By Phil Martin
Special to The Globe
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Traditionally, Kansas state and local governments have been funded by income, sales and property taxes. However this year two of these sources have been reduced by passage of Senate Substitute for House Bill 2117. This measure will lower the amount collected in both sales and income taxes. Proponents of this bill believe that supply side economics touted by Arthur Laffer, Gov. Sam Brownback and their followers in the Kansas Legislature will possibly increase jobs and possibly increase revenues in a sufficient amount to offset the certain losses in revenue because of Senate Substitute for House Bill 2117.
Our Kansas Constitution doesn’t allow for deficit spending. If this gamble doesn’t pay off, the state will be billions short of revenue by 2018.
This in turn will put pressure to raise property taxes by school districts to make up for shortfalls in state funding. Presently many areas in Southeast Kansas have mill levies that are either at or close to 200 mills. Our effective tax rates are already exceedingly high for residential and commercial real estate. Property taxes have been high in the past, and the likelihood of them increasing significantly in the future is very great because of this bill. However the problems just begin with increased property taxes because of this bill. Our regents system will be negatively impacted by increased tuition and fees. Funding for essential services will be difficult. If legislative research revenue estimates are correct, we will be billions in the hole by 2018.
I am sure my state representative, Terry Calloway, and my state senator, Bob Marshall, both had good intentions when they voted for this bill. Unfortunately for them and the people they represent, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
It is my sincere hope that I am wrong about what is going to happen in the future because of passage of this bill. However, if my fears do come true, then most Kansans will be negatively impacted in a big way.
Former state senator, District 13