Opinion: Kansans in Congress repeat tax disaster

November 11, 2017


Congressional Republicans have released their “tax reform” plan. Words flow from their summary sheet like seductive whispers: “More Jobs. Fairer Taxes. Bigger Paychecks.” What’s not to like? The economy will boom. It’s for everyone. We can afford it.

Listening to their rhetoric transports many Kansans into the past, to 2012, when we heard those same sweet nothings. Back then Kansas succumbed. Our tax experiment was launched. And what happened next?

Income tax revenue dropped like a rock, creating a perpetual budget crisis that threatened public education, highways and a host of other services. The promised jobs and economic shot of adrenaline never materialized, leaving Kansas’ economic performance lagging neighboring states and the nation. And the poorest Kansans ended up paying more while the wealthiest Kansans got big breaks.

By 2016 Kansans figured things out and changed their Legislature. Then a bipartisan supermajority of lawmakers rescinded the tax cuts with a veto override and started Kansas toward recovery.

After all that, how can it be that every member of the Kansas congressional delegation — every single one — now supports a Kansas-style tax cut plan for the nation?

Lynn Jenkins, your proposed plan includes a huge LLC loophole, something Kansans came to understand as deeply unfair. Actually, the proposed loophole is worse. It may be advertised as benefitting “small business,” but it only applies to individuals with “pass through income” in the top income tier.

Kevin Yoder, your bill gives corporations enormous, permanent tax breaks, but does not require one job to be created in return. The Kansas tax cuts had no job creation requirements either. Look how that worked out.

Ron Estes, you were state treasurer during the Brownback years and never said “boo” about the tax-cut-caused budget trouble. Surely though, now a congressman, you must realize that the financially unsustainable plan you support adds $1.5 trillion to the national debt, placing huge financial burdens in our future.

Roger Marshall, yes, your plan lowers individual income tax rates for most earners. Kansas did that too. But remember the offsets: personal exemptions, college tuition breaks, and medical and other deductions gone. Netted out, millions of Americans will actually get a tax increase. Any remaining middle-class tax cut amounts to window dressing. Can’t you see? Your plan is skewed to benefit the wealthiest, as was the Kansas plan.

Jerry Moran, you managed some plain, honest talk with Kansans on health care earlier this year. Why not do that on taxes too? We’ve been schooled, and can handle a real discussion.

Pat Roberts, many say you’ve become out of touch with Kansas. Support for this tax plan certainly proves that true.

The stance of the Kansas delegation highlights a brokenness in national politics. In front of their noses lies a crystal-clear example of a “trickle-down economics” disaster, but to a person the delegation appears unable to understand and engage the very thing that roiled their home state. Instead they read from Sam Brownback’s old script and fall into soulless formation with party, apparently intent on dragging Kansas (and the nation) through another tax fiasco.

Our Kansas delegation’s behavior is perhaps predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less depressing or unforgivable.

— Duane Goossen formerly served 12 years as Kansas budget director.


Steve Hicks 4 months, 1 week ago

Thanks, Mr. Goossen, for calling out Kansas' congressional "representation." If anybody in national government could warn the country against making a destructive mistake, it's those whose home state suffered from the same idiocy now proposed for the nation.

It's hard to understand why our so-called "representatives" are not shouting a warning to America.

Could it be ignorance: that Kansans in Congress didn't really notice their home state self-destructed under the same kind of tax-plan ?

Mental defect ? The wise maxim says "insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results." Do our congresspeople expect different results from the national tax-plan than what Kansas suffered ?

Treason ? That Kansas' congressional delegation hopes the national economy DOES plummet like Kansas' did under the same kind of tax-plan ?

Or are our Congresspeople silent to protect their party and its interests ? If so, the reason they fail to warn America against making a destructive mistake is "all of the above."

Bob Summers 4 months, 1 week ago

The congenital Liberal will say and do anything to take other peoples money.

Witness the Hicks memo.


P Allen Macfarlane 4 months, 1 week ago

More garbage and name calling. If you can't contribute something positive, then stop with the "congenital Liberal" stuff. It's truly annoying.

Bob Summers 4 months, 1 week ago

Like I said above your baseless retort.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 1 week ago

I think a lot of people are going to be in for a big surprise. They are giving some cuts, but taking away a lot of deductions for private citizens, but not for corporations, Here is an interesting video.


Sam Crow 4 months, 1 week ago

Duane Goossen, you fail to bill yourself in your writings as the budget director for the Sebelius/Parkinson administrations. Obviously, for a reason

Duane Goossen, in your tenure as budget director state tax revenue skyrocketed from $3.9 billion dollars to as high as $5.9 billion. However state spending rose from $3.7 billion to $6.1 billion, a 60% increase. .

Duane Goossen, under your management the accumulated shortfall in budgeting was over $1.7 billion dollars.

Duane Goossen, under your tutelage, the budget was “balanced” by counting temporary revenue such as grants, and spending from the reserve cash fund.

Duane Goossen, with the budget under your care, even the credit rating service Moody’s noted your use of ongoing use of nonrecurring revenue to balance the budget, which is irregular.

Duane Goossen, under your budget guidance, the general reserve fund dropped from $750 million dollars to less than zero.

Duane Goossen, under your budget custody, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Kansas with fraud because you failed to disclose the significant under- funding of KPERS, while selling bonds. During your time as budget director, KPERS became the second most under-funded public pension system in the country.

Duane Goossen, today you are the mouthpiece for the very liberal Kansas Center for Economic Growth, which is an advocacy group for ever increasing taxing and spending, as you exemplified during your time as budget director. Why don’t you note that in what you submit to the papers for publication?

You have no credibility to preach to others about government finances.

Jeremy Smith 4 months, 1 week ago

You talk about how public education and high funding went down the drain with the drop in revenues. If this was the case then why did very little of the money from the recent tax hike go to those things? You need to actually do some research and look into the actual situation rather than relying on the liberal papers to get your information.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 1 week ago

I'm not sure what you mean by "high funding", but they did raise funding for public education, but they have to get the state back into shape, then see how they can raise it enough to make in constitutional. Maybe you should do some research. There are a lot of conservatives in Wichita, and here is what there paper said. Or do you prefer the lies and conspiracy theories of Britefart?


Jeremy Smith 4 months, 1 week ago

Highway funding is what I meant to say. And you do not need to send me crappy articles from Wichita. I have worked in Topeka with some of these "evil" conservatives as you like to call them. Tell your friends on the KS Supreme Court to give the legislature a number they need to attain to be Constitutional. Also, where in our Constitution does it talk about adequate and equitable?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 1 week ago

" The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state." And can you tell me why education should not be equitable? Do you think that kids in Western Kansas shouldn't get the same education as people in Johnson county? Can you tell me why you would be against that?

Where did you get your education? If you were educated in a public school, depending on your age, I helped to pay for that education. My parents paid taxes to pay for my education, and then for the next generation's education. And their parent's did the asme. Public education isn't anything new. My parents probably paid higher tax rates than we do now. Tell me why you are against paying it forward? Why are you against equal opportunity? Do you consider education a privilege for the rich only?


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