We in Kansas honor and appreciate those that have come before us. And we work and sacrifice for those who follow us. It is a lesson we have seen with our own eyes as we grew up with parents and grandparents who did exactly this, who learned it from the generations before them. We typically describe this as common decency and common sense.
For the past four years, we in Kansas, especially those with the most money, have decreased the share of our income we provide for schools and public works and have burdened our children with increased debt. We have done this with the Kansas income tax cuts.
But we share a common decency and common sense, so we will reverse the income tax cuts.
The proponents of the income tax cuts do not want this. In the current legislative session they will only propose changes to the business income tax cut and only minimal if any changes to the much larger personal income tax cut. Since 2010 tax-supported debt has increased 40 percent to nearly $4.5 billion, but they will propose even more debt that our children will spend their lifetimes paying for.
Our fiscal mess is not due to spending growth. As the governor himself boasted in his FY 2017 budget report, spending has been limited to inflation, but income tax cut proponents will make misleading and false statements. The Senate president used, “live within our means” to justify further funding cuts to our public works and schools. From 2006 to 2015, our Kansas personal income increased from $99.4 billion to $133.6 billion, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. We have adequate means to fund our government; we have just kept more of it for ourselves.
2016 was the fourth year of the Kansas income tax cuts. Through these four years, those of us at about the 80th income percentile, with an annual household income of $100,000, accumulated about $4,000 more in our pockets due to the tax cuts. Those of us at about the 95th percentile, with an annual household income of $200,000, have about $11,000 of additional cash. For those of us whose income is from a business which we take half of as salary, the additional effect of the business income exemption increased our totals to about $13,000 and $30,000, respectively.
The proponents of the income tax cuts have depicted restoring the 2009 upper income tax rate for joint gross incomes over $80,000 as hurting “the middle class.” But those of us with incomes over $80,000 are in approximately the top 25th percentile. The true middle can only dream of paying the upper income tax rate.
We will reverse the income tax cuts, but there is work involved. We purposefully made changes in our legislative representatives. We need to support them. It is just common decency and common sense.