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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Democrats say tax cuts are tax shifts

March 24, 2013

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— Gov. Sam Brownback and his conservative Republican colleagues in the Legislature are pushing through tax changes that they call tax cuts.

But Democrats say that is not accurate.

While the Republican proposals would reduce state income taxes, or are at least aimed in that direction, those plans include tax increases in other areas that disproportionately fall on middle- and low-income Kansans, Democrats say.

"It's just a classic tax shift," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. "We are raising taxes on middle income Kansans in order to pay for tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy."

The tax plan approved by conservative Republicans in Senate would cut income taxes by $1.87 billion over five years, according to a comparison of various tax plans by the non-partisan Kansas Legislative Research Department.

But that plan keeps in effect the 6.3 percent state sales tax, which under current law is supposed to decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1. Brownback has also wanted to keep the sales tax at 6.3 percent. Making that higher sales tax rate permanent will cost taxpayers $1.5 billion over five years, the analysis said.

And higher sales taxes are more of a burden on poor families because the tax takes a greater portion of their incomes as compared with wealthier people. In addition, Kansas is one of the few states that charges the full sales tax on groceries.

The Senate plan also phases out most income tax deductions as income tax rates drop, which will increase tax revenue by another $910 million over the five years, according to the legislative staff analysis. Including some other proposed changes, the Senate bill would net the state $497 million in new revenues during the next five years.

"It actually takes more money out of the pockets of Kansas families than it puts in during the first four years of implementation," said Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City. "Even more disturbingly, the bill reneges on the promise that the Kansas Legislature made to sunset the temporary sales tax," he said.

The temporary increase in the sales tax was passed in 2010 by a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans to shore up the budget, which had been decimated by revenue shortfalls during the recession.

But Brownback and Republican leaders have argued for the past two years that reducing the income tax is key to stimulating the economy.

The plan approved by Republicans in the House allows the state sales tax to decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1 and would chip away at the income tax if annual state revenues increase more than 2 percent. Itemized deductions, such as the popular home mortgage interest and property tax deductions, would start to be reduced.

Davis has called the plan a $400 million tax increase because the lost deductions over five years will bring in more tax revenue than the proposed cuts, according to the legislative analysis.

Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, and chairman of the House tax committee, said that criticism was "highly misleading" because it did not take into account the lowered sales tax.

Carlson defended the House plan, saying that lower income Kansans will benefit by the reduction in the sales tax, and lowering income tax rates.

But Davis said the House and Senate proposals are being made simply to keep afloat last year's tax cuts signed into law by Brownback.

"It's a tax increase that is being forwarded because of this reckless income tax reduction bill that was passed last year that we cannot afford. It is way too big," Davis said.

Last year, Brownback signed into law cuts that exempt the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from income taxes. In addition, the law decreased the individual income tax rates, with the top rate dropping to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent, and the lowest rate from 3.5 percent to 3 percent.

Comments

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 9 months ago

You say: "Funny. Democrats don't seem to care about Obamacare tax increases, but are morally bullying Brownback for his supposed taxes."

Nothing funny and unfair taxes in Kansas. If Brownback can shovel it out he sure can take it.

The article is about Brownback tax increases, tax trasfers, and the continuing of the high sales tax. The article is about the continued sift of the tax burden in Kansas to the low and middle income folks and away from the high income. The article is not about Obama. Why change the subject? I am hoping an article is done about Brownback greed and the greed of his cronies who profit from Brownback's higher spending.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

Pity the poor, poor doctors. Falling into the grip of poverty they are. I've noticed the huge uptick here at the homeless shelter in which I work in KC. Doctors by the dozens there are pouring in taking up space previously needed by disabled vets, etc.. It must be swell to choose to go into retirement because of taxes. Kind of reminds me of Phil Mickelson who has earned $180,000,000 hitting little while ball around the golf courses of the world and lives in a 9800 sq. ft. mansion, but because of taxes, he is considering rethinking his career because he's just not sure it's worth it. It's really quite pathetic. Seems the requirement for being wealthy in this country is to be self-centered and ignorant of many great benefits this country provides via taxes. But after all, we are such a Christian people. Thank you for providing that little insight above as to why doctors chose to go into the field of medicine: ..."Most physicians have a pessimistic outlook on the future of medicine, citing eroding autonomy and falling income, a survey of more than 600 doctors found."

Fortunately for me, I don't get these vibes from any of my doctors. Perhaps they didn't see this cute little survey.

booksliveon 1 year, 9 months ago

Looks like a red herring to me, IKU57 ...... bwahahahahahaha!

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

According to the actual survey - I clicked through to find it, they had about a 2% response rate. That's considered to be abysmally low in research and indicates the possibility of sampling bias.

elliottaw 1 year, 9 months ago

sshhhhh they don't like facts, you will scare him

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 9 months ago

You continue to change the subject from Browback and state taxes to Obama. The article is about the Brownback policies.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 9 months ago

In case you did not notice the article is not about Obamacare. Don't want to talk about Sam?

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 9 months ago

How nice that the poor doctors can afford to retire.

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 9 months ago

Affordable Care Act extended free preventive care to 71 million Americans with private health insurance

http://shar.es/eytcW

skinny 1 year, 9 months ago

How about everyone just pay their own way!!! Problem solved!

Everyone always wanting something for nothing! That's not how it works!

No wonder some of Doctors in this town stopped taking Medicaid. Do you really think all these doctors went to school for ten years just so you all could have free healthcare??? NOT!

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 9 months ago

Cutting the income tax while at the same time keeping sales tax high and removing middle class tax breaks sure seems like a redistribution of tax burden to me.

