Archive for Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kansas Chamber poll: Taxes, school administration spending too high

January 7, 2014


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Public school operating expenditures ( .PDF )

— Kansas business owners say both taxes and the amount of money spent on school administration are too high, according to a new survey commissioned by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

But the school funding question was based on an often-disputed statistic. And the growing number of business owners who think taxes are too high comes after historic tax cuts by the state.

On the question about taxes that fund state and local government, 57 percent of business owners and executives surveyed last month said they pay too much in taxes, according to the survey released Tuesday. That is up from 50 percent in 2012.

Chamber President and Chief Executive Office Mike O'Neal said the result shows that the state needs to keep cutting taxes and fight against any effort to repeal some of the recently approved tax legislation.

"We need to keep plowing ahead, and our business community is telling us that," O'Neal said.

Under Gov. Sam Brownback, the state has cut income tax rates and exempted from income taxes non-wage business income for almost 200,000 business owners. Further income tax cuts could take effect as early as tax year 2019 if tax revenue sources increase.

Brownback has said these cuts will stimulate the economy, but critics say the cuts benefit mostly the wealthy and will deprive schools and social services of needed revenue.

On the issue of school funding, the survey said, "Currently, only 55 cents of every tax dollar spent on schools in Kansas is spent on instruction. Would you favor increasing the percentage of available funds that are spent on classroom instruction while reducing the amount spent on non-instructional costs?"

Seventy-three percent said they would favor increasing the funds available for the classroom while reducing non-instructional costs.

But according to the Kansas Department of Education, 61.92 percent of school operating expenditures is spent on instruction, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, and that doesn't include librarians, counselors, speech therapists and other supports.

O'Neal defended the use of "55 cents of every tax dollar," saying, "If it's under dispute, it's because there is something wrong with the department's own definition of instruction."

The survey was done by the firm of Cole Hargrave Snodgrass and Associates. The firm surveyed 300 business owners and executives across the state. They have been doing the survey each year for the Kansas Chamber since 2004.

The chamber uses the poll to help shape its legislative agenda, said O'Neal, the former Kansas House speaker. The 2014 legislative session starts Monday.


Bob Zimmerman 4 years, 5 months ago

We all know that too much edumacation ain't good for most Kansans cause if they get edumacated they will move away. And that ain't good for western Kansas.

And besides, good jobs in meat packing and plastic molding don't need edumacation and Kansas is good suited for them kinds of jobs.

Scott Burkhart 4 years, 5 months ago

So, Bob, are you implying that people that work in meat packing plants and plastic injection molding plants are not properly educated? If we ask the schools to be more fiscally responsible, we are condemning our children to ignorance? Do you really speak like that or are you implying workers in the plants you cited speak and spell like that? You should work for MSNBC. You'd fit right in.

Andrew Dufour 4 years, 5 months ago

Scott you know darn well he was deliberately being a caricature of what the wealthy elites think of lower class individuals who work in those plants. The point of his comment (I assume, perhaps I'm wrong) was to, with a tongue squarely in his cheek, present the argument for why certain people may want an uneducated workforce.

Devin Wilson 4 years, 5 months ago

Name me one person who enjoys paying taxes. Seriously though, Kansas Chamber, please talk to some business owners and shopkeepers with children in Kansas schools. Class sizes, especially in the crucial k-5 years is unreal, reaching 28-30 in some cases. Meanwhile "Under Gov. Sam Brownback, the state has cut income tax rates and exempted from income taxes non-wage business income for almost 200,000 business owners." I have to seriously question these handouts. Kansas schools help create vibrant thriving communities, drawing people who want to raise families in those communities. These are the people who fill those jobs. Even realtors understand the value of Kansas schools and use our schools to sell homes. It is time we adequately fund schools and quit playing games with my kids' education. -Devin Wilson USD 512 parent JoCo by way of JW

Dave Trabert 4 years, 5 months ago

Only 55% of every dollar spent on public education goes to Instruction, using the KSDE and Census Bureau definitions of Instruction and Total Spending. Districts quote a higher percentage by subtracting spending on Capital and Debt Service from Total Spending. Interestingly, they claim capital and debt are essential parts of education when pushing a bond levy, but prefer to have it the other way when held accountable for total spending.

Also, it's important to note that concern over taxes is state and LOCAL. Local property taxes have skyrocketed over the last 15 years. For example, the City of Lawrence increased property tax by 165% between 1997 and 2012. Douglas County increased its take by 188%.

County tax collections are at

Large city tax collections are at,MillRate,andPopulationComparison1997-2012/tabid/2399/Default.aspx

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 5 months ago

Oh those funny KPI numbers, you can make them say what ever you want can't you. Don't let truth and fact checking stand in your way Dave,

Dave Trabert 4 years, 5 months ago

What is 'funny' about the numbers? They are government numbers. Inconvenient, perhaps, to those who favor institutions over individuals, but the facts are nonetheless accurate.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 5 months ago

Your numbers are fixed to tell the story you want, you don't count for inflation, you leave out salaries for staff that help with teaching, it is the typical lies of people who know they are wrong but don't care. And funny that the KS government funds you and loves corporations more than the people of KS but for what ever reason hates education.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 5 months ago

The numbers come from KSDE. We do account for inflation. In fact, adjusted for inflation and enrollment, per-pupil spending was 32% higher last year than in 1998. Achievement on independent national tests meanwhile is relatively unchanged. Kids who are not classified as low income are doing pretty well but about half of the Kansas student population is years' worth of learning behind...and not improving.

