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Common Sense Blog

A call for Comprehensive Tax Reform from Governor Carlin

By John Carlin 
​As we look to the opening of the Kansas Legislative session next Monday and the Governor’s State of the State address on Tuesday, let us be mindful of the huge set of challenges ahead for Kansas to recover from the failed policies of the last six years. It will be more difficult and complicated than any governmental challenge I can recall in my lifetime. To be successful, at least three things need to happen. One, we need to make sure the whole story of our fiscal mess is out on the table and understood by the public. Second, we need to understand that despite the progress of electing more moderates in 2016, unless the new President finds a job for our Governor, we will have him for two more years. And third, we have to be very careful not to fall into a trap that is packaged as a strong first step in dealing with our problem.  

It is to that latter point that I wish to comment on today. The announcement that the two new chairs of the two tax committees would be pushing immediately for repeal of the Limited Liability Corporation tax cut sounds so encouraging. They even want to make it retroactive to January 1 to make the most of helping the state out of its fiscal crisis. However, in truth, this is nothing more than an effort to protect the bulk of the other negative changes in the Governor’s failed tax experiment. To his credit, Representative Jim Ward, the new House minority leader, quickly pointed out that this action makes dealing with the bigger, more complicated challenges even more difficult. "The question is: How many of these votes do you want to take?" Ward said. "And if you're going to take serious steps to address the problem—which is a structural budget problem—shouldn't we have a comprehensive approach?"


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Save Kansas: Coalition works for return of responsible governing

Save Kansas, an alliance of Republicans, Independents and Democrats, wants to abolish extremism controlling state government.

Consider Save Kansas’ list of sensible, traditional values, and how they’ve been trampled since ultraconservative Gov. Sam Brownback took office:

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• Balanced tax policy. Kansas must pursue as much after the governor’s radical tax reform gutted income-tax revenue and created huge budget shortfalls.

• Quality educational opportunity. Ultraconservatives don’t like public education, and their interest in shifting taxpayer support to private and home schools with less stringent demands than K-12 public school districts is proof.

• Reasonable health-care access. Blocking Medicaid (KanCare) expansion has left some 150,000 Kansans, mostly working poor, without coverage. Plus, Kansas has passed on $1.15 billion — so far — in federal dollars that would help rural hospitals in particular.

• Adequate public safety. Problems range from reckless gun measures to shortchanged law enforcement efforts.

• Job growth and financial responsibility. Erasing income taxes for more than 330,000 farms and other business entities didn’t generate the significant job growth Brownback promised. And so much for fiscal conservatism with excessive borrowing, a significant sales tax increase and credit downgrades.

• Judicial impartiality. The run on an independent judiciary by a governor out to control all three branches of state government and eliminate resistance to his ultraconservative pursuits must be stopped.

 

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