www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Start by believing -4/22/2014, 10:09 AM

Talking taxes in Kansas -4/22/2014, 10:08 AM

The huge disconnect -4/22/2014, 10:08 AM

Legislation ridiculous -4/22/2014, 10:08 AM

Think about the future -4/22/2014, 10:08 AM

Indians get snookered -4/21/2014, 10:27 AM

Religion's unfair advantage unwarranted -4/21/2014, 10:27 AM

-4/21/2014, 10:27 AM

He is risen -4/20/2014, 2:20 PM

Anti-Semitism alive, dangerous in America -4/20/2014, 2:19 PM

Abolition of teacher tenure out of place -4/20/2014, 2:19 PM

Library award-winning -4/20/2014, 2:19 PM

Equality in discipline -4/18/2014, 7:57 AM

Earth daze -4/18/2014, 7:57 AM

Equal pay -4/18/2014, 7:57 AM

Receiving great care -4/17/2014, 4:09 PM

Unequal pay among genders -4/17/2014, 10:25 AM

Fighting for Kansas veterans -4/17/2014, 10:25 AM

School reductions -4/17/2014, 10:25 AM

Dress for safety -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Does losing due process create inadequacies? -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Hate crimes -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

On with the prom -4/15/2014, 8:57 AM

Newman proud to be in western Kansas -4/14/2014, 8:57 AM

Waiting on revenue estimates -4/13/2014, 8:57 AM

Wake up, people, and see the danger we’re in -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Patronizing paychecks -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Stripping of teachers’ due process worrisome -4/13/2014, 6:11 AM

The Kansas Ministry of Truth -4/13/2014, 6:14 AM

Letterman, Hillary and Jeb: 21st Century symbols -4/13/2014, 6:10 AM

Expensive school bill -4/13/2014, 6:12 AM

How to assist evil -4/11/2014, 9:15 AM

Taxing life away -4/11/2014, 9:12 AM

Lying about Obamacare -4/11/2014, 9:17 AM

The talk radio party? -4/10/2014, 11:04 AM

Term limits -4/10/2014, 11:06 AM

Let's do what we do best -4/10/2014, 11:05 AM

Satisfying the court -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Late-night funding fight -4/9/2014, 10:44 AM

‘Farmland’ — art is life on screen -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Tradition not changing -4/8/2014, 12:02 PM

Flat as a pancake -4/8/2014, 11:22 AM

Willing to take a bet -4/8/2014, 11:24 AM

Exposure to violence threatens children’s future -4/8/2014, 11:23 AM

Battling MS -4/7/2014, 8:58 AM

Why Renewable Fuel Standard matters -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Rites and wrongs of spring -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Coming to terms with Brownback -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Are 'religious viewpoint' laws needed in schools? -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

School non-funding -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Sex and race equality -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Rest of the story -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Bank on USPS to save 'bank deserts' -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Gambling and government -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Not merely water under the bridge -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Federal fine -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Twister time is here again -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

School funding battle continues -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

Watching for the flip-floppers -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Will Hays enter the 21st century? -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Tax breaks -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Hobby Lobby case a slippery slope -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Happy birthday, Gloria -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Unequal voting -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Protecting the pollinators -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Parties, politicians and seeking an advantage -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Healthy aging -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Threatened chicken -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

As temperatures rise, pay attention to stored grain -3/30/2014, 3:49 PM

Bizarre arguments and behavior -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

In your dreams -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

Against the wind -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Discovering the salt of the earth -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Entrepreneurship key to economic growth -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Kansas goes Kremlin with arrests, secrecy -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Get ready for Arbor Day -3/26/2014, 2:03 PM

Reading between the lines -3/26/2014, 2:02 PM

Switching parties -3/26/2014, 1:53 PM

Putting a price tag on damages -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Privately piercing, serious sacrifice -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Autism bill passes House -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

United stance -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Legislative session getting down to the end -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

Taxation bill involving livestock successful -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

STARBASE Day hits Topeka -3/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Judging based on accomplishments -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Who speaks for the voiceless? -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Fly Hays -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

