Opinion Columns & Blogs

Proposed change on fiscal notes raises concern

Correction: The Kansas Division of the Budget, not the Kansas Legislative Research Department, currently prepares fiscal notes on tax legislation, with assistance from the Kansas Department of Revenue.

A report released last week on improving the state’s tax revenue estimates also proposed changing which agency is responsible for preparing the fiscal notes on tax legislation. Currently, the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department analyzes proposed tax bills in the Legislature to estimate the fiscal impact, positive or negative. A task force that Gov. Sam Brownback created recommended that the Kansas Department of Revenue take over this responsibility. But Bernie Koch, executive director of the Kansas Economic Progress Council, worries that the leadership of the Department of Revenue can be partisan, which could hurt the credibility and potential accuracy of the fiscal notes. Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan has been a vocal cheerleader for Brownback’s tax policies and philosophy, often portraying revenue shortfalls in the rosiest possible light. – Phillip Brownlee