Archive for Friday, February 27, 2015

Brownback touts economic growth for rise in February revenue

February 27, 2015, 6:40 p.m. Updated February 27, 2015, 10:38 p.m.


— Kansas collected $22 million more in taxes than expected this month, and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and a top aide said Friday that it's a sign of economic growth.

Even with the unanticipated windfall for the month reported by the state Department of Revenue, the state's tax collections for the past eight months are running slightly behind expectations. Also, it doesn't solve the state's budget problems, with a shortfall projected at nearly $600 million for the fiscal year beginning in July before the latest report.

The department said the state collected almost $310 million in taxes in February, when it anticipated taking in $287 million, a surplus of 7.7 percent.

Brownback and Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said they were encouraged by personal income tax collections for the month. They were $92 million — $27 million, or 42 percent greater than expectations.

Jordan noted that Kansas' unemployment rate, 4.2 percent in December, is approaching historically low levels, and the state keeps gaining jobs. Jordan said it's reflected in higher amounts of taxes withheld collectively from workers' pay.

Brownback said in a statement that the outcome is "the result of a growing Kansas workforce."

The state's budget problems arose after Brownback successfully pushed legislators to slash personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013, arguing it would stimulate the economy. The state dropped its top rate 29 percent and exempted 281,000 business owners and 53,000 farmers from income taxes altogether.

The decline in individual income tax revenues after those cuts was sharper than expected, leading critics to suggest they were reckless. But Brownback's administration argues that national trends — a recent slump in consumer spending and uncertainty about federal tax policies in 2012 and 2013 causing people to use tax shelters — are to blame.

Tax collections fell short of expectations in December and January, as they have for eight of the past 12 months.

Since the current fiscal year began in July, through February, the state collected $3.55 billion in taxes, when it expected to take in $3.6 billion. The difference is $37 million, about 1 percent.

"While the revenue numbers for February are positive, a single month increase is not indicative of a recovery," House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, a Kansas City Democrat, said in a statement. "Difficult decisions are going to need to be made to place our state on a sustainable path forward."

Individual income tax collections for the past eight months slightly exceeded expectations, at $1.4 billion, about $4 million, or 0.3 percent more than anticipated, though they're still short of collections during the previous fiscal year.

When individual income taxes for January alone fell short of expectations, the Department of Revenue said the federal government was processing refunds faster than it did in January 2014, making the state refunds that follow go out more quickly.

The state paid $22 million more in income tax refunds in January than in January 2014, and the department said Friday that the processing of refunds has since "evened out."


Shane Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

Personal income tax is just robbery by the government of our hard work. However, since we the people allow the government to take a percentage of our wages then it must be okay. Render unto Caesar that which is his. But then the government also takes a percentage of that which we spend. And it takes a percentage of all services rendered. And it takes a percentage of that which it deems necessary for all that we own. We work for an entity which knows no limitations.

Shane Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

How about those who use the schools pay for schools. And those who use the roads pay for Roads. Is that not the Brownback way?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 1 month ago

Did you attend public schools. Those of us who pay taxes will send you a bill. Did you drive on our roads today? We'll send you a bill. Where do you live? We'll make sure that the city doesn't clean your street tomorrow, get your shovel out.

James Howlette 3 years, 1 month ago

I use the schools even when I don't attend them. I use public schools at every doctor's visit. You think they were all private schooled?

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

How about follow the game plan of cobalt blue Washington State? They do not have income tax.

Legalize weed in the process? Peel some of the tax money off for pot holes.

James Howlette 3 years, 1 month ago

Not to mention that Washington has the highest national minimum wage.

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

In gambling it's called "Vig"..Vigorish or juice. It's the cut a bookmaker takes from everyone to play the game.

Glenn Reed 3 years, 1 month ago

"Personal income tax is just robbery by the government...."

I need a downvote button.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas taxpayers still need to know what Sam did with the KPERS money? Where is it?

Kansas taxpayers still need to know what Sam did with OUR public education tax dollars? Where are they?

Sam Privatized Medicaid in Kansas and now 3 insurance giants are receiving a giant windfall yet medicaid is costing those who need it more than they can afford. In fact some seniors will have to pay $400 a month out of their low fixed income to access medicaid. Sam why did you do this?

Why did Sam orchestrate this fiscal disaster? Why do members of the house and senate allow themselves to be abused by Sam and his plan to bankrupt Kansas?

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

BTW this $22 million cannot be economic growth when Sam's fiscal disaster has Kansas in a multi billion tax $$$$$$ money hole.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

About Jordan's comment about personal income tax collections.

