Archive for Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freshmen Republicans in the House don’t like options provided so far from their leaders

May 29, 2013


— Freshmen House Republicans are getting antsy about being told to increase taxes to provide revenue because of last year's deep tax cuts that were approved before they ran for office.

"We came here to lower spending and cut taxes, and what we've seen so far hasn't done either one," state Rep. Michael Houser, R-Columbus, who is serving his first term, said Wednesday.

Last year, with only Republican support, the Legislature approved cuts in income tax rates and eliminated taxes on non-wage income for 191,000 business owners.

The cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback projected revenue shortfalls for years to come.

"When we voted for that, we knew there were some problems that needed to be fixed," said state Rep. Ronald Ryckman Sr., R-Meade, who is in his second term.

Ryckman agreed with Houser that state spending needs to be reduced, but added that there are looming expenses, such as a school finance lawsuit, that will require additional funds.

"We are going to have to find some way to bring in some revenue," Ryckman said.

But the proposed fixes to last year's tax cuts have yet to draw a majority in the House, which has the largest contingent of new members in more than 40 years.

Forty-nine of the 125 members in the House have never served in the Legislature, and 40 of them are Republicans. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the House 92-33.

So far, many of the freshmen Republicans have resisted calls by Brownback and their legislative leaders to make permanent all or a portion of a temporary state sales tax increase. Brownback says the higher sales tax is needed to help balance the budget and buy down future income tax rate cuts. Cutting the income taxes, Brownback argues, is key to stimulating the economy.

But Democrats and some Republicans say cutting income taxes just increases sales and property taxes, which hit low- and middle-income Kansans the hardest.

The current state sales tax rate of 6.3 percent was set in 2010 to avoid deep cuts during the Great Recession. It is scheduled to fall to 5.7 percent on July 1.

Brownback wants to retain the 6.3 percent rate. The House, however, has rejected proposals to go to 6 percent. Even though these proposals would phase down income tax rates, they would produce $800 million or more in increased tax revenue over the next 5 years.

Some Republican House members said perhaps the Legislature should approve a budget and adjourn and continue the debate on taxes next year.

But House leaders said next year's budget would be rough shape without new revenue.

House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey, R-Louisburg, said House leaders would meet throughout the day with rank-and-file Republicans "so we can continue to find out where our caucus is."

The Legislature already has been in session 96 days, which is 6 days longer than it was supposed to meet, and 16 days longer than Republican leaders had vowed they would meet.

The wrap-up session, which started May 8 after a monthlong break, costs about $45,000 per day.


William Weissbeck 4 years, 12 months ago

It is clear from the debate that the GOP believes that the income tax is somehow unfair, or adversely impacts its primary constituents. Dems on the other hand see the sales tax as regressive, more impacting the poor and working families. And yet we still need revenues and the GOP freshmen are opposed to anything that can be called a tax increase. The GOP boxed themselves into this corner. States that have eliminated the income tax had to tax something else. Revenue didn't suddenly appear like manna. The idea that certain taxes encourage or discourage economic activity is a myth. It's the total level of taxation that makes a difference. But if you are engaged in a race to the bottom with all the other southern states, then the results are predictable.

gatekeeper 4 years, 12 months ago

Keep in mind that every day these republicans screw around, it's costing us $45,000. They spent all their time during the last session screwing around with personhood and gun bills and didn't bother to pass a budget or figure out how they'd pay for their stupid income tax cuts to the wealthy. Now we get to pay for everyday they keep screwing around and still don't get it figured out. Some days they've barely spent any time there, but we're still paying. Yep, republicans are the fiscally conservative party! Maybe if they'd try to stay out of women's reproductive issues they could spend their time passing a stinking budget.

Grump 4 years, 12 months ago

It costs a lot to posture as a Tea-Party conservative.

Catalano 4 years, 12 months ago

"House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey, R-Louisburg, said House leaders would meet throughout the day with rank-and-file Republicans "so we can continue to find out where our caucus is."

