Face of the experiment
I'm writing this piece in the hopes of cutting through the political noise of the upcoming election. I have a story to tell, and I believe it matters.
My name is Mary Lucas, and I'm the proud mother of a 6-year-old boy. We are the face of Gov. Sam Brownback's experiment.
I've seen his ad featuring "Becky," a young woman attesting to her belief Brownback's economic solutions are better for her and her family.
I passionately disagree.
I'm a single mom. My son is the focus of my energy, and I work hard every day with the sole intention of providing for him so he can excel in our world with greater ease than I have known. It's the wish of every parent.
I provide for Reigner on a shoestring budget. There are no handouts. I make just barely enough to keep us from qualifying for any government assistance, including the state's child care subsidy program and free/reduced school meals program. I am so proud that I do not have to use assistance. It is what I strive for. But it's frustrating to feel like I am being attacked for trying to get ahead and make things happen for my son. I am a hard worker and a good Kansan and I hate being witness to my governor working against me. It's a defeating feeling.
The Brownback experiment with Kansas income tax reform has enabled my friends with significant six figure incomes to have their Kansas income tax liability reduced to zero. They no longer pay Kansas income tax, while I have seen my Kansas income tax liability increase 50 percent under the Brownback administration.
Yes, you read that correctly. Brownback's experiment has inflicted on the working poor a significant tax increase. Today, as an earner with an adjusted gross income in the bottom 20 percent of Kansas residents, I pay fifty percent more in taxes.
Those dollars "Becky" says Brownback will let her keep? That's not true, unless she's among a wealthier tier of the Kansas population.
Our governor's claims ring hollow. The sun is not shining in Kansas. There are many hard working Kansans bringing home less each year because of the Governor's approved changes to the Kansas food sales tax credit, homestead property tax refund for renters, and dependent child care credit.
I don't begrudge higher earners their income tax relief. But I must ask - is this the outcome we intended?
As we near Election Day, I hope every Kansas voter will seriously consider the ramifications of re-electing Brownback. His tax policies are failing the state and while for a few that policy has put dollars back into already rich pockets, the loss of income to those who need it the most is having far-reaching negative outcomes for our state. We cannot afford four more years of protecting the wealthy at the expense of the working class.
Kansans didn't ask to become experimental ground for the long refuted economic policies touted by Arthur Laffer. This failed venture is bankrupting our state and families like mine. We must return Kansas to her glory on November 4th by electing Paul Davis, a man I know represents the best interests of every Kansan, not only those who wield significant financial influence.
Mary M. Lucas,