Many of you will be thrilled to know that the income taxes deducted from your paychecks each month are going to a very worthy cause: your corporate boss.

Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but instead have created some $700 million a year in corporate welfare.

This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe.

But rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, these 16 states simply allow the corporations to keep the tax payments for themselves!

Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the bosses don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

These heists are rationalized in the name of "job creation," but that's a hoax, too. They're really just bribes the states pay to get corporations to move existing jobs from one state to another, or they're hostage payments to corporations that demand the public's money – or else they'll move their jobs out of state.

Kansas government used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff!

After the $47 million in corporate welfare AMC was sold off to a chinese conglomerate.

Tax Cuts STILL A Full Blown Disaster

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

The schools are built. The roads are laid. There is even a little extra thrown in there to sweeten the pot. Something you Complex erudite thinkers can bitter cling over.

How much more of a cut from productive people in society, do you want to take for your overstated needs?

Bob Reinsch 3 years, 1 month ago

This complex, erudite think has heard of potholes. It's one of the benefits of a properly implemented public education. But, hey, flying cars might just be around the corner.

Shane Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

I would like to hear from someone who owns their business. Is their tax burden so light they now consider themselves rich? Do they feel slighted because supposedly they contribute nothing to the greater good of society except to create more wage slaves?

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

Own their own business? Poster's on this site?

Judging by the overwhelming hate posts for Brownback, most work for the government like KU or the city.

Shane Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

Andy you are probably correct, they are to busy working.

James Howlette 3 years, 1 month ago

I didn't create any wage slaves with my windfall. Society will have to figure out some other greater good for me.

Cille King 3 years, 1 month ago

Both my husband my are self-employed. Neither of us have employees. We both think it is unfair that 333,000 don't have to pay Kansas Income tax while those who work for a W-2 do have to pay Kansas Income Tax.
This current administration and group of legislators has created a very recessive tax climate, currently ranked 9th worst in the nation. The 20% lowest income Kansans pay over 11% of their income in taxes, while the highest 1% pay only 3.6% of their income in taxes.

Norm Jennings 3 years, 1 month ago

I have worked for private or public incorporations for most of my life. I did not immigrate from the Northeast (or anywhere else). I don't work for KU.

What I also know is that if my neighbors kids do not receive a quality education, it is likely to cost me whether I use the local public education system or not. That cost whether it is for law enforcement to protect me from their boredom/frustration-fueled endeavors to occupy their time, or the penal systems housing them afterward, or public assistance's care of their children, these costs would all be exponentially more expensive than a quality public education.

My anti-Brownback frustration is the concept of turning a state into an economics experiment (by the way calling a shortfall of 600 million "running slightly behind expectations" is hilarious), hey its great if it works, but I have not risked the well-being of Brownback's family by imposing any unproven schemes on his family, and I would appreciate the same from him.

No I haven't stooped to name-calling, and blaming, and anger ridiculing your posts. To do so doesn't match my "family values."

Scott Tichenor 3 years, 1 month ago

Someone paid for the education of some of the posters above but appears they didn't pay attention in class from their improper word usage, poor grammar and misspellings. Back to grade school for a couple of you.

If your house is on fire or you need police, someone has to pay for that. Same with when you flush your toilet and put out the trash for the city to pick up. Those potholes on the state highways? Yep, someone does that work and you expect it. That somehow no one should have to pay for the services every modern society needs, that's pure hogwash. Surely you want to pay for Kris Kobach's bloated salary so he can run around looking for solutions to problems that don't exist, don't you?

An inconvenient truth is that $22 million divided by the billions the state will ultimately be in the red ink is a laugh. Sounds like a lot of money until you compare the two. This is like crowing over a penny you found on the ground when what you needed was a $20 dollar bill. Brownback and his staff of crooks working for the Koch Brothers are scratching and clawing for any bit of news they can to put lipstick on this pig (cue Sarah Palin wink, nod, smile).

I was at lunch with three other small corporation owners like myself a year Brownback was elected. Someone said, "how many people are you going to hire with all that new Brownback money?" We looked at each other and everyone started laughing, but it didn't last long. So the question, "I'd like to hear from someone that owns their own business," just got answered. The trickle down theory was never anything more than a lie.

There's no fiscal responsibility in what's going on in Topeka. It's a ruse. Budgets, if they're ever balanced, will be so on the backs of the middle class, poor working families and children, not guys like me. No successful business can operate like Brownback's experiment in Topeka. We're a long, long way into this "theory" the governor is testing out. Why is our state lagging so far behind if his ideas are so great?

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