Why Kansas had to cut taxes

By Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas

When Jeff Colyer and I took office in January of 2011, tens of thousands of fewer Kansans were working in private sector jobs than a decade ago. Our state was losing residents to all surrounding states. We had the highest taxes in the region and ranked among the worst in private sector job creation. Something had to be done if Kansas was going to be a place where our children and grandchildren could stay to find a job and raise a family.

When we took office, there was $876.10 in the state’s coffers and a projected deficit for the next fiscal year of $500 million. Through a combination of fiscal restraint, smart cuts, and focusing our resources on the core functions of government, we took that half billion dollar deficit and turned it into a half billion dollar surplus. This billion dollar swing was achieved in one year.

Now that Kansas’s economy is getting back on track and we’ve taken the necessary steps to get the government’s fiscal house in order, it was time to take a stand for the future of our state. In May, the Kansas Legislature passed and I signed the largest tax cut in state history, eliminating state income taxes on small businesses and reducing the tax burden on every hardworking Kansan.

From day one, my administration’s top priority has been to grow the Kansas economy and create jobs. We had to reverse the trend of capital loss that we were suffering to every state around us and still the tide of rural population decline. This is what we ran for office promising to and we have taken swift and decisive action.

We did this because it was time to shake up the status quo of taxing, spending, and declining. In our federalist system, state governments are forced to compete against each other for capital, jobs, and residents. Competition offers two options: you can either refuse to adapt to changing conditions and fall behind those who do, or you can lead the way to the future. Kansas had to change the way it competes regionally and nationally for residents and jobs, and so far we have made great progress.

In addition to reducing the tax burden on Kansas families and small businesses, we also improved our economic development toolbox with targeted incentives like letting businesses of any size deduct 100 percent of the expense of new business equipment and machinery. We created Rural Opportunity Zones to help recruit people to counties with sharply declining populations. And we established education programs to increase engineering and tech career students to meet our businesses’ future workforce needs.

Our new pro-growth tax policy will be like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy. It will pave the way to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, bring tens of thousands of people to Kansas and help make our state the best place in America to start and grow a small business. It will leave more than a billion dollars in the hands of Kansans — they know far better how to spend their money than the state government. An expanding economy and growing population will directly benefit our schools and local governments.

We will continue to work to provide a business environment that will keep our state regionally and globally competitive. We will continue to reform state government so that it is more efficient, effective and responsive to our citizen’s needs. We will continue to meet the needs of our state’s most vulnerable. We will continue to provide for high quality schools.

But most of all, we will continue to strive to make our state even better. Kansas’ lost decade is over. No longer will we be satisfied with our children moving to another state for better opportunities. No longer will we accept having the highest tax burden in the region. Now is the time to grow our economy, not state government, and that’s what this our policies will do.

We are just getting started in Kansas, but we are off the sidelines and in the game.


3 thoughts on “Why Kansas had to cut taxes”

  1. This sounds good, doesn’t it. Now here is the downside. Since the State has cut taxes (which I haven’t seen yet) then the local jurisdictions push for higher property taxes, like jacking mine 45% Merry Christmas to you too. Sedgwick county, as archaic as it is, wants a wonderful Christmas. I would like to see sedgwick county’s revenue around the 21st of December. somehow, no one has access to that. The school districts are another greedy bunch. You will see more mill levys voted on so the district superintendants can maintain their lifestyle. i don’t see much benefit going to the students.

  2. I agree regarding local property taxes. All that Sam Brownback did was pass the tax burden down to local government. That’s irresponsible and gutless. Conservative legislators are praising themselves, but all they did was force a property tax increase. I find it amusing that statehouse conservatives are so obsessed with education spending. If they care so much, they should go home and run for school board. What they did this year amounts to a 16% cut in education. Now, I challenge any of these conservatives to run for school board and make those revenues work.

  3. Kansas had to cut taxes,,,,, what a joke. Taxes were just rearranged. Property values Increased, Fees Increased ,,,, those amount to tax increases. I saw no refund or reduction in my taxes. Monies taken from the poor and elderly went to support small business tax breaks,,,,,,,,,,,,just how does that help the consumer. Sam forgets that if the consumer has less money to spend they tend to buy less from that small business. How did Sam lower tax revenues when tax revenues continue to climb ,,,,,, just more political speak.

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