A lot is being said about Gov. Sam Brownback's tax plan. It calls for cuts in the income tax, extension of a temporary sales tax hike and the elimination of popular mortgage interest and real estate property tax deductions. There is a lot of opposition to it from Kansas State Democrats. There has also been a lot of criticism from people on Facebook.
A lot of middle class people will no doubt miss the mortgage interest deductions. Extending the sales tax will hurt everyone, especially those with lower incomes. But that seems to be the trend in Topeka—shift the tax burden off the wealthy on to the poor and middle class. Brownback and his allies in the legislature seem to want to give everything government has to offer to wealthy people while striping away any benefits—or even making life harder on the poor and working poor.
In addition to all of that, Kansas will face a $782 million budget shortfall in 2018. Brownback want to balance the budget and build cash reserves by eliminating two popular income tax deductions for homeowners.
According to The Kansas City Star, a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Research Department assumed that in future years, that the state's overall revenues would grow a little less than 4 percent a year, absent the income tax cuts. The state's tax collections actually grew 8.2 percent during the fiscal year that ended in June. Growth this year is expected at 6.2 percent before the tax cuts ended last January. The same researchers projected that the reductions ultimately approved would create collective budget shortfalls approaching $2.5 billion over six years.
So cutting taxes to Brownback’s rich friends seems more important than a balanced budget here in Kansas.
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