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Republican Governor Sam Brownback and many conservative Republicans in Kansas are attempting to use the term “tax reform” to describe their efforts to reduce the equity and sustainability of Kansas’s tax system.  

Brownback has begun studying tax proposals with the ultimate goal of putting out a plan for a large tax overhaul. Brownback has stated that the goal of “reform” should be reducing income taxes.

This would mean cutting the only progressive tax in Kansas, which would further exacerbate Kansas’s already regressive tax system.

Brownback’s emphasis on income tax reductions comes after the Kansas State House of Representatives passed legislation which would have gradually repealed the state’s personal income tax and cut the corporate income tax in half. That effort stalled in the Kansas Senate, as even Republican lawmakers balked at its $739.4 million price tag over the next 2 years, before the reductions would even be fully in effect.

As has been widely noted, Kansas Republicans are divided on whether to take such a regressive and revenue-hemorrhaging approach. Republican State Senator Pete Brungardt, for instance, argued that the income tax is not the problem at all and that the state should consider reforming its sales tax.

Instead of focusing singularly on the income tax as Brownback desires, the Kansas Economic Progress Council argues that lawmakers should carefully evaluate the entire system of state and local business taxes with a special emphasis on the sales tax, which is frequently ignored in such discussions.