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Posts tagged as “Taxation”

Hypocrisy over oil profits abounds

The recent swell of criticism over oil company "windfall" profits, some even coming from people who should know better, is truly remarkable in its hypocrisy.

Kansas Income Growth Lags

By Karl Peterjohn

You will earn more if you do not work in Kansas. That is nothing new but the size and scope of the economic problem facing Kansans has become more vivid. National data has regularly shown that Kansans’ incomes are lower than the national average and this is impacting the economic climate in this state.

In September, Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research issued a report showing how badly Kansas lagged with the fastest and slowest growing parts of the United States. In this report Kansas vividly contrasted with fast growing Colorado in all of the measurements being used.

Colorado, which has been benefiting from their Taxpayers Bill Of Rights limits on state and local government spending increases, had the best economy in our region. Colorado was in the ten fastest growing states when total personal income, earnings per job, per capita income, full, and part-time job growth were measured. Naturally, jobs and income then have an impact reflected in Colorado’s fast growing population too.

What the Wichita State University study did not report was how Kansas measured when compared with all four of our immediate neighbors. This is bad news for Kansas.

Local economic development in Wichita

There is an interesting academic paper titled "The Failures of Economic Development Incentives," published in Journal of the American Planning Association, and which can be read here: www.planning.org/japa/pdf/04winterecondev.pdf. A few quotes from the study:

Given the weak effects of incentives on the location choices of businesses at the interstate level, state governments and their local governments in the aggregate probably lose far more revenue, by cutting taxes to firms that would have located in that state anyway than they gain from the few firms induced to change location.

Tax reform and simplification

Our tax system has a bias against saving and investment. That slows capital formation and wage growth.

Taxpayer Bill Of Rights (TABOR) eviscerated

By Karl Peterjohn

Governor Bill Owens won a Pyrrhic victory in his campaign to eliminate the Taxpayers Bill Of Rights (TABOR) limits on government growth in Colorado. Owens' short lived Proposition C victory will lead to a host of long term consequences that are mainly negative for Coloradans looking for a better economic future for themselves and their families. Passage of Proposition C is huge defeat for economic freedom across the country and a setback for fiscal responsibility.

The passage of Proposition C will mark a key political and public policy turning point that ends Owens' career as a fiscally conservative Republican. Owens is truly now a political lame-duck who will be known forever more as the individual primarily responsible for the demise of TABOR. Among fiscal conservatives nationwide he is now a political dead-duck. A couple of years ago National Review featured Owens as a potential presidential model for GOP conservatives. Now he is nothing more than another Republican office holder who "grew in office."

While it is certainly true that the entire Colorado Democrat Party, their mainstream media allies, and the usual leftie academic types also bear significant responsibility for the outcome of this vote, the face on the evisceration of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights will be, and should be, Governor Bill Owens. Now, TABOR is wounded but it not dead. Here's what the Left will target next based on the Kansas model.

Reports of TABOR’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

by Alan Cobb

The supporters of Big Government were overjoyed this week when 52 percent of Colorado voters backed an effort to fix a glitch in that state's hugely successful Taxpayer's Bill of Rights by allowing the state government to keep an estimated $3.7 billion in scheduled tax relief over the next five years.

This vote, they claimed, was a sign that the voters of Colorado had rejected their Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, and that taxpayers across the nation should consider the Colorado vote a reason to oppose similar tax-and-spending limits in their own states.

On the contrary, what Coloradoans actually did on Tuesday is vote to make their Taxpayer's Bill of Rights look more like the improved version that is currently being proposed here in Kansas and in more than 20 other states.

Colorado approved the nation's first constitutional Taxpayer's Bill of Rights in 1992. It limits the growth in state spending to the rate of inflation plus population growth, and it requires voter approval before politicians can raise taxes or spend above that limit.

