www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Why save a tree? -4/24/2014, 9:36 AM

Next step on affirmative action -4/24/2014, 9:36 AM

Tale of two laws -4/23/2014, 8:35 AM

Use this old world wisely -4/23/2014, 8:35 AM

Race and Obama news coverage -4/23/2014, 8:34 AM

Truth about Obamacare -4/23/2014, 8:34 AM

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

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

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

With tax cuts come tax shifts

Published on -10/7/2012, 12:58 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Most Kansans track politics closely when elected officials are fiddling with changes in taxes and are savvy in understanding how such changes will affect their pocketbooks. However, the massive tax cuts recently enacted by state lawmakers have left many Kansans unaware of underlying shifts in the tax structure that will move the tax burden from wealthy Kansans to those with middle and lower incomes.

What do we know about who pays taxes before the tax cuts?

The only publicly available study of who pays state and local taxes in Kansas was commissioned by the Kansas Department of Revenue a few years ago. This study showed that state taxes tend to be regressive overall.

Lower-income Kansans pay more of their income toward property and sales taxes than do higher-income Kansans. On the other hand the state income tax offsets this bias: higher-income Kansans pay more of their income toward income taxes, compared with lower-income Kansans, or at least did so prior to the tax cuts.

Why are many Kansans not aware that tax cuts mean tax shifts?

First, a bill reflecting Gov. Sam Brownback's tax plan was not available until weeks into the legislative session, and after that, the torturous process of stops and starts short-changed debate and ultimately left flaws in the final legislation.

Second, the full effect of changes in state taxes will not be felt until calendar year 2014 and beyond.

Third, Brownback and his opponents have jousted on issues other than the shifts in who pays taxes as a result of the cuts.

For example, Brownback and his revenue secretary crisscrossed the state and focused attention on eliminating all state income taxes for 191,000 businesses as part of his "pro-growth" agenda, optimistically projecting the creation of 22,900 new jobs, beyond normal growth by the year 2020. Even if the administration's projection comes to pass, producing just over two new jobs each year for every 1,000 people in the Kansas workforce is more like a low-dose aspirin than "a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy" as Brownback asserts.

Also, Brownback's opponents have raised their alarm on the $4.5 billion deficit projected to occur as a result of the tax cuts and the impact of that deficit in diminishing the state's ability to fund education and assist vulnerable Kansans. They point to cuts in existing programs and Brownback's order that state agencies prepare budgets based on a 10 percent reduction in spending.

So, how do Brownback's tax cuts change who pays taxes?

The good news is that all state income taxpayers will benefit from the cuts, but the disparity in who benefits is dramatic. The Kansas Department of Revenue estimates that the state's 285,000 low-income taxpayers, those with incomes of $25,000 and below, will receive a $46 tax cut, compared to a $9,792 tax cut for the 21,000 taxpayers with incomes of $250,000 and above.

Stated another way, low-income taxpayers, who make up 26 percent of all tax filers, will receive less than 2 percent of the estimated $717 million tax cut, while the top group, who comprise less than 2 percent of filers, will take home $207 million in tax cuts, or 29 percent of the benefit. The estimates show similar but less extreme disparities when other categories of higher- and lower-income taxpayers are examined.

The facts speak loudly: Brownback and his legislative allies have dramatically shifted the state tax burden from higher-income Kansans onto lower-income Kansans, and the progressive nature of the state income tax has been substantially eroded.

The principle of fairness that has guided major changes in state tax policy throughout Kansas history has been abandoned. Brownback's "pro-growth" tax cuts, coupled with his stated desire to move more funding of state obligations to higher and more regressive sales and property taxes, are blatantly unfair to middle- and lower-income Kansans.

H. Edward Flentje is a professor at Wichita State University.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos