Republicans in the Kansas Legislature have flushed $330,000 down the drain fighting about how best to raise taxes on working Kansans. Share this if you think that $330,000 would have been better spent hiring ten new Kansas teachers and not paying Kansas legislatures for failing to do their job.
Lobbyists seeking to influence state laws have spent $380,000 feeding, entertaining and giving gifts to legislators in the first three months of this year.
But you will never know how three-fourths of that money was spent because the state disclosure law doesn’t require it.
Records obtained from the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission show that more than 74 percent of lobbyist spending, almost $285,000, was reported as “unitemized” on state forms, meaning that it can’t be linked to any particular lawmaker or event.
Brownback, Kansas GOP pushing to raise taxes on middle-class
Last year, Governor Brownback and Republican legislators passed a bill that handed tax breaks to the extremely wealthy and big businesses, eliminating income taxes for most businesses and drastically reducing income taxes on the richest Kansans.
This year, Governor Brownback, the Kansas GOP Senate, and the Kansas GOP House have all introduced different tax proposals to help cover the massive tax breaks signed into law last year. They all differ in their design, but they all share one thing: they drastically and disproportionately raise taxes on middle-class Kansans.
Don’t believe us? Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, asked the non-partisan Kansas Legislative Research Department to run the numbers on all three plans. Here they are in all their gory detail (numbers in millions) [See photo]
All three plans raise taxes over the next five years and all three plans do it by taxing hard working Kansans, not big businesses or the richest Kansans. But it’s not surprising given the fact that Governor Brownback’s 2012 tax plancreated a $2.5 billion deficit - something needed to fill the last revenue from that round of tax breaks for top earners and business owners - and Brownback and the GOP think your hard earned dollars should be that something.
What’s worse, these tax increases won’t even cover the hole. That’s why Gov. Brownback and GOP legislators are proposing cutting higher ed, reducing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for struggling working families, and sweeping funds from parks and other self-sustaining programs. Check out exactly how cutting the EITC epitomizes the GOP’s approach to tax policy - paying for tax breaks for those who need them the least by raising taxes on working Kansans struggling to make it.
Gov. Brownback and his GOP allies are demonstrating exactly what they care about and it’s not schools, working families, wage earners, highways, or parks. It’s tax cuts for a narrow band of wealthy Kansans who will benefit personally while the rest of Kansas suffers.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director said Friday that he offered his resignation after a $2 billion error on a spreadsheet found its way into a chart the governor used to claim credit for spending cuts that never happened.
The far right Kansas Senate okayed a bill today that will require people receiving unemployment insurance or state assistance to take drug tests to receive benefits.
Ignoring the fact that this is an offensive bill that makes nasty, unfounded assumptions about people who receive state aid, it’s a complete waste of money. Florida tried implementing this policy and wasted millions of dollars for no benefit.
Tell your state representatives to get back to work protecting public schools and bringing jobs to Kansas, not testing Kansans pee and wasting their time and our money.
Pat Garofalo | Think Progress
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), like Republican governors all across the country, aims to implement a regressive tax plan that involves cutting income taxes for the rich while, in his case, maintaining a sales tax hike that primarily hurts the poor. The sales tax increase was supposed to be temporary when it was adopted in 2010, but Brownback now wants to make permanent.
Sales taxes disproportionately impact the poor, who are more likely to spend all or most of their income. According to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Brownback’s plan will raise taxes on the poorest Kansans, but still lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to huge tax cuts for the rich:
– The poorest 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 0.2 percent more of their income in taxes each year, or an average increase of $22.
– The middle 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 0.2 percent less of their income in taxes each year, or an average cut of $104.
– Upper-income families, by contrast, reap the greatest benefit with the richest one percent of Kansans, those with an average income of over a million dollars, saving an average of $6,528 a year.
The plan would cost the state $340 million in revenue, despite hiking taxes the poor. And Kansas already has a regressive tax system, with the poorest residents paying arate more than twice as high as the richest 1 percent.