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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Governor Brownback and Kansas Republicans Keep Making Things Worse


Everyone knows, a few years ago, in Kansas, very Republican Governor Sam and all his Republican, Right Wing cohorts at the Topeka State Capitol slashed taxes on the already-wealthy and corporations in that state and raised them on the working-, middle- and lower-classes.

Terrific.

We all also know that, since those actions were put in place, Kansas' credit rating has been downgraded and income for the state has dropped horribly, leading to cuts in state budgets, including, tragically, the schools.

Bad and getting worse.

Now, these same rocket scientists in Topeka want and need to raise money for the state, for those budgets, rather naturally, so what do they do?

Why, raise taxes on purchases, of course.

And who does that hurt most, precisely? Look no further than Dave Helling and the  Kansas City Star today for the answer:

Photo of Kansas State Capitol Building


The stupid, it burns.

A little from the article:

Every Kansan will feel the sting of the budget and accompanying tax hikes passed at the end of the state Legislature’s marathon 2015 session. Homeowners, workers, businesses, smokers — all will pay more.

But no group, experts believe, gets hurt more than the state’s low- and moderate-income workers, those earning between $30,000 and $50,000 a year.

They now face higher taxes on essential purchases without most of the subsidies that protect poorer Kansans from government’s bite.

Low-income workers, unlike those with significantly higher earnings, must watch their pennies carefully to pay for other essentials such as transportation and housing. Soon, more of those pennies — which quickly grow to dollars — will be on their way to Topeka.


“There’s only so much you can squeeze from the lowest end of the scale,” said Annie McKay, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth. She called the tax bill deeply disappointing.

“We’ve moved up the food chain,” she said. “This looks to pick the pockets of lower- and middle-income Kansans.”

Kansas will soon collect 6.5 cents on every dollar that residents pay for food. That’s among the highest sales tax rates on food in the country.


And then there's this irony and screw-up for the Kansas "small government", "low tax" chuckleheads in Topeka:

Some lawmakers in the Kansas City area now think shoppers will take their grocery business to Missouri, where food sales taxes are dramatically lower. At $200 a week, a Kansas grocery shopper can save almost $550 a year in sales taxes just by crossing the state line.

For someone earning $600 a week, those savings are probably critical.


And then it gets worse here, with this tax increase, too:

The tax hit for low- and moderate-income Kansans isn’t limited to food purchases.

That higher sales tax will now be embedded in clothing purchases, cars, nonprescription medicines and more, costing taxpayers cash. Businesses might raise their prices to cover their own higher taxes. An increase in the cigarette tax will now cost a pack-a-day Kansas smoker $471 a year. (The Missouri tax of 17 cents a pack translates to $62.)

And the new tax bill contains other hikes, unrelated to purchases, that will pinch the state’s residents. The package reduces the state deductibility of local property taxes and mortgage interest, driving up most Kansans’ income tax payments. The 2012 income tax rate cuts — which studies have shown actually increased tax liabilities for poor and low-income residents — have been locked in place, at least for the time being.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article24020830.html#storylink=cpy

“What we’re going to see in the coming years is a growing number of working poor in Kansas, who don’t have access to support but don’t have enough to make ends meet,” McKay said.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article24020830.html#storylink=cpy

If there's any silver lining to all these dark clouds, it's this:

Yet next year’s potential for a Kansas crisis — and the real one this year — has dampened enthusiasm for serious tax cuts in most other states. Several Republican governors have cited the Kansas struggle in scaling back their own tax reduction plans this year.

Even most Republican presidential candidates have shied away from broad, across-the-board tax cut plans. The anti-tax fervor that has dominated the GOP for decades has given way, at least in part, to targeted tax reduction plans that might do less damage to the government’s revenue stream.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article24020830.html#storylink=cpy

But let it never be said these Right Wing, extremist Republicans learn anything. At least, if they do learn, it's none too quickly:

Yet the anti-tax sentiment in the modern Republican Party remains strong, Kansas notwithstanding.

“There are going to be different kinds of tax cuts offered,” said Richard Skinner, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities. “But I think all the Republican candidates will offer some sort of major tax cut.”


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article24020830.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article24020830.html#storylink=cpy

Lots of us who know and like Kansans and want good things for them, hope the time will have finally come in our friend's and family member's state for them to finally, finally vote these knuckleheads and greedheads out of office.

It can't happen soon enough.

Link to another great article on the mess that is Kansas of late, here: Kansas Republicans Are Slaves To A Monster Of Their Own Making

And check out this headline, today, on Kansas, too, from The New York Times:

Kansas: College Funding Is at Risk Without Tax Increase, Governor Says

I love that headline. Governor Brownback and his Republican Party associates wrecked the state's budgets with their "trickle down", tax the middle class and poor strategies and now are saying, "Give us our tax increases or the schools get it."

Nearly unbelievable.



Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article24020830.html#storylink=cpy

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