Archive for Monday, September 22, 2014

Former budget director says tax cuts make higher education funding ‘vulnerable’

September 22, 2014


Former state budget director Duane Goossen said Monday that higher education funding was "vulnerable" because of huge tax cuts that he said are undermining the state budget.

"They have other resources and that is why they are probably more vulnerable," Goossen said during a presentation at the Lawrence Public Library.

About 25 people attended the discussion, which was hosted by the Kansas Farmers Union.

Citing statistics provided by the non-partisan Kansas Legislative Research Department, Goossen said the tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback will reduce revenues to the state general fund by $3.7 billion through 2018. The current annual budget is $6.3 billion.

Last year alone, the state took in $700 million less than the year before, as income tax and business tax cuts took effect, he said.

"No other state has done anything as dramatic as Kansas has done in the last two years," said Goossen, who served as budget director for 12 years under Gov. Bill Graves, a Republican, and Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson, both Democrats.

Brownback, a Republican, has argued the tax cuts will spur prosperity and job growth.

Goossen said that growth isn't happening and state reserve funds will soon be used up, which will force deep spending reductions.

"The current approved budget will have to be cut back. The state should be acting right now," he said.

Brownback's Democratic opponent Paul Davis has been highly critical of Brownback's tax policy. Davis has proposed stalling future tax cuts that are already in law.

But Goossen said with a Republican-majority Legislature that would be difficult to accomplish.

Goossen said the state highway fund might be another area that legislators use to help balance the budget. And, he said, rural school districts have been hit hard by property tax increases because of the lack of state funding.

Joseph Agrillo, of Lawrence, who attended the meeting, said he felt like more could be cut from the state budget and that legislators should be doing that now. "The longer you wait, the messier it gets," he said.

Tamara Hagerman, a farmer from rural Douglas County, said she thought it was unfair that rural areas were seeing higher tax increases for schools than urban areas. When asked if the budget situation would affect her vote, she said, "Let's just say, I'm not happy with the status quo."

Goossen will speak on the budget in Seneca on Wednesday and Belleville on Thursday as part of the Farmers Union presentations.


Dave Trabert 3 years, 9 months ago

So show me what is inaccurate in either post.

Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 9 months ago

People point out how your number are inaccurate all the time and you ignore it. How about you show us a case of your company making recommendation for change that had a positive impact for all people not just your rich funders.

Dave Trabert 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't ignore them; I respond with facts to refute claims that I am wrong. If I make a mistake...and I do...I will admit it.

As for recommendations that benefit's a long list but I'll name a few. Reducing income tax rates for all individuals. Giving school districts access to money trapped in funds with spending restrictions. Multiple transparency initiatives that allow citizens to know how their money is being spent and requiring legislative committee and floor hearings to be live streamed (that one hasn't passed yet). Tax credit scholarships so low income kids in the 99 lowest performing schools can have more choice. Innovative School Districts law allows districts to operate more freely if they choose.

James Howlette 3 years, 9 months ago

The problem, Dave, is that you don't think presenting misleading information is "wrong." You usually make excuses instead of making corrections. Let's take one habit of yours. You list items in nominal value when it should be corrected for inflation but try to justify it as just being "transparent" by passing the information on as it was provided. Well, if you're just providing a repeat of the same information, what value do you provide? None. If you're modifying the data by presenting it in a different table or in a different context, it's not asking too much that you also apply a basic inflation correction to it before presenting it so as to avoid the clear distortion. You usually don't, and my conclusion is that you want the propaganda benefits of presenting the data in a misleading format.

Let's move onto your policy advocacy. She asked you to provide examples that benefited all kids and not just your donors. You've failed. School districts have spending restrictions on certain items for a reason. First you must show that the reason is no longer valid (building maintenance will definitely be taken care of by another fund and not simply deferred for example) and that the initiative isn't just another way to give schools less and pretend that it is more.

Reducing income tax for "all" individuals. Fail. Reducing income tax does not reduce revenue needs and shifts the burden disproportionately on the poor and disproportionately benefits your rich donors.

Multiple transparency initiatives - I'd be in favor of that, too. Let's start with all the meetings that legislators have with ALEC. I'd love to see it livestreamed. Love to see how my tax dollars are used to pay for legislators to get big business to write their bills for them.

Tax credit scholarships are NOT things that will actually improve outcomes. They're ways to transfer public money to private entities and potentially benefit your donors while pretending that they're just "For the kids." Fail.

"Innovative School Districts" is another piece of ALEC model legislation written by corporate interests and ultimately designed to further conservative aims, not benefit school children.

James Howlette 3 years, 9 months ago

Why should we do your job for you, Dave? You're not a credible source of information. You cherry pick items from government sources to create a misleading narrative on behalf of your Koch sponsors. You're effectively campaigning for Brownback at this point. If he's reelected, you'll be both one of his political appointees and a lobbyist. How is that even ethical?

Dave Trabert 3 years, 9 months ago

So you cannot substantiate the claim...

James Howlette 3 years, 9 months ago

Which claim, Dave? I can show that you're a registered lobbyist. It's on record. Your membership with ALEC and KPI is on your bio. And although you are not open and transparent about it, those are Koch funded institutions. Your appointment by Brownback is also on record. So yes, I can substantiate all of those claims, which then substantiates my claim that you are not a credible source of information. If you want to see a pattern of misleading narratives, we can just wade back in the comments here and see the numerous times in which you cherry picked items, did not correct for inflation to distort results, failed to report contrary information, etc, etc, etc.

James Howlette 3 years, 9 months ago

This message is brought to you by a Koch-funded "think" tank, a Koch sponsored lobby group (ALEC), a registered lobbyist (Trabert), and a Brownback appointee (Trabert).

Feel free to evaluate it on its own merits, but do realize that it's a bit like reading RJ Reynolds' information about the benefits of tobacco.

Larry Sturm 3 years, 9 months ago

It doesn't take a mathematical genus to know that tax cuts for the rich doesn't create jobs it only makes the rich richer.

Steve King 3 years, 9 months ago

The whole country is watching. KC Star says your numbers are misleading. Washington Post says the tax cuts are pushing the State toward insolvency. NYTimes, Wichita Eagle, Hutchinson, Topeka editorials abound decrying the Gov and his appointees for their policies. Two credit rating downgrades. Siphoning off funds from DOT to make payrolls. Rest areas in Western Kansas bulldozed to save funds. Transparent Judge selections, not!

Paul Davis is ahead. Roberts is on the ropes. Kobach's days are numbered. And KPI's fall from grace.

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