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Archive for Friday, August 22, 2014

Candidates spar over Davis tax plan

August 22, 2014

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— The two candidates for governor in Kansas reignited an age-old semantic debate over what constitutes a “tax increase.”

In June, Democrat Paul Davis proposed freezing income tax rates in 2015, the year he would take office if he wins the race, and preventing any further scheduled tax cuts from taking effect, at least until state funding for K-12 education returns to its pre-recession level.

Friday, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's campaign released a statement saying that amounts to a tax increase on low-income Kansans making less than $10,000 a year, and a tax break for married couples making more than $200,000 a year.

“It is appalling that the one and only economic vision that Paul Davis has articulated is a 17 percent tax increase on the poorest Kansans,” Brownback's spokesman John Milburn said in a news release. “The effect of this so-called economic plan would be to make it harder for struggling Kansans to make ends meet and provide for their families. Kansans should be outraged.”

The Davis campaign quickly fired back.

“Unlike the Brownback experiment, the Davis proposal does not raise tax rates on a single Kansan,” Davis said in a statement issued 10 minutes later.

At issue are two major tax bills that passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, at Brownback's urging, in 2012 and 2013. Those bills phase in a series of income tax cuts through tax year 2018. The latter bill also included what legislators called a “haircut” to the itemized deductions allowed under previous law.

Milburn cited a memo written Aug. 15 by Chris Courtwright, principal economist for the Legislature's non-partisan Research Department. The memo was in response to a request from Sen. Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, who asked for an analysis of Davis' tax proposal.

Although Courtwright cautioned that Davis has not proposed a formal bill, and everything known about his tax proposal comes from a press release, he concludes that, “this would result in a net tax increase of $20.5 million in (fiscal year) 2016; and a cumulative tax increase of $735.0 million by the end of FY 2019.”

The memo also included tables showing that, as the law stands now, a single individual making $10,000 a year would pay $128.25 in tax year 2015. But that is scheduled to go down to $114 in 2016, and $109.25 in 2017.

At the other end of the scale, the changes to itemized deductions under existing law mean that a married couple making over $200,000 a year would see their tax bill go up by $2 in 2016 and by another $64 in 2017, bringing their tax bill to $7,383 – an increase of less than 1 percent over the 2015 amount. But by preventing those changes from taking effect, Brownback says Davis' plan amounts to a tax cut for those couples because would pay less than they otherwise would.

But Davis argues they are not tax hikes for the poor, or tax cuts for the wealthy, because the amount of tax those people would pay would remain unchanged from 2015. He also said Brownback's tax cuts are putting the state in financial jeopardy, which could force further cuts to education and other state services in future years.

Earlier this month, the Research Department issued a report this month that with the tax cuts scheduled to take effect, the state faces a budget shortfall of $238 million by the end of fiscal year 2016.

Comments

Steve King 4 months ago

Mr. Davis is right. Stop the nonsense and get back on track first. More tax cuts means less revenue means less services.

Mary Alice Phillips 4 months ago

One problem is your headline. There are THREE legitimate candidates for Kansas Governor this year. You have forgotten Keen Umbehr of the Libertarian Party. I would suggest that from now on you rectify this error and in the interests of informing Kansans of their choices in the election, include Mr. Umbehr in your reporting. Kansas voters deserve to hear the ideas of ALL three candidates so that they can make an informed judgement and vote. Thanks!

Philipp Wannemaker 4 months ago

No there are 2 legitimate candidates and 1 fringe candidate who. will guarantee a gop nutcase victory,

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

Sam Brownback is a libertarian by way of the Koch boys being lifelong libertarians. As founding members of the John Birch Society, Charles and David are lifelong libertarians. Charles and David have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes.

Sam Brownback's reckless tax dollar management and his choice to defund public education are well documented which have caught the attention of not only local news media but national sources as well.

Sam Brownback will come out with a truck load of distortions about Paul Davis between now and election day which is a dishonest campaign.

Paul Davis is not a "Lawrence Liberal" not by any stretch. Paul Davis is a moderate fiscal conservative socially responsible democrat which makes him the fiscal responsible candidate.

This pattern is typical in right wing politics which has been in action for about 34 years.

Sam Brownback team lies beyond reality about any candidate that would be challenging Sam Brownback. Sam Brownback represents the KOCH/ALEC political empire. Koch money also founded the Tea Party.

Brownback dishonest campaigning avoids the issues and is well organized to function in local, state and national political campaigns.

Fred Mertz 4 months ago

The uber rich got their tax cuts, the rest of us are waiting so freezing them does equate to a tax increase.

Steve King 4 months ago

Exactly. Sam is running scared is all.

James Howlette 4 months ago

Davis is running on a lukewarm proposal at best. But when your opponent wants to double down on the stupidest tax plan in all 50 states, lukewarm is brilliant by comparison.

David Langton 4 months ago

It's easy to say you're against a tax increase. However, when 2 different bond gradings downgrade the states' bonds due to failure to adequately fund government, the adults have to step in. The Tea Party children had the keys to the economy and wrecked it so the adults need to step in and be responsible now.

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

This firm, named Aegis Strategic, is run by a former top executive at Charles and David Koch's flagship advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity.

Aegis says it can manage every aspect of a campaign, including advertising, direct mail, social media, and fundraising.

The consulting firm Aegis Strategic has been designed to handpick and support local, state, and federal candidates who share the views of Koch/ALEC political empire..

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/koch-brothers-candidate-training-recruiting-aegis-strategic

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

It is safe to say that the preferential tax breaks allowed to the upper incomes translates into tax increases on most other incomes. The bills still need to be paid while the cost of government doesn't decrease.

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

$10,000 a years is less than $1,000 per month. How can this person afford to pay any tax?

How is it that some who make zillions a year pay no taxes?

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

"Milburn cited a memo written Aug. 15 by Chris Courtwright, principal economist for the Legislature's non-partisan Research Department. The memo was in response to a request from Sen. Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, who asked for an analysis of Davis' tax proposal.

Although Courtwright cautioned that Davis has not proposed a formal bill, and everything known about his tax proposal comes from a press release, he concludes that, “this would result in a net tax increase of $20.5 million in (fiscal year) 2016; and a cumulative tax increase of $735.0 million by the end of FY 2019.”

The memo also included tables showing that, as the law stands now, a single individual making $10,000 a year would pay $128.25 in tax year 2015. But that is scheduled to go down to $114 in 2016, and $109.25 in 2017."

All of the above is what I call spin which could indicate the Brownback teams are cooking the books.

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

"Chris Courtwright, principal economist for the Legislature's non-partisan Research Department" is a person that has subscribed to Brownback's point of view otherwise his thoughts would not be honored . Which in essence makes Courtwright just another supply side economics politician.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months ago

And no mention of the sales tax that Brownback kept to pay for tax cuts of his buddies? Sales taxes are regressive. Brownback has already raised the taxes on the poor. And he raised the expenses on the poor. He has cut state funding to state universities, so tuition has been raised, making a college education too expensive for many poor people. Towns have had to raise taxes to maintain services that were paid by the state. There is no such thing as a free lunch; despite what these radicals will tell you. Sure, stop paying taxes, but then don't complain about bad roads, don't call the fire department when your house is on fire, educate your kids only if you can afford it. And please do not call yourself a citizen of the US, Kansas, or whatever town you live in. You are a disgrace to our country. And take off that flag pin. Don't advertise your hypocrisy.

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

If the ALEC GOP overthrows local school boards,state education departments, takes over state legislatures ,congress and the white house they own the government. What would stop them from taking over the entire educational system in America?

Beware: http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/no-to-walmart-style-classrooms

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