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Here we go again: another governor who thinks it’s okay to cut taxes for the rich and raise them on everyone else. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback last week unveiled his long anticipated tax plan. Sweeping changes to reduce the state’s reliance on a progressive, personal income tax are at the core of the proposal, but the question of whose taxes will be cut is dogging the governor. His plan, already dubbed “Robin Hood in reverse,” may cut income tax rates across the board, but because it also eliminates a variety of income tax deductions and credits, and permanently raises the sales tax, in the end, it’s actually a tax hike on the majority of Kansans – especially the poorest.
Here is how that works. For most middle- and low-income Kansans, the tax break from the income tax rate cuts would be completely offset by the loss of income tax credits and itemized deductions, as well as a higher sales tax rate. A new analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that the bottom 80 percent of the state’s income distribution would collectively see a tax hike under the Brownback plan, while the best off 20 percent of Kansans would see substantial tax cuts.
In fact, ITEP found that under Governor Brownback’s proposal, the poorest 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 2.2 percent more of their income in taxes each year, or an average increase of $242. Upper-income families, by contrast, reap the greatest benefit with the richest one percent of Kansans, those with an average income of over a million dollars, saving an average of $16,933 a year. Read ITEP’s two-page analysis here.
Photo of Sam Brownback via KDOTHQ Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0