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Roberts, Moran vote to advance Brownback-style federal tax reform


U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran of Kansas both voted late Thursday to advance a budget resolution that could pave the way for Congress to enact tax cuts similar to those that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback championed in Kansas in 2012, but which state lawmakers repealed earlier this year.

The measure passed by the narrowest of margins, 51-49, on nearly a straight party line vote. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the only Republican to vote no on the measure.

By itself, the nonbinding resolution merely lays out a set of budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. But its passage would mean that the Senate could next pass a tax bill as part of a "reconciliation" process so it would only need 51 votes to pass, instead of the normal 60 votes needed to close debate on a bill.

"Our tax code is burdensome, confusing and outdated,” Roberts, the senior senator from Kansas, said in a statement following the vote. “There is widespread, bipartisan agreement on the need for tax reform, and I’m pleased the Senate took this important step toward providing tax relief to hardworking Americans. I look forward to continuing our work in the Senate Finance Committee to write a tax bill that allows Kansans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.”

Moran, the state's junior senator, issued a similar statement.

“Our tax code should work for American families, not against them," he said. "Kansans know how critical tax reform is to their ability to find quality jobs, start small businesses, or pay for household items and utility bills every month. In the more than 30 years since we last passed major tax reform, the national and global economies have changed dramatically. We must adapt as well by establishing a fairer and simpler tax code to empower American individuals to succeed and American businesses to compete."

Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts, left, and Jerry Moran

Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts, left, and Jerry Moran

Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration are backing a tax plan that includes several elements similar to the controversial tax initiatives that Brownback championed in Kansas: reducing the number of tax brackets and lowering rates across the board; closing many income tax loopholes; and greatly reducing — but not eliminating, as Kansas did — income taxes levied against nonwage business income from partnerships, sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and other so-called "pass-through" entities.

As Brownback and his allies did in championing those kinds of cuts in Kansas, Congressional Republicans argue that they will stimulate job growth and economic expansion.

In Kansas, however, which Brownback said would be a "real live experiment" of the tax cut theory, jobs and gross state product lagged behind the rest of the nation while those policies were in place; state government suffered from severe revenue shortfalls that forced deep cuts in spending on highways, health care and education.

During the 2017 session, the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature passed a bill reversing course on those tax policies with two-thirds majorities in both chambers, overriding Brownback's veto of the bill.

The U.S. House has already approved a similar budget resolution, and negotiations were already underway Friday to find a path for the House to agree to the Senate's changes in order to avoid a lengthy conference committee process.

The entire Kansas delegation to the House, including 2nd District Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Topeka, have expressed their support for the general outline of the tax plan.

In an op-ed column for Fox News, however, Jenkins said Congress had learned from the mistakes in Kansas, and that the federal tax reform bill would be different.

"It’s no secret that Kansas made a few mistakes with its tax reform plan," Jenkins wrote. "First of all, they zeroed out the tax rate for pass-through businesses, which is the tax status used for most small businesses, and failed to erect any guardrails to discourage tax avoidance. This created a loophole that allowed some existing businesses and wealthy individuals to avoid paying income taxes altogether by simply reclassifying as a pass-through and thus create a new 'business' without adding any employees."


Richard Heckler 4 months ago

Moran and Roberts will never change as they are sell outs.

These Laffer Curve tax cuts are not Brownback tax cuts these are tax cuts directed from behind closed doors.




These secret meeting have been coming together at Trump country clubs lately.

Calvin Anders 4 months ago

Despite Republicans' repeated lies and deceptions, this tax reform plan is primarily a tax cut for the rich. It will accelerate the increase in our nation's deficit while the vast majority of revenue reductions will go right into the pockets of the rich and big corporations. It's an insult to voters that our elected officials think they can fool us into believing the cuts will benefit the middle class. Legislators haven't even bothered to come up with a remotely credible rational for supporting this effort. It's a naked money grab for wealthy donors.

Michael Kort 4 months ago

SCAMS.............most of the Republicans in Kansas would vote for Bernie Madoff if given a chance to do so and their choices of US congressional people speaks for themselves .

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months ago

They do seem to worship rich people, even if they got rich by ripping off people. It's all about money to them.

Michael LoBurgio 4 months ago

Once again Roberts and Moran have left the whole state down!

They always choose the party of Koch over there fellow Kansans

Brad Avery 4 months ago

The budget resolution, approved by Moran and Roberts, allows for cuts to medicare of $450 billion over the next 10 years.

Michael Kort 4 months ago

And they want to limit tax deferred deposits into savings 401 retirement accounts from $18,000 per year down to a couple of thousand to increase your taxable income..........SCAM ! SCAM ! S!CAM ALERT !

After Trump signs it into law and his supporters figure out just what they really voted for he will turn around and tell them that the budget is so big that no one knows what is in it, ...not even himself....and that somebody else unnamed (?) and or unidentified (?) told him it was a great bill and that he had no idea that it attacked funding for Medicare, S.S., personal retirement savings in order to do the same old Arthur Laffer disaster economics that happened disastrously here in Kansas for 5 or 6 years in the national spotlight .

As Billionaires, The Kochs don't need money in a 401 account .

Good luck to the rest of " Americans For Disparity " because allot of them are just going to be had ( taxwise ) so the Corporations and fat cats can go on making more money at the AFD's expense ..

Tom Weiss 4 months ago

Kansans should feel insulted by the Republican Tax Reform Plan, and especially by its support from the Kansas Congressional delegation. We were all guinea pigs in a Republican tax cut experiment, and suffered through the dire consequences for the state's economy. For details see this great article.

When the Republican-dominated state legislature repealed the tax cuts, and overrode Brownback's veto, we could take some comfort that our participation was not entirely in vain. Some Republicans had learned that tax cuts for the rich do not stimulate the economy as much as Republicans want them to. But the Federal Tax Reform Bill under consideration indicates that our Congressional delegation learned nothing - or worse are trying to cover up the results. Nor is any other Republican in Washington paying attention to the results. They continue to dream that trickle-down will work miracles, only now they try to cloak their dream under the name of dynamic scoring.

So, the rest of Kansans are being treated worse than rats and guinea pigs used in laboratory experiments. At least they can take comfort that the results of the experiment they participated in will be taken seriously by scientists.

Phillip Chappuie 4 months ago

Oh come on Jerry, you know better than that. Tax reform of this type will not create squat for hard working Kansans. It will raise the deficits those dollars we supposedly save will be worth a lot less. Add that into the rapid explosion in health care cost that is coming it is rather a lose/lose for everyone. Except the top level earners of course. They mostly don't care.

Steve King 4 months ago

Reagan did it already and it was a disaster. Just like it was in KS. Reagan had to raise taxes multiple time to cover the shortfall. Worse yet he took the SS trust fund and put it into the general fund. All gone now and why SS is insolvent. Stupid GOP.

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