Sam Brownback signs budget-busting income tax bill
The Kansas City Star
So, the deed is done.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law income tax cuts that are projected to cost the state $242 million a year from now and $2.5 billion or more in five years.
The tax will mean income tax cuts for most individuals, although some low-income workers may wind up paying more. About 191,000 businesses, including sole proprietorships, S-corporations and limited liability corporations will no longer pay taxes on non-wage income. Brownback says the tax cuts will have the effect of jet fuel on the Kansas economy. Critics say he’s setting up the state for a crash landing.
Remember that Brownback tricked the Senate into signing this bill, and the senator who chaired the Tax Committee, a conservative Republican, called it “the worst bill to ever come out of the statehouse.” That seems like a pretty good indication that the critics have the higher ground.
Kansas is coming off years of budget cuts. Schools and universities that have been looking for relief now face further cuts. Kansas’ treatment of disabled citizens is so bad that the state is very likely to be found in violation of federal law and U.S. Supreme Court rulings. A court order to put more funding into schools is another possibility. A one-cent sales tax that former Gov. Mark Parkinson signed into law to blunt the effects of the recession is set to disappear. This hardly looks like a state that’s in a great position to give away the store.
“We’re going to keep pruning at state government anywhere we can,” Brownback said at a news conference. But Kansas government has been cut pretty close to the branch already. One can hope Brownback is right and hundreds of thousands of jobs will come flooding into Kansas. But folks can hardly be blamed for fearing the worst.