Opinion Columns & Blogs

Kansas tax system among the most regressive

Kansas has the ninth most regressive state and local tax system in the country, according to a study released last week by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and the Kansas Center for Economic Growth. Kansans who earn less than $20,000 a year pay 11.1 percent of their income on state and local sales, property and income taxes, while the top 1 percent of Kansans pay 5.1 percent. What’s more, after offsetting the federal itemized deduction they can claim for their state income taxes, the top 1 percent of Kansans effectively pay only about 3.6 percent of their income on state and local taxes. Kansas’ tax system became more regressive after the recent state income tax cuts, which significantly reduced tax on wealthier Kansans while eliminating some tax credits that benefited lower-income Kansans. Also, the Legislature helped pay for those tax cuts by increasing the statewide sales tax, which is regressive. Brownback’s new plan to nearly triple the state’s cigarette tax likely would also hit lower-income Kansans the hardest. – Phillip Brownlee