Brownback Tax Plan Has Equality, Responsibility Under Assault In Kansas
In America we place a very high value on the ideal that all citizens are equal. Historically we have rejected the notion of a privileged class that is excused of its responsibility to society. There is no aristocracy in the USA. There are no dukes, lords, princes, or barons. We are all equal under the law.
If Governor Brownback and the Republican controlled legislature have their way, that is about to change in Kansas. They would have you believe that there is a privileged class in our society who should not be burdened with the duty to pay taxes like the common folk. They would create a special stratum of elites who by virtue of their status as “job creators” would be relieved of a large part of their responsibility to support our system of governance. No income taxes would be paid by this nobility to ensure that our justice system, schools, correction system, public safety, or the administration of state government is funded and continues to function.
To be clear, the provisions of the plan would extend a credit equal to the amount of Kansas income tax due on Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, Sole Proprietors, farm income, rental income, royalty income, investment income, or any income that would be reported on schedule C on federal income tax forms. Those privileges would not apply to wage earner income that would be reported on a W-2. For those they would receive a modest decrease in income tax rates.
The belief of the Governor Brownback and the Republican legislature is that by excusing these economic aristocrats from any income tax, they will invest more and jobs will flourish. To pay for this experiment the powers that be will eliminate or reduce many tax deductions and credits beneficial to the middle class, and increase taxes on the poor.
In total state income will be reduced by $1.89 billion over the next 6 years. That will be money that will go directly in the pocket of the new privileged class with the expectation that job creation will expand. So the question arises: How many jobs? If we start with the assumption that each new job will pay the median income for a Kansan then each job will be worth $34,000. The department of revenue states that for that level of income an average of $1,800 will be generated in new income and sales taxes. If those assumptions are correct then the “job creators” will need to create 131,000 new jobs within the first 18 months of the tax cuts to make up for the lost revenue. Given that there are just over 1.1 million tax filers in the state, and that 150,000 of those are the “job creators” and will not be filing income tax, then we can estimate that the jobs created will need to meet or exceed a growth rate of 13%.
The term “ideological absurdity” comes to mind when trying to rationalize this scheme. How can anyone really believe that our state economy will grow by 13% in just 18 months? If it doesn’t what happens then? That answer will be forthcoming soon enough, but I don’t expect the new royalty to suffer the consequences.
-- Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita