Secretary of State Kris Kobach chose the deadline for filing tax returns and the sidewalk in front of a U.S. post office Tuesday to declare a political commitment to veto all state tax increases sought by the Legislature if elected governor in 2018.
Kobach, who is competing in the Republican Party’s gubernatorial primary, signed a one-page pledge sanctioned by Americans for Tax Reform to rebuff bills that raised taxes on Kansans.
“Kansans are paying their taxes today,” he said. “When those hard-working men and women drop their state and federal forms in the mail, they know our taxes are way too high.”
He appeared at the post office in Topeka shortly after Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a bill dedicating more than $500 million over five years to public school districts. The Legislature and Colyer have yet to adopt an appropriations bill to meet that obligation and balance the state’s budget.
Signing a bill earmarking half a billion dollars to K-12 education led Kobach to denounce it as “unsustainable,” a point rebutted by Colyer during his remarks at Seaman High School.
“This is something we can afford,” Colyer said. “We do not need to raise taxes to do this.”
Kobach said it was “inevitable” the House and Senate would send a bill increasing state taxes to the governor during the next legislative session. The state’s governor should reduce expenditures to balance the budget rather than escalate taxes, he said, but promised not to make as steep a reduction in law enforcement agencies as he does in other areas of the state’s budget.
“We need a governor who is going to veto it, not a governor that has aided and abetted a tax increase as Gov. Colyer has,” Kobach said.