Archive for Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Editorial: Tax impacts

The governor claims “the nation is watching” the tax strategy being pursued in Kansas. Are other states applauding or laughing?

June 4, 2013


The 2013 session of the Kansas Legislature ended with a whimper early Sunday morning by narrowly passing tax and budget bills that will have a profound impact on the state.

The nature of that impact, however, is the topic of considerable controversy among legislators and the governor, who can’t even agree on whether they raised taxes or lowered them.

Certain impacts, however, are clear, including the hit taken by higher education in the state. The state’s higher education system will see a funding cut of $66 million over the next two years. That includes reductions of $6 million for Kansas University, $8 million for the KU Medical Center and $6 million at Kansas State University.

The tax plan approved early Sunday cancels the drop to a 5.7 percent sales tax and replaces it with a 6.15 percent tax. Although earlier negotiations included a lower sales tax rate on groceries, no such measure was included in the final bill. Income tax rates were lowered somewhat, but those reductions will be offset by lower standard deductions for taxpayers and reductions in key deductions, including one for mortgage interest. The higher sales tax and lower standard deductions both fall disproportionately on lower-income Kansans.

According to legislative researchers, the approved tax plan will generate a net gain of $777 million over the next five years, but that falls far short of making up for the $4.6 billion in lost revenue over the same period resulting from last year’s income tax cuts. Gov. Sam Brownback continues to assert that this year’s measure can’t be construed as anything but a tax reduction for Kansans. He lauded the bills as a “fabulous package” that he said will make Kansas “not only the best in the country to raise a family but also the best to grow a business.”

A number of Kansans would beg to differ. High-quality K-12 education is important not only to families but to businesses seeking to locate in Kansas. Next year’s budget provides flat state funding for those schools with no provision for additional funding if the Kansas Supreme Court rules that the state isn’t meeting its constitutional obligation.

Businesses — especially the high-tech businesses Kansas hopes to attract — also need skilled workers. The huge funding cuts to higher education will make it harder to fill those needs. Cuts to the KU Medical Center will hamper efforts to get the new National Cancer Center off the ground, and cuts at Kansas State may impact its ability to support the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Wichita’s National Center for Aviation Training, which received $5 million in funding this year, will receive just $3 million next year.

How do these cuts support and promote business development in Kansas?

Brownback and some Republican legislative leaders proudly proclaim that “the nation is watching” what we’re doing here in Kansas.

So are Kansans, and many of them are worried about what they see.


verity 10 months, 2 weeks ago

One has only to read/listen to news sources from outside the state to know, that, yes, others do notice Kansas, particularly when we look foolish. And the Kochs are widely known outside the state. Their attempt to buy the Tribune Company, which owns The Los Angeles Times, has caused quite a backlash.

I haven't done research on where I would move because I'm too invested here and would lose too much by leaving. That's why I will stay and fight.


jayhawklawrence 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Kansas is interesting because we are going to be able to see up close how right wing government works.

You cannot hide it behind a smoke screen of anti-Obamisms. Even the hardest hearted voter will not be able to blame Obama for the negative results of the Brownback administration.

Bob Dole reminded me that there are intelligent people left on the planet and there is hope of fixing what is wrong in our political system. In order to do that, we have to prove the political strategists wrong because what they are saying is that winning elections is all about having the most money to spend. They are saying in private that Americans can be taught to beg, roll over and fetch a stick just like a trained poodle.

When we look at their numbers, it would appear to be so.

I would like to think that in the next election, the American people might want to prove them wrong.


Steven Gaudreau 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm curious as to what state all the unhappy Kansans think is such a better place to live? I'm not saying move there if you don't like Kansas because most of us realize that is not a realistic option for most and Kansas is far from perfect but I'm just curious of others opinions on what is the best state.


vuduchyld 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Kansas is a laughingstock now all throughout the land Make slashing cuts, hope for the best--that's the Brownback/Koch tax plan The corporate interests and the rich get their own special rules But why would a business move here when we won't fund public schools?

Welcome to Brownbackistan


parrothead8 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The nation is watching Kansas? Yeah, right. The only time the nation watches Kansas is during March Madness.


question4u 10 months, 2 weeks ago

No doubt there are people around the country who now find Kansas more appealing, but will they really leave Yazoo, Mississippi; Eunice, Louisiana; and Chunchula, Alabama to come here? More importantly what does Kansas gain if they do come?

The idea that educated people will be drawn to a state that doesn't value education is, to say the least, optimistic. The idea that educated people will be drawn to a state that doesn't value education and has positioned itself for a massive deficit goes well beyond optimistic. The idea that educated people will be drawn to a state that doesn't value education, has positioned itself for a massive deficit, and has just used its legislative session to work on turning the clock back to the 19th century is just plain ludicrous.