Since Colorado enacted its Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, millions of that state's citizens have reaped the benefits. For example, in the eight years before Colorado voters enacted the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR), the state ranked 43rd nationally in median family income growth. Since then, Colorado is 7th. Before TABOR, Colorado ranked 33rd nationally in job growth. Since then, Colorado is 6th. Before TABOR, Colorado ranked 43rd nationally in economic growth per capita, and since then it ranks 7th. TABOR opponents give the credit for Colorado's recent economic success to the Rocky Mountains, apparently forgetting that the Rockies didn't just spring up from the Plains in the 1990s.

How About Something Simple Like the Truth

While TABOR supporters offer hope and solutions to getting out of our economic slump, opponents offer nothing but nay-saying, scare tactics and misinformation.

TABORTruth.org Not Quite So

Right away the website tabortruth.org states: "TABOR proponents are baiting citizens with the allure of tax cuts, ..."

My understanding of proposals for a TABOR in Kansas doesn't include tax cuts, except in one case. That's because taxing and spending will proceed in this way: First, spend up to the limit imposed by the sum of inflation plus population growth. Then, put some tax money away in the emergency and budget stabilization fund. Then -- and only then -- if there were excess tax revenues, they would be sent back to the taxpayer. This doesn't sound to me like much of a tax cut.

It is likely that politicians will vote to spend all they can under TABOR limits, so it is quite likely that Kansas spending and taxes will continue to rise. It's just that now there is a limit on the rate of growth. In the peculiar language of Washington and Topeka, a reduction in the rate of growth is called a "cut," so maybe in the hearts and minds of the authors of tabortruth.org, there will be "tax cuts."

Fact Sheet: The Truth About Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights amendment has been an overwhelming success in Colorado. Colorado's TABOR has successfully restrained the growth of state government and allowed millions of taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money.

Since Colorado enacted the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights in 1992, the state has experienced one of the strongest economic growth rates in the country and has provided taxpayers with more than $3 billion in tax rebates and refunds.

Colorado experienced a challenge almost entirely because of Amendment 23 -- a state constitutional amendment that mandates large increases in spending on education programs. The ultimate answer to Colorado's budget challenge is the repeal of Amendment 23.

While Amendment 23 is the main cause of Colorado's challenge, that state's version of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights isn't perfect. That's exactly why the TABOR legislation proposed in Kansas includes key improvements that will help us achieve even better results than Colorado has enjoyed.

One key improvement we're proposing to the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights in Kansas is the inclusion of budget stabilization and emergency funds that will help us better deal with economic downturns. In periods of rapid economic growth, when revenue exceeds the TABOR limit, surplus revenue would be deposited into the emergency fund and budget stabilization fund. When the cap is reached on those funds, surplus revenue is then offset by tax cuts or tax rebates. In periods of recession, when revenue is falling, money is then transferred from the budget stabilization fund.

TABOR Fact Sheet: Kansas vs. Colorado

TABOR Fact Sheet: Kansas vs. Colorado

Estimated at 10.4 percent of income, Kansas's state/local tax burden percentage ranks 14th highest nationally, well above the national average of 10.1 percent.

Kansas taxpayers pay $3,629 per-capita in state and local taxes.

Kansas ranks 32nd in the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index: Missouri (11th), Oklahoma (14th), and Colorado (8th).

Source: Tax Foundation

Taxpayer's Bill of Rights: GOOD FOR COLORADO…GOOD FOR KANSAS*

3-year average poverty rate, from 2002 to 2004

Colorado: 9.8 percent
Kansas: 10.7 percent

Change from 2003 to 2004

Colorado: .1 percent
Kansas: .7 percent

Since TABOR was enacted in Colorado in 1992:

Colorado ranks 3rd in population growth, Kansas ranks 36th.
Colorado ranks 3rd in personal income growth, Kansas ranks 41st.