The GOP want folks to believe that there is a free ride mediated by economic growth. Clearly this is not the case, and they clearly don't even believe it themselves.

Pity the poor Kansan. Abolishing abortion is so important to him that he will sacrifice his own economic well-being.

elliottaw 1 year, 9 months ago

Lets get rid of sales tax on groceries (1 of only 5 states that charge for it) and then meet in the middle on the sales tax, move it to 6%

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

Isn't it interesting how IKU57 has turned this discussion around to Obamacare, and not about how the new Kansas Republican party is waging war on the middle and poor classes, so their rich buddies can have their cake and eat it too. They will still get good roads to transport their goods (even though their trucks tear up the roads faster than your car), police who will protect their property (they have a lot more property to protect), and firefighters who will save their property from damage (again, they have more property), but they won't have to pay for it. You will pay for it for them. Who is really waging a war of classes? Wake up, people. And quit letting IKU57 distract you from the real issues.

Glenn Reed 1 year, 9 months ago

"Interesting" would suggest that it's not a typical thing. It's standard behavior anymore.

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

There is only so much money, period. It's not infinite. And it looks like the rich are going to do everything they can to continue to hold onto and take more from the rest of us. Oh, yeah, I won't have to pay as much in taxes anymore, since I own a business. Now I can donate more money to my liberal causes. Thanks, lawrenceguy40. Sorry, you'll have to pay more taxes to pay for the roads police, firefighters, teachers, etc. Granted, I'll be donating money to causes that help these people, but I doubt if other business people will do the same with their money. Oh, and I'm not going to come out ahead enough to hire another employee, so I guess that part of the "plan" won't work either. Hope you aren't looking for a job.

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

"You and people like you are clueless." Congratulations on winning today's irony prize.

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

And either there's a temporary glitch, or I've replied to someone who was disappeared.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Yep.

Looks like a rather long time poster is gone - wonder what he did?

Armstrong 1 year, 9 months ago

You are correct Tomato, there is only so much money, period.( not really but ok) The challenge is,(as it always has been) do you have the motivation to go out and get it ( conservative) or are you willing to take the scraps society will give you because you think it's owed to you(liberal). The choice is yours. Kind of like the old saying, It doesn't matter what they do to you, what matters is what are you going to do about it.

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

I work very hard and have done OK for myself. I don't think that removes my obligation to pay back into the system and give the next person a chance to get there, too. We can have discussions about what the most efficient and effective way to do that is, but please stop with the BS argument that liberals are all mooches.

Armstrong 1 year, 9 months ago

You're right, not all liberals mooch and not all conservatives motivated. Points to Choots

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you. I don't think all conservatives are mooches, either.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

Lawrenceguy40

You're wrong!. If you worked practically every day for 50 years like I did and saved like I did and paid into your retirement plan like I did and into Social Security like I did and contributed to society like I did and paid taxes on a good portion of that savings like I did, then the good Governor's proposal to eliminate income tax which I already paid on that money and replace it with higher sales tax gifts me with paying more tax on that money yet again. (Run on sentence intended). Yes, I do have something to fear from this clown and no, I am not a bum. Yours is a very simplistic view of how a very complicated world works. Life is in no way a choice of simply choosing to be wealthy or a bum. As a Lawrence guy, I hope you can find the time to partake in the excellent education about such matters available to you at your excellent university.

hujiko 1 year, 9 months ago

In your black and white worldview of "giver or taker," what category does the Brownback clan fall into?

http://cjonline.com/stories/111707/bus_218377672.shtml

"Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. Since 1995, Brownback received about $50,000 in sorghum, wheat and conservation subsidies for his farm in Linn County. Brownback's father and brother have received a total of $605,000 over the same time."

elliottaw 1 year, 9 months ago

ok so I work about 60-70 hrs a week, when does my truck load of money arrive?

Alyosha 1 year, 9 months ago

This comment is riddled with fantasies and misunderstandings. No wonder Republicans keep getting voted into office.

Tell a father or mother who've lost their jobs through no fault of their own that they are a "bum" and a "taker." That's flatly BS, lawrenceguy, and you should know it.

If that's what's guiding your political philosophy — faulty overgeneralizations and class animosity for working folks, you're what's wrong with Kansas.

Get out of your paranoid bunker once in a while and let the light of truth guide your way.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Looks like there are some purposeful misunderstanding and changing of the subject going on here.

The Democrats objection is that taxes on the lower income people are being raised to finance lower (or no) taxes for the higher income people and businesses.

And some have no skin left to put in the game. They done been skinned and left to die while the Kochs et al drive by on the other side of the road---or fly overhead.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

I stand corrected. Wouldn't want to see the results of their scorched earth policies.

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

You might have a point if you knew the difference between local and state taxes.

ConcernedCynic 1 year, 9 months ago

Don't try to use facts and logic with IKU57...

chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Personally, I think he's a whackaloon. He's also bad at math. The top rate on Californians, even after the recent voter-supported increase, is 13%. Last time I checked, that was less than 50%.

Patricia Davis 1 year, 9 months ago

Will western Kansas ever wake up and see they are being left in the crapper?

George_Braziller 1 year, 9 months ago

This IS all just a tax shift. The State won't collect as much revenue from income taxes, so the State funding for Counties and cities will be cut, resulting in local and County property taxes being raised to make up for the loss of funding from the State.

JohnBrown 1 year, 9 months ago

What's interesting about Republicans in congress repealing O'Bama Care is that they always include a proviso that excludes themselves.

JohnBrown

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

All laws Congress passes exempt themselves. But the reason is this. The executive branch is charged with enforcing laws. Congress avoids what is a potential conflict between the two equal bodies by exempting itself, hence the executive would have no authority over the legislative.

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