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Vote Greg Lewis
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Dear Editor,
In March 2015, during his first week in Topeka, Rep. Greg Lewis was invited by leaders of the legislature to listen to their fiscal policy plans.
By the end of the session these leaders in political control of the legislature would increase sales taxes as part of the largest tax increase in state history, impose $1.0 billion of bond debt on our children to fund KPERS obligations, and issue $400 million of highway bond debt to supplement the $1.6 billion of highway funds diverted to the state general fund. The 2016 session diverted more highway funds, cancelled highway projects, delayed scheduled KPERS contributions and cut public services in general. All of this was done to pay for the income tax cuts.
Even as our income has grown we have paid less income tax. From 2006 to 2015, our wealth in terms of Kansas personal income increased from $99.431 billion to $133.591 billion, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. But in FY 2006, Kansas individual income tax revenue at $2.401 billion was greater than FY 2015 at $2.303 billion. Over the same time period that our wealth increased 34.4%, the individual income tax we paid decreased 4.1%.
In the 20 years preceding the 2008 recession the portion of our income that we paid for state expenditures averaged 6.2% (Kansas Statistical Abstract KU Institute for Policy & Social Research, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The 2015 portion will only be about 5.5% for a reduction of about $1 billion. The state government fiscal disaster is not caused by spending growth. It is because we kept $1 billion for ourselves instead of using it for education and public works.
The income tax cuts provide a benefit to those of us with the most money relative to those of us with less. Election year proposals to tweak the business tax cut largely serve as a diversion from the problems caused by the much larger general income tax cut. Those in political control of the state serve decreasing income taxes above pretty much everything else. If we chose to elect them, we will all continue to serve this same political master.
After hearing the sales pitch of these political leaders Rep. Lewis declined to support their plans and has since voted accordingly. Other legislators had been served a warning about failing to support the income tax cuts: Those groups in political control of the state would run candidates against them that would continue the income tax cut agenda. Rep. Lewiss opponent in the upcoming primary, Jon Prescott, has the endorsement of these groups.
This is not any sort of personality contest. Both Greg and Jon are successful businessmen and genuinely good guys. It is a referendum on the fiscal disaster that is being left to our children and the empty promises of the income tax cuts. No one even pretends anymore that the boost state revenues promise is true. As for the pro-growth, pro-job promise, 4 of the 5 counties in house district 113 have fewer jobs now than prior to the tax cuts for an overall loss of 937 jobs (25,450 vs. 26,837, Dec. 2015 vs. Dec. 2012, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Please continue to keep the 113th house district out of the voting bloc perpetuating the current fiscal mess. Restore our Kansas heritage of fiscal conservatism and vote for Rep. Greg Lewis on Aug. 2.
John Sturn