www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

General misconduct -3/5/2015, 10:48 AM

Remembering Washington school -3/5/2015, 10:48 AM

Raping culture -3/5/2015, 10:46 AM

Summer school -3/5/2015, 10:45 AM

Raiding KDOT -3/4/2015, 9:22 AM

Attending the Western Farm Show -3/4/2015, 9:22 AM

Education funding -3/4/2015, 9:22 AM

Tornado awareness -3/4/2015, 9:22 AM

Farmers and property taxes -3/3/2015, 9:51 AM

What's next after Turnaround Day? -3/3/2015, 9:51 AM

Giuliani, once heroic, now simply foolish -3/2/2015, 9:34 AM

Money: The first primary -3/2/2015, 9:33 AM

Kansas' fate is more tragic than comic -3/1/2015, 12:43 PM

Tweeting -- and setting nation's 'chat agenda' -3/1/2015, 12:43 PM

Flying Hays, again -3/1/2015, 12:43 PM

The cancer of multiculturalism -2/27/2015, 9:14 AM

Supreme Court justice selection -2/27/2015, 9:14 AM

Welcome to Hays -2/27/2015, 9:14 AM

Sentencing reforms make us smarter on crime -2/26/2015, 9:23 AM

Presidential candidates -2/26/2015, 9:23 AM

Kochs and unions -2/26/2015, 9:23 AM

A future of guns -2/25/2015, 9:43 AM

Lesser prairie chicken -2/25/2015, 9:42 AM

Radical Islam -2/25/2015, 9:42 AM

Agriculture can do the job -2/25/2015, 9:42 AM

Brownback's first date OK -2/24/2015, 8:59 AM

Institutional racism? -2/24/2015, 8:50 AM

Continuing to march -2/24/2015, 8:50 AM

Going without meat -2/23/2015, 9:55 AM

Toward a transhuman future? -2/23/2015, 9:55 AM

Schools still struggle with religion -2/23/2015, 9:55 AM

Sacking the school finance formula -2/22/2015, 5:45 PM

Beheadings and Bill O'Reilly -2/22/2015, 5:45 PM

-2/20/2015, 10:00 AM

Kansas the Fruitcake State -2/20/2015, 9:59 AM

We know the drill -2/20/2015, 9:59 AM

The credit hour is not dead -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Picking judges -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

No gatekeepers -2/19/2015, 10:12 AM

Drone warfare -2/18/2015, 9:46 AM

Fire remains vital management tool -2/18/2015, 9:46 AM

Moore stands on the wrong side of history -2/18/2015, 9:46 AM

School board elections -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Supporting Washington -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Saving Washington -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

Free tuition -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

Gov. Brownback outlines education allotments -2/16/2015, 9:22 AM

The new 'normal' family? -2/16/2015, 9:22 AM

What's best for education -2/16/2015, 9:22 AM

Tourism sparks Kansas economy -2/16/2015, 9:22 AM

Worry about what's important -2/15/2015, 4:15 PM

You can't make this up, and, well, you shouldn't -2/15/2015, 4:15 PM

Unequal Kansas -2/15/2015, 4:15 PM

Fairness and justice -2/13/2015, 9:44 AM

Overcriminalization of America -2/13/2015, 12:50 PM

Reconsider repurposing -2/12/2015, 9:45 AM

Secretary of fraud -2/12/2015, 9:45 AM

Spontaneous order -2/12/2015, 9:45 AM

Elementary 'efficiencies' -2/12/2015, 9:45 AM

Gift of gab? -2/11/2015, 10:04 AM

Gambling with KPERS -2/11/2015, 9:55 AM

Out of jail, but not yet free -2/11/2015, 9:54 AM

No eggs for breakfast? -2/11/2015, 9:54 AM

Consequences of your vaccination decision -2/10/2015, 9:11 AM

What's in a name -2/10/2015, 9:11 AM

Measles outbreak -2/10/2015, 9:11 AM

Mental disability is not a fad -2/9/2015, 9:12 AM

New genes: angels or demons? -2/9/2015, 9:12 AM

'Can't anybody play this game?' -2/8/2015, 4:43 PM

Vaccines, science and the limits of freedom -2/8/2015, 4:43 PM

Tourney moving -2/8/2015, 6:34 PM

Tragic school stories -2/6/2015, 10:02 AM

Social Darwinist 'Christianity' -- Chapter 4 -2/6/2015, 10:02 AM

Fiscal insanity -2/5/2015, 9:45 AM

Parasites all around -2/5/2015, 9:45 AM

Bigger dictionaries -2/5/2015, 9:45 AM

Something obscene about civil asset forfeitures -2/4/2015, 10:05 AM

Feeding children -2/4/2015, 10:05 AM

Stop fowl play -2/4/2015, 10:04 AM

The 'Kansas Experiment' -2/3/2015, 9:48 AM

Free college -2/3/2015, 9:48 AM

Gun rights -2/3/2015, 9:48 AM

Clearly, it's still a mess -2/3/2015, 9:48 AM

Public business -2/3/2015, 9:48 AM

The governor's budget -2/2/2015, 9:14 AM

Committee hearings ongoing -2/2/2015, 9:13 AM

Pontiff wrong on freedom of expression -2/2/2015, 9:12 AM

Indiana's 'JustIn' thankfully on the way out -2/2/2015, 9:12 AM

Coming home in an unexpected manner -2/1/2015, 2:17 PM

The myth of the monolith -2/1/2015, 2:17 PM

Gifted students -2/1/2015, 2:17 PM

Defense against demagogues -1/30/2015, 9:44 AM

Kansas is at risk -1/30/2015, 9:44 AM

Football injuries -1/30/2015, 9:44 AM

A note on primitivism -1/29/2015, 9:55 AM

Owning ideas -1/29/2015, 9:55 AM

There's more -1/29/2015, 9:55 AM

Kansas' birthday -1/29/2015, 9:55 AM

Back to the future, locked and loaded -1/28/2015, 9:29 AM

Compromise -- make it happen -1/28/2015, 9:29 AM

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