Flat tax – Some Republicans want to consider a flat state income tax. It’s hard to imagine a worse idea. A flat tax would set a single rate – say, 4.3 percent. That rate would mean an enormous tax hike for the state’s poorest workers. Kansas already charges an exorbitant and regressive sales tax, including a sales tax on food. Making the state’s income tax structure more regressive would double down on that disastrous approach.
Short-term fixes – Our state has to overcome its reliance on short-term measures like pension delays and other loans. It’s impossible to predict what the revenue situation will look like in future years (though the projected shortfalls are enormous), so it’s reckless to continue exhausting our reserves and borrowing money without a comprehensive budget fix in place.
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GOP puppets – Gov. Sam Brownback’s time in office provided a sobering look at how easily elected officials who serve as puppets for special interests can steer the state off course. There’s really no other way to explain how the governor and his cohorts blindly followed an ultraconservative blueprint that called for deliberately starving government, regardless of the cost in quality of schools, roads, children’s programs and other vital core services.
Medicaid expansion – Congress may well vote to change the Medicaid program to block grants. In that case, the block grants will almost surely be based on existing numbers of Medicaid participants. Kansas needs to expand Medicaid and get its numbers up before Congress acts. Otherwise our state will be further left out.