NTU Urges Opposition to Tax Increases in Kansas

Dear Members of the Kansas House of Representatives,

On behalf of the members of National Taxpayers Union (NTU) in Kansas, I urge you to oppose the Senate substitute for HB 2109. If enacted, the bill would raise taxes by $471 million. Specifically, the bill would increase the sales tax from 6.15 to 6.55 percent; raise the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack and eliminate a host of income and property tax deductions without any corresponding tax cuts.  In short, the Senate substitute for HB 2109 would comprise the single largest tax increase in Kansas’ history.

When Governor Brownback signed two separate tax cuts during his first term in office, critics argued a major deficit would result. While Kansas does face a projected deficit for the next fiscal year, in reality this was caused by a political class in the Sunflower Statethat refuses to curb its spending appetite. The total Kansas budget ballooned by 7.5 percent between Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 – well above the rate of inflation plus population growth. Though the FY 2015 budget grew by 2.1 percent over the FY 2014 budget, it started from a much higher baseline due to recent spendthrift policies. Simply put, the Kansas Legislature should have exercised spending restraint at the same time it cut taxes.

Since the tax cuts were implemented, Kansas has experienced positive outcomes. In 2014, Kansas outpaced all of its neighbors except Colorado in private sector job growth, while private sector wages were higher than all neighboring states except for Nebraska. These are tangible results, but the Senate substitute for HB 2109 jeopardizes such success.

While the Senate substitute for HB 2109 would make certain positive changes, including the creation of a new school choice tax credit and local tax limits, it heaps an enormous burden on the hardworking businesses and taxpayers of Kansas. Rather than passing a $470 million tax increase, the Kansas House of Representatives should practice fiscal responsibility by working to bring expenditures in line with existing revenue. Accordingly, NTU urges the Kansas House of Representatives to defeat the Senate substitute for HB 2130.

Clark Packard
Policy and Government Affairs Manager