www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

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

Faith v. facts -1/28/2015, 9:29 AM

Counting on Les -1/27/2015, 9:22 AM

Building bills in the Legislature -1/27/2015, 9:22 AM

Tale of the tree -1/27/2015, 9:22 AM

Seismic activity -1/27/2015, 9:22 AM

Where are the good guys? -1/27/2015, 9:21 AM

Brownback's budget -1/26/2015, 9:59 AM

Committee meetings begin -1/26/2015, 9:50 AM

Excitement starts at Capitol -1/26/2015, 9:50 AM

What's happening with oil prices? -1/26/2015, 9:50 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Figuring out the tax debate

Published on -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Some intensive shadowboxing might be about to break out in the so-far relatively bloodless fight between Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and Democrat Rep. Paul Davis, Lawrence, for governor.

The latest: Brownback asserts Davis' sketchy call for freezing the state's multiyear income tax cut regimen -- apparently to avoid budget deficits -- essentially is raising taxes.

Earlier: It was Brownback who campaigned against letting the three-year penny sales tax increase expire July 1, 2013, because he needed the money for education, and to pay for an income tax cut bill the Legislature wildly inflated above Brownback's proposal.

So, who increased taxes and who proposes to increase, err, not continue cutting taxes?

Both of them.

Is stopping a reduction in the state sales tax rate raising taxes? Is proposing to stop a future reduction in state income taxes raising taxes? You decide.

There is an interesting little twist with the income tax issue. In 2012, the Legislature did the massive income tax cuts the state couldn't afford. So, the next year, lawmakers who wouldn't let the sales tax just fade away instituted a regimen of "haircuts" for income tax deductions.

Those deductions are available to Kansans who itemize their income taxes and those deductions were given a progressive "haircut." So, the interest on your mortgage that used to be a dollar-for-dollar write-off against taxable income was reduced by 24 percent last year and will be cut by 40 perent this tax year, and into the future, under the still murky "Davis freeze."

The governor-led effort to keep the sales tax alive in 2013 didn't go entirely the governor's way. Remember: The state sales tax in 2009 was 5.3 percent; it was raised by a penny to 6.3 percent for what was written into statute to be just three years. (Oh, a dab of that penny, 0.4 percent -- that's four cents for each taxable $10 in purchases -- was earmarked for the highway department in perpetuity.)

The sales tax now is 6.15 percent, not the 6.3 percent Brownback wanted. Did Brownback raise sales taxes, or could we say he cut taxes by signing off on the sales tax continuation that was less than he wanted?

This little scrap over taxes, who raised them, and when does have an interesting little side issue the Brownback campaign cleverly noted.

While the tax-cut freeze Davis is proposing hits everyone, the "haircut" provisions of current tax law also are frozen. This means higher-income taxpayers who itemize won't see the value of their deductions shrink any further. Which means, ironically -- but factually -- that freezing tax cuts actually benefits the wealthier itemizers by not further reducing the value of those deductions.

Imagine that? Davis panders to the wealthy. Or, at least that's how the Brownback campaign has characterized it.

This little tax fight probably isn't the issue that will send most Kansans to the window ledge to agonize over whom to support for governor.

There are schools and social issues and economic development and probably even the proper deportment when you live in the same county as a lesser prairie chicken to rend our garments over.

But, it's a start, and does anyone else think this little campaign to see who sleeps at the governor's mansion might turn out to be fun for those of us who sleep in our own beds?

Syndicated by Hawver News Co.

of Topeka, Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos