Gov. Brownback leads push to end Kansas state income tax
By Greg Janetka
TOPEKA, Kansas: As he presented his annual state of the state address on January 15, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) laid out a broad conservative agenda that includes an end to the state's income tax. Managing to push out moderate Republicans in the 2012 elections, conservative Republicans now control the House, Senate and governorship in the state, leading other conservatives to view the state as a model to follow.
This year began with the largest tax cut in state history taking effect in Kansas, including the consolation of three income tax brackets into two and elimination of taxes on nonwage profits for certain types of businesses. A bill introduced this week would further reduce taxes. Meanwhile, addressing the state income tax, Gov. Brownback said he aims to “take it to zero.” Grover Norqust, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said of the state, “Kansas is the starter gun for tax competition. Brownback fired off the shot that said ‘Go.’”
Supporters of the measures say they are necessary to remain competitive against other states and end economic stagnation. Critics, however, contend the moves hurt the poorest of residents and will lead to economic devastation.
State Rep. Tom Sloan, a Republican representing Lawrence, has been skeptical of the governor's proposals. Summing up the issue, Sloan said, “Bottom line is, if the governor’s right and I’m wrong, the state will prosper. If I’m right and the governor’s wrong, then the state will suffer long term. I hope he is correct because that’s the path we’re on, but I have my doubts.”