Opinion Columns & Blogs

Jordan left out part about state raising taxes

Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan came under fire for distributing to state employees a commentary he wrote praising Gov. Sam Brownback and his tax policy, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. State law prohibits state employees from political activity while on the job. But just as troubling as the politicking was the content of the commentary. Jordan attempted to downplay and dismiss projections by the Kansas Legislative Research Department that the state could face a deficit of $260 million by the end of next fiscal year. “Projections more than a year in the future are like trying to predict the weather on any long-range forecast; the projections are likely to be inaccurate,” Jordan wrote. “As an example, in 2012 when the tax policy was passed, it was projected at the end of fiscal year 2014 we would have a $242 million deficit. Two years later we ended fiscal year 2014 with $434 million cash on hand.” But what Jordan didn’t mention was that the reason for that budget swing was that the Legislature took action. Lawmakers and Brownback raised additional tax revenue by not allowing the temporary sales tax increase to expire as promised and by reducing certain itemized deductions. They also raided the state highway fund and the state’s gaming fund. The shortfall didn’t magically disappear because of job growth. – Phillip Brownlee