Kansas Legislature Broke a Lot of Promises

Dave TrabertTax & SpendingLeave a Comment

Last September I made a very safe prediction for the 2017 session of the Kansas Legislature – “Regardless of who is elected to the 2017 Legislature, January will bring turmoil and major disappointment for many Kansans.”  Like I said, a pretty safe bet…but the rationale ruffled a few feathers.  “Many candidates and special interests say Kansas needs to spend a … Read More

Kansas Budget Deficit overstated by $200 million

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

The reported $900 million, two-year Kansas budget deficit includes $192.6 million of revenue reductions that won’t occur and another $13 million that’s purely optional and needn’t occur.  Collectively, these spending items overstate the budget shortfall by $205.6 million. Each item listed in the adjacent table is considered a ‘transfer’ of revenue rather than appropriated amounts of spending because they were … Read More

City and County Payroll Provides Property Tax Insight

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Newly published city and county payroll listings help explain why property taxes doubled, tripled or even quadrupled over the last nineteen years.  Total pay for the nine counties and ten cities published on KansasOpenGov.org exceeds $1 billion, with 756 employees collecting more than $100,000 last year. City and county payroll excludes benefits but does count bonuses and other forms of pay, … Read More

Kansas budget can be balanced without tax hikes

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Yes, that’s right, the Kansas budget can be balanced without a tax increase.  But first, here’s some background to put the situation in perspective. When the Legislature raised the sales tax rate in 2015 as part of the largest tax hike in Kansas history, many legislators, special interests and media expressed outrage at the impact on the poor and the … Read More

Efficient, Effective Spending Keeps Taxes Low

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

It’s not access to oil or tourism that allows some states to do without an income tax; it’s efficient, effective spending.  Texas could have all the oil in the nation and still have a high tax burden if it spent a lot more. Data from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) shows that in 2015, the states that … Read More

Brownback’s budget proposal pretty good overall

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Governor Brownback’s budget proposal for the balance of this year and the coming two years contains a few things that, from a limited government perspective aren’t necessary but all things considered, it’s pretty good.  There are significant efficiency measures included, he continues to avoid expansion of Medicaid through Obamacare – which is especially smart since Obamacare will likely change under … Read More

State of the State puts students, citizens first

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

Governor Brownback’s State of the State address notably emphasized that students and citizens should come first, not government.  That sentiment created a great deal of heartburn for the many legislators and special interests who prefer big tax increases, upwards of $1 billion more in spending and no accountability for schools to improve outcomes but it was welcomed by those who … Read More

Governing isn’t about granting wishes

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

government wish list

Many parents will soon be faced with the annual Christmas wish list dilemma – deciding how much of their kids’ list they can afford without inflicting economic turmoil on the family. A lot of new legislators will face the same challenge come January, as granting everything on the vote-for-me list would require enormous tax increases on individuals, which in turn … Read More