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A statewide coalition is calling for the end of the Brownback tax experiment in Kansas with the release of its 2017 comprehensive plan for tax reform.
The “Rise Up Kansas” coalition includes advocacy organizations representing educators, transportation contractors, state employees, early childhood providers, and tax policy experts who want to see an end to the state’s budget crises and tax policies that benefit the few at the expense of critical public investments.
The coalition proposes the following:
• End the “March to Zero,” stopping the eventual elimination of the individual income tax and preventing future budget crises.
• Re-instate the top income bracket of 6.45% for single filers earning $40,000 a year or more ($80,000 for married couples), turning the tax code “right side up” so everyone chips in.
• Close the “LLC loophole,” cleaning up the tax code and ensuring it’s not benefiting a select number of Kansans at the expense of the common good by ending the ability for taxpayers to shield business pass thru income from taxation.
• Hold the Kansas Highway Fund harmless for the first time since Gov. Sam Brownback took office by temporarily diverting the 4/10 of a cent sales tax currently dedicated to the State Highway Fund to the State General Fund for a period of three years while also pairing the sweep with an equivalent increase in the state gas tax of $0.11 per gallon.
• Reduce the state sales tax on food by 1.5 percent, taking the rate from 6.5 percent to five percent.
ITEP analysis shows that the proposal would restore approximately $820 million to the state’s general revenue fund while putting $100 million back into the pockets of Kansas families by reducing taxes on groceries.
Gov. Brownback’s recent proposals for addressing the state’s ongoing budget shortfall have included shifting money from the transportation to the general fund, deepening cuts to higher education, K-12 public schools, and community colleges, not making required pension contributions, and selling tobacco settlement dollars.
In contrast, the Rise Up Kansas coalition is calling for long-term solutions to the address the state’s long-term fiscal woes, cautioning lawmakers that “[t]he only proposal lawmakers should be willing to accept is one that will restore our state’s financial stability and allow us to once again invest in our future.”