Views from Kansas: GOP bucking voters’ desires

Editor’s Note: Views from Kansas is a regular feature that highlights editorials and other viewpoints from across the state.

Last week, a majority of Republicans in the Kansas Senate ignored the will of their constituents by giving $190 million in tax relief for wealthy individuals and multinational corporations.

The tax break comes from Republicans’ decision not to tax the income earned on a portion of an individual’s or corporation’s investments held abroad through a new provision of the 2017 federal tax code.

If legislators do nothing, the tax, for which Gov. Laura Kelly has argued, would automatically be levied against these multinational corporations.

On the other side of the argument is Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and president of the Senate, who says tax breaks for the wealthy help grow the economy.

Gee, where have we heard that before?

After eight years of such a ruinous tax policy under Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansans need no further proof that when the wealthy receive massive tax cuts, they do not reinvest those funds into the state economy.

Not all Republicans fell in line behind Wagle.

Sen. John Skubal, R-Overland Park, in fact said the $190 million would help take care of the core functions of government, particularly the Department of Transportation, which has been raided by more than $2 billion since 2011 to fund the state’s general operating budget.

Sen. Mary Jo Taylor of Stafford was the other Republican to side with Democrats.

The votes of Taylor and Skubal were crucial in that they prevented Republicans from securing the necessary two-thirds margin to override the governor’s possible veto if the bill makes it to her desk.

It took a lot of Republicans to elect Gov. Kelly, who as a Democrat is in the vast minority of those who hold elective office in Topeka.

Kelly won precisely because Kansans are sick and tired of a government that rewards the wealthy while starving crucial state services and programs.

If there’s going to be a tax break ahead, Kelly has said, it will be to reduce the state’s 6.5 percent sales tax on groceries — not pad the pockets of large corporations.

House Republicans should put the people of Kansas first, and stop this bill in its tracks.

— Originally published in The Iola Register


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