Government does not fund KPI. We are a non-profit that takes no government money. We're funded by contributions from hundreds of Kansans.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 5 months ago

So based off your numbers the real issues seems to be that low income students (the fastest growing population in KS) are falling behind, so what I think you should really research is why is the income of Kansasians falling so fast and how can we improve the educational attainment of the population. What can be done to bring jobs to Kansas so less families are not living in poverty. What can be done to get rid of the regressive taxes placed on the population as a whole, i.e. Property tax on vehicles, registration fees for schools, sales tax on groceries, wasted government money on unconstitutional laws.

William Ballard 4 years, 5 months ago

Hey Trabert, why don't you crawl back into whatever hole you crawled out of. We all know that the Kansas Policy Institute is nothing but a mouthpiece for the Koch brothers, who have always been opposed to public education. Poorly educated people work for lower wages and are easier to control. KPI policies do nothing but help the rich get richer.

Kendall Simmons 4 years, 5 months ago

Good grief!!

What part of "But according to the Kansas Department of Education, 61.92 percent of school operating expenditures is spent on instruction, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, and that doesn't include librarians, counselors, speech therapists and other supports" did you miss???

Paul R Getto 4 years, 5 months ago

Wonder what a similar analysis of the military budget would show?

Larry Bauerle Jr. 4 years, 5 months ago

Wow, people say their taxes are too high and an organization headed by Mike O'Neal is complaining about education. I would have never seen that coming.

Bob Zimmerman 4 years, 5 months ago

Cut that wasteful spending on education and use the huge windfall to cut income taxes...again!

We all know that lower taxes (especially for investment) will stimulate those poor, over-worked people who live off investment income to create jobs!

My uncle Thurston Howell III told me this and he know Arthur Laffer. There is overwhelming evidence that supply side economics will grow the economy and that wasteful spending on education, R&D, and infrastructure is just....waste.

But remember: there is no reason to look at the economic data from the last 30 years because it's all biased. And that's because the federal government collects the data. If you want to see the real data go the Koch brothers web site.

Melissa Carlson 4 years, 5 months ago

"We need to keep plowing ahead, and our business community is telling us that," O'Neal said.

My 90-year-old dad had farming and ranching relatives who thought he didn't work because he had a desk and clean clothes. This O'Neal line is backward in both word choice and mindset. If Kansas is going to keep up with the rest of the world, the KS Chamber must support homegrown and educated workers. If not, we may as well be plowing by hand.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 5 months ago

The price of milk is too high and whatever happened to the 5c candy bar? The correct question is: what kind of government do you think the majority of Kansans want even though you may have to be the one to pay for it? The electorate gets to exercise is wisdom on how much government and how much to tax. If you want to remain a Kansan, it's a collective effort.

Brian Mellor 4 years, 5 months ago

Okay, COC-member business owners don't like taxes or funding for the parts of education that won't get them yelled at for being anti-education.

I assume that this Poll was authorized by the Kansas Department of Discerning the Obvious?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

It's The ALEC Chamber Poll - absolutely. Bought and paid for.

ALEC's education bills encompass more than 20 years of effort to privatize public education through an ever-expanding....

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

"Local property taxes have skyrocketed over the last 15 years. For example, the City of Lawrence increased property tax by 165% between 1997 and 2012. Douglas County increased its take by 188%." ( I was told recently that taxes increased by at least 100% nickel dime at a time in Lawrence which has brought us flooded markets with no end in sight. Bedroom communities do not pay back. )

That must be why the powers that be over estimate property value or can we say inflate property values. During the "real estate boom town economy " property values were being increased like there was no tomorrow which really is not any fun.

Why? Because it increases our taxes handsomely and allows government to spend wildly based on insecure numbers. There are still properties in Lawrence that likely will not bring mortgage value.

Of course we should have expected GW Bush/Dick Cheney to follow in the Reagan/Bush foot steps with another home loan scam after wildly inflated market values were the order of the day. Leaving zillions unable to sell homes for even the balance of their mortgage. Not to mention zillions losing jobs and retirement plans following both criminal like escapades.

Yes those right wingers were among those enjoying themselves immensely make no mistake about it. No matter what a dim picture Mr Trabert is coloring at the moment about tax increases. Right Wing Character Assassination knows no boundaries only opportunities.

Bottom line….. inflated markets stink in the end. Our homes should never be assessed at market value for taxation purposes nor inflated beyond reality in the moment of a boom for all booms crash. And who knows when the next major right wing GOP home loan scam will be discovered.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

Don't be fooled by the buzz words reckless spending GOP radicals put forth such as "Taxes, school administration spending too high" .

Kansas Public schools were doing swell until supply side economics stepped up and the move to try and privatize public schools. These varmints are licking their chops at the thought of trillions in public school tax dollars flowing into their bank accounts.

Private schools they say with gigantic profits subsidized with public school tax dollars.

Dick Sengpiehl 4 years, 5 months ago

There is a reason why the Lawrence Chamber dropped its membership in the Kansas Chamber. It's nothing but a right wing lobbying organization like ALEC, Americans For Prosperity and the Koch brothers.

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