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NTU to Kansas Legislature: Don't Hike Taxes to Plug Budget

by John Stephenson / /

Late last week, NTU sent a letter to the Kansas Legislature, urging them to reject tax hikes to plug a budget gap. The letter reads:

"While some insist that rolling back expenditures would devastate vital services, a $510 million reduction would leave the state with roughly the same amount of money to spend as it had in 2006. Surely no one would argue that Kansas was drastically worse off that year, especially considering that the unemployment rate was a full two percentage points lower that year than it is today. Carefully taking a scalpel to the budget to return it to a condition seen just a few years ago will not cripple the state; rather, it will be restored to fiscal health without bleeding taxpayers for more money."

"There are several problems with the proposed tax increases. Raising the state’s income tax by 12 percent on those making $200,000 or more per year would penalize small business owners and professionals, creating a powerful incentive for them to leave the state altogether. A University of Kansas study shows that boosting the sales tax by even one percentage point would cost the state 26,000 jobs and reduce personal income by $2 billion. Based on past experiences across the country, claims that such a rate would be “temporary” are far from solid. The 55-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes represents a 70 percent jump. Moreover, the sales and excise tax hikes would put Kansas at a competitive disadvantage in cross-border shopping because most of the state’s neighbors would have lower rates."

Let's hope that the Kansas Legislature takes this advice to heart in the days ahead.