Seriously, Kansas conservatives...more income tax cuts?
The Kansas City Star
Influential conservatives in Kansas are hinting that they might be open to extending all of the temporary one-cent sales tax increase after all.
But if you’re thinking some of those funds might be used to reduce the class sizes at your local public school, or to whittle down the enormous list of developmentally disabled citizens waiting for services, think again.
Kansas Chamber of Commerce officials and conservative Republican legislators say in this Associated Press report that they’ll go for a sales tax extension only if the money it brings in is used to reduce state income taxes even more.
Say what? An overreach on income tax cuts passed in this year’s legislative session has left Kansas looking at a $295 million hole in next year’s budget. Lawmakers should be looking for ways to make up that gap, not to forfeit more money.
Extending the sales tax increase passed in 2009, which was supposed to be for three years, isn’t ideal. It forces low- and-middle-income people to pay more for food, clothing and necessities. But it might be preferable to decimating schools and state services further. It should not under any circumstances be used as a tradeoff for more income tax cuts, which primarily benefit wealthier Kansans.
“Economic growth is THE issue,” incoming Sen. Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth, a conservative Republican, told the AP.
OK, fine. But well-funded schools and universities, good roads and a sound infrastructure, and an adequate safety net can’t be separated from economic growth. And they won’t happen without an increase in state revenues. That’s the disconnect for the conservatives.