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Creative Accounting

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The Governor has proposed her budget. She is meeting her fiscal obligations on the backs of our college students, the handicapped and our local governments. It is fascinating that our Democratic Governor and our mostly Democratic local delegation are not even attempting to raise taxes. I guess they feel that the local governments can do that for them. Great – our local taxes have not been raised enough already! I think I remember our state delegation lamenting the ever-increasing local property tax levy. They our right, we cannot afford more taxes on the middle. Of course, increased property taxes are a tax increase – on the middle. Guess they missed that?Kansas is not a high tax state at the state level – we are in the middle of the 50. We are, however, among the set that have a relatively regressive state income tax structure. We also deviate from the recommended good governance balance of income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes. We rely disproportionately on the property tax.What would be so hard about making our income tax more progressive? We do not have to impact the middle class. With little effort, we could establish one or two additional income tax rates for citizens that are more affluent. Maybe the first step increase could be at an income level of $100.000. Maybe we could have a second step at about $250,000. The income from such an action would not solve the shortfall, but it sure would create the perception of a more “just” tax structure. California and New York, among other states, are examples.I find it hard to believe that our society can not prosper if we increase taxes on the”rich”. They still will have the means to invest and if we reduce the tax take on the middle, so will they. Perhaps the real problem is that the “rich” give a lot of money to our elected elites and they run in the same social circles. Maybe our elites are just biased against us - the “lumpenproletariat”.Maybe our Democrats (and Moderate Republicans) can get a handle around such an initiative and move it forward. It sure would mitigate the pain on our college students, the handicapped and our local governments! They could certainly answer the question as to why they seem so reluctant to raise taxes on the “rich”. Let us make our state income tax more progressive while holding the ravaged middle harmless.

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