The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

State News

August 19, 2007

Missouri: Tax hike raising ire in Kansas

The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Early one August morning 144 years ago, Missourian William Quantrill and hundreds of armed men descended on Lawrence, Kan., killing almost 150 residents and causing $2 million in damage to their homes and businesses.

Relations between Missourians and Kansans never have entirely recovered, although their rivalries these days typically are settled with college footballs and basketballs.

Perhaps that history of bad blood helps explain why some Kansans are hopping mad about a new affront from Missouri — one that could siphon several million dollars out of the Kansas treasury into Missouri’s.

For years, Missouri has allowed people who live elsewhere but work in Missouri to deduct the property taxes they pay on their out-of-state homes when they itemize their Missouri income taxes — just as Missouri residents can itemize deductions for their own property taxes.

Kansas has a similar tax policy. So do five of the seven other states neighboring Missouri or Kansas that charge income taxes.

But a new Missouri law will halt that nonresident tax break next year, meaning Kansans who commute to work in places like Kansas City, Mo., Joplin and St. Joseph will pay higher income taxes to Missouri. The same will hold true for residents of other states who work in Missouri.

Kansas officials are outraged.

Missourians “have created another border skirmish over here, which we don’t need,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon.

Kansas Rep. Kenny Wilk, chairman of the House Taxation Committee, is vowing a tax retaliation unless Missouri backs down.

“Missouri just needs to decide whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way,” said Wilk, who lives in Lansing but works in Kansas City, Mo. “We will respond to make sure we recoup all — and plus a bit more — of what we’re losing.”

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