In 1992

Colorado ranked 18th in per capita income
Kansas ranked 24th in per capita income

In 2003

Colorado ranked 9th in per capita income
Kansas ranked 28th. In per capita income
Colorado ranked 6th in per capita income growth
Kansas ranked 30th in per capita income growth

Since 1992

Colorado ranks 3rd in productivity growth

Revenue Growth Lags As Kansas Falters

Revenue Growth Lags As Kansas Falters
By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network

In early August Governor Sebelius issued a news release praising the economic growth that had allowed state tax revenues to grow significantly in the fiscal year that ended June 30. In the state's general fund revenues were 7.1 percent or $322 million above last year.

This seemingly good news hides a big problem. Kansas revenues are growing well below the national averages. We are also lagging behind our neighbors and this includes job growth too. Nationally, the Wall Street Journal reported in July that federal revenues were 14.6% above the same period last year or over $204 billion. Oklahoma's state government is taking $150 million of their increased tax revenue to use to cut personal income taxes but they will also raise spending by $750 million more according to Budget and Tax News in August.

Why is Kansas economic growth lagging? Some tax collections are actually down. In 2002 the state's cigarette tax was raised from 24 to 79 cents a pack. Naturally, tax collections soared in 2003 with this 229 percent tax hike. However, the state's revenue per penny of cigarette taxes started to fall and has continued to decline. Total revenues are falling in the last two years and are now over $10 million below the 2003 high point.

From Karl Peterjohn to Ann Mah

Here's an open letter from Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network to Kansas Representative Ann Mah, a Democrat from district 53, which is southeast Topeka and areas southeast of there. Rep. Mah scored 12.5 on KTN's 2005 Legislative Vote Ranking, which places here very near the left end of the spectrum. In other words, she didn't see many taxes she didn't vote for. Organizations like KTN bring facts like these to the public's attention. Sometimes politicians do not like being exposed in this way, and as we have learned, we can't rely solely on Kansas newspapers and other Kansas news media to report all that we need to know

Americans for Prosperity Statement on the Current Special Session

Americans for Prosperity Statement on the Current Special Session
June 29, 2005

"Americans for Prosperity -- Kansas is pleased that both legislative leaders and Governor Sebelius have ruled out tax increases on Kansas families and businesses as a way to meet the recent Supreme Court ruling.

The tax burden on Kansans is already too high and combined with the private sector job losses it is clear that a tax increase would be not in the long term interests of our state. After the misguided tax increase effort of 2004 and the initial call in some quarters this year for a tax increase it is positive to see that legislative leaders and Governor Sebelius and legislative leaders have realized the need to set a new course.

We want to thank the literally thousands of Kansas citizens from across our state and from all walks of life who have called, written and met with their elected leaders to demand more efficient government, relief from higher taxes and a return to the entrepreneurial spirit that has made Kansas so great. These grassroots activists -- many of whom are AFP-Kansas members -- are helping bring a new political culture to our state.

As our elected leaders decide how to respond to the Supreme Court's decision requiring hundreds-of-millions of dollars in new education spending AFP-Kansas encourages them to consider ways to improve education results with forward-looking reforms. Like the vast majority of Kansans, we have supported needed funds for education. As a massive new infusion of tax dollars for education is considered, now is the time to make sure that Kansas' children are receiving the full benefits of this money. That means actively looking for ways to get more dollars directly into classrooms instead of seeing them wasted on bureaucracy, giving parents greater input into their children's education, and making sure that every child is given the very best opportunity to achieve the American Dream."

What’s the Matter with Kansas?

By Alan Cobb, State Director of Americans For Prosperity, Kansas

Many would describe that much of Kansas is in decline. Over 75 percent of the counties in Kansas have lost population just since 2000. Over half of Kansas' counties have fewer residents today than 1900.

Recently, the Associated Press reported that Kansas is in real danger of losing a Congressional seat during the next reapportionment because of anemic population growth. Kansas population growth from 2000 to 2004 was only 1.7 percent while the nation as a whole grew 4.3 percent. Sedgwick County's growth was only 2.3% during this time. Kansas' annual growth of less than one-half of one percent should startle anyone concerned about the future of our fine State.

No matter how you measure growth, Kansas is struggling, particularly when compared to the other 50 states. Kansas is in the bottom ten among states in population growth, income growth and job growth.

