Taxes and Revenue
Tax policy must provide a stable revenue stream to meet the needs of Kansas within an environment conducive to economic development.
Over the years the Kansas tax system has become less balanced and more susceptible to swings in the economy. This is the result of a helter-skelter approach to tax policy. Individuals, organizations, and corporations seek tax changes for their own benefit without consideration of all the unintended consequences of such changes. Seniors want property tax relief, non-profits want sales tax relief, and corporations want business tax relief. In responding to a plethora of requests, the Legislature has patched together a system that has become more reliant on property taxes and less able to provide a revenue stream that can insulate vital state services during an economic downturn. Today the system is inadequate to provide for the services that Kansans have come to appreciate.
Examples of the problems with our approach to tax policy include:
- A statutory list of individual sales tax exemptions that now reaches into triple letters,
- A significant amount of lost tax revenue and state spending on economic development initiatives that, according to a study by the Division of the Legislative Post Audit , have resulted in little benefit to the state,
- Shifts in tax burden from the state to local units of government resulting in an over-reliance on the local property tax and calls for additional taxing authority for local sales and property taxes.
KNEA believes that the time has come for the Legislature to step back, resist the urge to enact more tax policy changes, and establish a blue ribbon task force of experts and economists to review the Kansas tax system and make recommendations for changes that will make the system fair to both businesses and individuals and provide for the needs of the state through good and bad economic times.
- A moratorium on additional tax cuts or changes to the tax system that would result in lower revenue to the state.
- The establishment of a task force on tax modernization that would include representatives of business, local units of government, non-profits, and legislators charged with making recommendations on tax policy to the 2012 Legislature.
- Tax and expenditure limits such as the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that limit the ability of the Legislature to enact measures to ensure that state services meet the needs of the citizens of Kansas.
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