Tax policy – Lawmakers had to go into overtime in the 2013 session trying to figure out how to climb out of the ditch they created last year when they gave away $3.7 billion in income-tax cuts without figuring out how to offset them. They finally decided on a patchwork fix. The upshot: It amounts to at least $777 million in tax increases on Kansans over the next five years. While it is abundantly clear the state is struggling to meet its basic obligations to the people of Kansas, this Legislature did nothing to reassure residents it can responsibly address those problems.
Kansas continues down a path to fulfill Gov. Sam Brownback’s vision of a no-income-tax state. Meanwhile, we also will accept mediocre public schools and universities and inadequate services to disadvantaged Kansans who at the same time will shoulder more of the tax burden. This path represents a sad decline of our great state, but not much can be done about it given the stranglehold Brownback has on state government with his careful and aggressive engineering of the Legislature.
Gov. Sam Brownback and some Republican legislative leaders proudly proclaim that “the nation is watching” what we’re doing here in Kansas. So are Kansans, and many of them are worried about what they see.
We ought to be delighted that the Kansas Legislature rejected a proposal to halt the implementation of Common Core education standards in Kansas public schools. Instead, we’re relieved, and worried that the level of support the issue received means the standards are not yet safe.