Hey, Jene...your caucus is in the toilet. Apparently the freshman legislators finally found it.

somebodynew 4 years, 12 months ago

Well, they KNOW where their caucus is - they need these meetings to get them in "Line". They need to learn that they (like the rest of us) will BE TOLD, what is good for them and to just follow along.

I hope they don't cave in. If it wasn't costing so much money I would like to see this drag on. I do agree it is time to just call it a day and go home. Argue about this on their own dime until next year.

Greg Cooper 4 years, 12 months ago

OK, I know this is a radical idea in this day and age of neo-Republicanism, but, hey, how about you dingbats in the Legislature find out "where your constituents are"?

It continually amazes me that these people think they were elected to repressent only those who contributed to their new-found public welfare program, i.e., a seat in the Kansas Legislature, bought and paid for by the Koch mahine.

There are obviously some compromises that should be made. That being said, the real issues revolve around the unfounded, disproven, boneheaded theory that less tax revenue will magically equate with the state being financially sound and with jobs multiplying by leaps and bpounds.

Legislators, try listening to someone other than Trabert, Laffer (what a perfect name for that guy!), Brownback and the Kochs. You might start by paying attention to your own Legislative Research people. Then you might just (gasp) talk with your constituents to determine what their thoughts are. After all, they are the ones who elected you to represent them.

And "represent" does not mean "dictate to". Got it?

Patricia Davis 4 years, 12 months ago

I think instead of the numb nuts getting overtime pay they should be required to pay the$45,000 per day. You know to show accountability and personal responsibility. They need to have some skin in this game.

Richard Payton 4 years, 12 months ago

If you want revenue they could repeal the income tax cuts the governor signed into law. End the session and quit wasting money.

Keith 4 years, 12 months ago

"But Democrats and some Republicans say cutting income taxes just increases sales and property taxes, which hit low- and middle-income Kansans the hardest."

This is beyond speculation, we're seeing it happen in real time.

avarom 4 years, 12 months ago

Don't get your bisquits in a twist, but seems to Me the money has been misapproriated from all directions, especially with the Over Run on the Capitol building and that is why the receipts are hidden in a vault where no can see them, including the contract, if they had one that is.......Money must of come from all the of course, they need to replenish bad it's coming from the Sweat of the Middle Class Citizens...Welcome to Kansas..../Home of the Taxes....coming out your know what I mean...I'm so Tweet!

msezdsit 4 years, 12 months ago

"We are going to have to find some way to bring in some revenue," Ryckman said.

Imagine that.

Never fear ALEC will come to the rescue. Just go about your business and don't you worry your pretty little face about this.

The second highest sales tax on grocery purchases in the country has to help. Thanks to all of you who are helping make up for Sammy's "gratuity" to his buddies. Oh, rest assured they are paying the same amount of tax on groceries that you are so don't start complaining. fair is fair

Tradways 4 years, 11 months ago

These neocon republicans sure send mixed messages. We need smaller government, but they can't pass a budget in the mean time spending more money going over 90 days while giving legislative employees a raise every year for the 4 years and will probably get another one this year. While not giving state employees a raise for the past 5 years and closing courts house state wide. Mean while they cut budgets that send less convicted Felons to prison, while letting more out of prison unsupervised, while reducing the level of supervision for felony DUI offenders.

Bob Forer 4 years, 11 months ago

"Why not just leave the sales tax where it is but exempt groceries?"

Because sales tax on grocery sales constitute a significant portion of the sales tax revenue stream. People can go without buying new clothes, electronics, or toys, but I have to meet one person who figured out a way to survive very long without food.

The middle and lower class folks have already been bitten in the butt with a tax increase. Perhaps the only realistically available source to replace the lost revenue if the sales tax on groceries were eliminated would be revoking the tax cuts for the wealthy. But that would leave the wealthy with no extra money to buy new furniture for their vacation homes.

Your proposal is off base and out of the question.

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