Who could possibly think that lawsuits over adequate funding for K-12 education and cuts to higher education would make Kansas attractive to any educated person, especially one with kids? That's like thinking that if you spit on your comb and slick down your hair people will treat you like Brad Pitt


none2 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Lets be honest most people outside of Kansas neither laugh nor applaud, they simply ignore. It's like the boy who cried wolf one to many times. You can may a fool of yourself only so may times, then people just turn their backs. Brownnose and his henchmen in political were put in power by majority voters because they want this mess.

People put characters like Fred Phelps down, but the fact is that he fits nicely in the fabric of Kansas which has become so backwards, selfish, and intolerant.

Would everything come up roses if tomorrow everybody voted for Democrats? No probably not. They have their own problems with overspending. What is truly missing is the voice of moderation. The voice that says the government cannot wipe your behind from cradle to grave -- you are going to have to learn to do that for yourself. Likewise though, government cannot turn their backs on roads, public education, secondary education, taking care of the truly destitute and frail elderly, etc and say fend for yourself.

Unless the moderates gain back control from these raiders, expect more of the same in the years to come.

Finally, there are plenty of good people in Kansas. Unfortunately, they either don't vote or their numbers are too small to make a difference.


LJD230 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Laughing!!!! But that is not an unusual response to anything relating to Kansas politics or the right wing ethos that dominates Kansas. Kansans elect and therefore deserve what they get from their leaders. So the choices are simple: vote them out of office or keep them.


Roland Gunslinger 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Sales tax supposed to be 5.7% will now be 6.15% = an increase Standard deduction reduced = an increase Mortgage interest and other deductions taken away = an increase


Karl_Hungus 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Ha, tax cut....I owed the same amount the last two years in Kansas ($2), so where is my cut...oh, yeah, earning a little over $40,000 a year does not allow me to qualify for that club..oh, and changing the law so that taxes stay above the 5.7% that was set and then throw in high taxes on groceries....

What is the matter with Kansas, I will tell ya, it is YOU....too many people who only vote for a stupid letter (R) when it goes against the greater good (including them). You can't blame the state of this State on the (D's)..well, you can, but you would fail....

I would plead with you guys who seem to enjoy shooting us all in the foot to stop as you, your kids and every one else will/are going to suffer, but you'd never get it


wastewatcher 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Human Capital is very portable. People go to the jobs. We do not have to grow and train our own talent. For years we have complained about the out migration of Kansas trained workers, maybe now we can turn that around and import talent as well as keep our Kansas trained talent home. It is worth a shot and it can and will work.


markoo 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I always have to giggle to see Dolph Simons, one of our city's leading conservatives, wonder with such shock in his paper's Op-ed how nutbag conservatives (who pride themselves on being "fiscal" of course) are seemingly unable to balance a budget while creating sweeping tax cuts that benefit primarily the affluent, big businesses, and gutting vital programs all in the same breath.

Where ya been, Dolph? You really that clueless?


Michael LoBurgio 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Congrats to Charles and David Koch, who made out like bandits during the 2013 KS legislative session. Just a few of their many accomplishments: 1) passing a $777 million tax increase on lower and middle income Kansans to get their own income taxes reduced, 2) slashing unemployment benefits, 3) subjecting TANF and unemployment benefit recipients to drug testing, and 4) stifling the political voices of Kansas teachers by disallowing automatic payroll deductions to their KNEA PAC.

Given the Koch's stranglehold on the KS Legislature, just thought I'd pass along an updated version on how a bill REALLY becomes law in Kansas. Enjoy!


kansas_cynic 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Answer: The rest of the country is watching, laughing and shaking their their heads in pity at the ignorance displayed by Brownback and his Koch-head legislators.


thinkb4utype 10 months, 3 weeks ago

do you realize what this sentence means: According to legislative researchers, the approved tax plan will generate a net gain of $777 million over the next five years, but that falls far short of making up for the $4.6 billion in lost revenue over the same period resulting from last year’s income tax cuts.

$4.6 BILLION in lost revenue (i.e. tax cuts) minus $777 increased taxes = nearly $4 BILLION TAX CUT...

Why are the LJWorld Editorial Board and especially Scott Rothschild afraid to call Brownback's tax policy what it is? A tax cut.

I for one appreciate being "allowed" by state government to keep more of my own money that i earned and spending it on what i local stores and restaurants who in turn will see increased revenues which they will either reinvest in their businesses or spend themselves... that increased spending will generate more sales taxes at the local and state levels...

it will be interesting to see just how much of an impact a $4 Billion tax cut will have on the economy...


Lawrence Morgan 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you for this excellent editorial. I'm VERY worried about Kansas and its future.


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