Kansas is in desperate need of immediate CPR due to the failing tax policies of the current state administration.
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government released a June 12 report saying Kansas, at 24 percent, had the third largest decline of U.S. states in individual tax revenues from January through April 2014 compared to 2013.
Overall, the average decline nationwide was 7 percent.
This is a list that Kansas does NOT want to be at the top of. First was Ohio with 31 percent and second, North Dakota with 28 percent and third, the Land of Oz. These are all states that cut income taxes.
The Rockefeller Institute has a theory for why these deficits have occurred.
“In all three states, the large declines are at least partially attributable to legislated tax changes, including income tax rate deductions. . . . In 2012, Kansas enacted deep cuts in income tax rates, “the largest ever enacted by any state” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Kansas reduced the income tax rate for the highest earners from 6.45 percent in 2012 to 4.9 percent,” Nelson A Rockefeller Institute, June 12.
In addition, 191,000 small businesses no longer are liable for state income tax-for owners, that is.
The latest numbers do not look good. The state of Kansas has collected $338 million less in income tax than budgeted in April, May and June.
In the meantime, school districts and communities are raising property and sales tax to pay for necessities.
The tax breaks given to some of our wealthiest citizens were purportedly to give them the opportunity to hire more employees. However, there is no small business that will hire somebody they don’t need, and apparently that money now is not going to pay for necessary government services or new employees.
Job growth in Kansas has been modest since the huge tax cuts, lagging behind the national average, and three of the four surrounding states.
Gov. Brownback blames President Obama. Indeed, the Institute attributed the nationwide decline to a rush to pay capital gains tax in 2013 that was expected to rise.
The blame game is somewhat of a stretch and sadly, these politicians just have to touch on hot-button social issues in Kansas, and the fiscal urgency goes out the window.
Most people like safe highways, being able to safely cross a bridge, and have good schools. It seems like everyone who uses them ought to help pay for them, and not just wage earners.