all about their party and not about the real needs of we the people.

The tax code needs to be changed in a sensible way providing not only equity but also provide long term stimulus to the economy.

Charles Fogarty 5 years, 5 months ago

The Republican war on the middle-class continues. And people will vote these plutocrats back into power again and again. Vote against your own self-interest as long as women cannot control their own bodies and Gays remain second-class citizens because all of that is what God wills. Buckley over half a century ago called America a nation of sheep because they just followed their liberal "shepherds" but now the sheep vote for the wolves and seem to like it. The sheep think they're free.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

As I've said before, I live in a state that has no personal income tax. As a consequence, the property tax on our home is quite literally a third of our monthly house payment..
I feel very sorry for Kansans and what you're looking at.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Cait, but paying property tax this way is much more fair, as, at least you can control your taxes somewhat by where you live.

I am looking forward to relocating to a state with out income tax for this very reason. I hate to leave where I am, but business is business. I need to control my costs, and I can do it somewhat with no income taxes and paying it out in property taxes.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

Let me amend that. I feel very sorry for the residents of Lawrence. YOU didn't elect these people to the state house. But man, are you feeling the consequences of others Koch addiction.

Armstrong 5 years, 5 months ago

Let me see if I can follow the bouncing logic ball.

Liberals like taxes for progams X,Y and Z.....

Liberals want taxes to be " fair "

Liberals do not like to be taxed to take care of programs X,Y and Z because it's a burden.

An across the board property tax is unfair

I could never be a liberal, way to hard to keep the contradictions straight

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I say we tax strawmen. You'd owe a lot of money.

Silverhair 5 years, 5 months ago

The rich benefit the most from itemizing because they have much higher amounts to deduct. The middle class will have lower itemized deductions, closer to the standard deduction. The big benefit to itemizing is realized by the wealthy though, which makes this proposed change a bit surprising.

Armstrong 5 years, 5 months ago

Disagree. Wealthier people tend to live in higher end homes therefore the propoerty tax they pay is higher based on what their home is worth. Along class lines as you suggest, itemizing and deuctions make it is a wash for all classes

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

A wealthy person is more likely to already be able to turn their income into "business income" and owe nothing in this state. They can't deduct from nothing, so the people who still have income tax are the ones most likely to take this deduction.

Armstrong 5 years, 5 months ago

The bouncing ball of liberal logic.

I want taxes for ... ( but not on me )

I want the benefits ( but I dont want to pay for them )

I want money to spend on ... ( your money )

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

The bouncing ball of conservative logic:

Make stuff up about others. (also known as the Eastwood Chair Syndrome)

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