Learning from the candidates -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

hedy -3/21/2014, 1:12 PM

-3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Fred Phelps -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Is There Wage Stagnation? -3/20/2014, 9:58 AM

Cost of living, wages don't add up -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

Legislative proposal raises questions -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

No vote on war -3/19/2014, 3:32 PM

Wonder of St. Fidelis -3/19/2014, 4:01 PM

Protein for breakfast -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

A pointed comment on guns -3/19/2014, 8:57 AM

Campaign madness -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Tough choices on taxes, revenue

Published on -1/23/2013, 11:04 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

On Jan. 15, Gov. Sam Brownback gave the State of the State address, outlining his priorities for 2013, including increasing student reading proficiency, leveraging economic growth and advancing government efficiency.

Possibly the biggest news in his address was his proposal to cut income taxes further and continue on a path to zero state income tax. Although we legislators have not yet seen the details of these proposed cuts, it certainly will be difficult to manage while we are attempting to digest the large tax cut enacted in early 2012.

On Jan. 16, Gov. Brownback's staff released his recommended budget for fiscal year 2014. It is certainly not an extravagant budget. While some will call it responsible, others might use the term "austere." It reflects the fact the state is facing a funding shortfall as a result of the large tax cut enacted last spring. Additionally, in order to make revenues and expenditures match, Gov. Brownback is proposing two new revenue sources:

* Permanent extension of the temporary sales tax increase enacted in 2010 and scheduled to end July 1.

* Elimination of the home mortgage interest deduction on Kansas tax returns.

This budget sets up a dilemma with choices that will be very difficult. If we in the Legislature agree to extend the sales tax increase, we are making a conscious decision to abandon the "three-legged stool" concept of financing government in our state by an equal reliance on sales, income and property tax. That system has been lauded in the past as being a system that is broad-based and provides stability and equity.

All three are cited frequently by economists as desirable characteristics for a state taxing system. An economist with the Kansas City Federal Reserve cited Kansas a few years back as having the least volatile tax revenues of all the states in the 10th District during the past 40 years.

So are we prepared to abandon the concept of fairness for Kansas citizens in hopes the economic theory that lower taxes will produce explosive economic growth really proves to be true? That is far from being accepted economic theory at this point, and even Gov. Brownback has termed the tax cut a "real live experiment." No one can be sure of the result. What is the cost to both taxpayer and government of moving to a system that is less stable and predictable? These are very serious questions. Unfortunately, I do not hear enough discussion on these issues in Topeka.

On the other hand, eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is not as important as it was before the 2012 tax cut. Because tax rates have been reduced, the deduction has less value to any taxpayer. Additionally, the 2012 tax cut bill provided for expanding the standard deduction from $4,500 to $9,000. The result will be that many more Kansas taxpayers will not have enough deductions to itemize and will end up taking the standard deduction. For those folks, losing the mortgage interest deduction will not matter. Of course, the deduction still will be available on federal tax returns, and the deduction is a much more important item there. It is hard to imagine that losing the deduction on their Kansas tax returns would be an important enough matter to alter Kansans' home-buying plans. And one could argue that if that deduction were the turning point on whether someone buys a home or not, then they probably were trying to buy a home they couldn't afford.

But here is the other part of the hard equation: If we in the Legislature cannot agree to extend the sales tax and eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction, then we will have created a $425 million hole in the governor's budget. Without additional revenue, we will be forced to make very significant cuts to state budgets and we will have to push some portion of the cost back to the local level in the form of higher property taxes. Keep in mind more than $1 billion already has been wrung out of the state budget in recent years, and the easy cuts are long gone. If additional efficiencies can be achieved, I am confident this administration will find them. If we are forced down the road of cutting budgets further, the pain to Kansas citizens and the harm to Kansas' infrastructure will be significant.

With decisions of this magnitude facing us, it is bound to be a very interesting session.

Don Hineman represents the 118th House District. dhineman@st-tel.net

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.

Kansas News