With the 2017 Kansas Legislature careening toward a close, the majority of legislators in both chambers are doubling down on efforts to gouge citizens and leave generations of students behind so that those who profit from excessive and inefficient government can prosper. For those who might think that statement hyperbolical, consider the evidence:
- As shown separately by the Kansas Truth Caucus and Kansas Policy Institute, the budget can be balanced without a tax increase, but both chambers insist on gouging citizens with upwards of $600 million more in income taxes annually.
- A tax increase greater than $393 million would put Kansans in worse shape than before 2012 tax reform because of sales tax hikes and other tax increases imposed since 2012.
- Low income citizens and business owners would be hit hard by higher income taxes and still have to pay the higher sales tax.
- The only tax incentive for small business – the pass-through exemption – is driving the vast majority of job growth, but legislators want to kill it.
- Kansas spent 27 percent more per resident in 2015 than the states without an income tax, but most legislators have no interest in reducing the bloated cost of government.
- The Supreme Court says improving outcomes is more important than money, but both education bills fail to hold schools accountable for improving outcomes. Schools refuse accountability and without it, generations of students will continue to be left behind.
- The Supreme Court says adequacy is met when funding is “reasonably calculated” so that students can meet the Rose standards, but both education bills fail the “reasonably calculated” test. A math error in the Senate bill will overcharge citizens by $83 million per year but the Senate declined to fix the error. Today KPI found a similar error in the House bill that overcharges citizens by $140 million per year beginning in FY 2019; using a proper weighted average to calculate average spending, Base State Aid Per Pupil should be $3,920 instead of $4,128.
The majority preference for government over citizens is clearly reflected in preliminary scores on the Kansas Freedom Index; all Democrats and a majority of Republicans in both chambers of the Kansas Legislature register below 50 percent on votes already cast, meaning they voted more frequently against limited government, personal freedom and student-focused education matters.
Ronald Reagan could have had this Legislature in mind when he said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”