Unbelievably, this century Kansas has lost 16,700 private sector jobs while the government sector actually added 15,000 jobs.

The same week it was reported that Kansas may lose a Congressional seat, the Tax Foundation released a study that stated Kansas has the 15th highest state and local tax burden. We are tied with New Jersey and higher than Massachusetts and California. Kansas has a higher tax burden than all of our neighboring states except Nebraska.

Kansas Attorney General Has it Right

TOPEKA -- Alan Cobb, director of the Kansas chapter of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, today released the following statement in response to the briefs filed in the State vs. Montoy case currently before the Kansas Supreme Court:

"As questions and concerns swirl about whether or not the Kansas Supreme Court can order a statewide tax increase, we applaud Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline for putting this issue to rest.

In a brief filed yesterday with the court and in response to questions from reporters, AG Kline said clearly that the Kansas Supreme Court does not have the authority to impose taxes or raises the current level of taxation.

From the summary of the brief filed by the Attorney General:

"The Kansas Constitution Prohibits the Supreme Court from Raising Taxes and Prohibits any Expenditure from the State General Fund from Occurring Unless Authorized by Laws Passed by the Legislature." (emphasis added)

The bottom line is that the Legislature has the responsibility to tax and to fund schools appropriately. They've met that burden.

The Kansas Legislature and the Attorney General understand that our state's taxpayers suffer the 15th worst state and local tax burden in the nation as a percentage of income. That's an even heavier tax burden than citizens in the notoriously high-tax states of California and Massachusetts must carry! Also, our ranking this year is twice as bad as it was 20 years ago, when we ranked a much better 31st.

The Decline of Kansas Documented By Census

By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network

Kansas is in a decline. This state is shrinking relative to its peers in the other 49 states. However, some might say, and with some degree of accuracy, that this trend is nothing new. It is clear that the size and impact of this decline is likely to shape this state throughout the first part of the 21st century.

April 21 the U.S. Census Department issued projections for population growth showing that Kansas population will grow at less than 1/3 of the rate of the rest of the country over the next 25 years. This followed Census data showing that over 3/4 of the Kansas counties have lost population since the 2000 census.

Tax funds finance Kansas school finance lawsuit

There might not be funds for public school classrooms but for 15 Kansas school districts there is money for financing lawsuits. Since the 1998-99 school year, $2,095,020 has been spent in public funds to pay for the school finance litigation and lawsuit.

TABOR Criticism Analysis

From the introduction to an analysis by the Tax Foundation:

The state of Colorado is under assault. Opponents of Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) are waging a well coordinated but misleading attack on Colorado's reputation. This attack takes the form of a number of rankings and statistics that purport to show that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights has decimated Colorado. These rankings and statistics are based on the assumption that if Colorado ranks poorly on things like the adequacy of prenatal care and education spending, then Colorado is failing to adequately care for and educate its citizens, and that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights must be to blame. A closer look at the attacks shows that they fail to prove that the amount a state spends on health care and education determines quality, and they also fail to tell the whole truth about the rankings and statistics of the state of Colorado.

The full article is here: An Analysis of Misleading Attacks on Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Taxed Out of Business

From the Junction City Daily Union, March 24, 2005

By Kay Blanken
Special to The Daily Union

Friday evening, many of us in Junction City opened our newspaper to the headline, "Local Alco Closing Its Doors." The Kansas City Star reported that 20 Alco stores across Kansas were closing their doors. This is a Kansas corporation that began in Abilene.

I, as a business person, am not surprised. Not just Alco is closing its doors; Kansas has lost many stores and companies in the past four years. Is it bad business practices? I don't think so. Many of the companies and businesses have been successful for many years. What then is happening? Starting three years ago, the state began raising the fees to Kansas businesses and companies trying to make up for the budget shortfall that our Legislature created by overspending. This overspending came from both Republicans and Democrats. Because the Kansas Constitution forbids ending a year without a balanced budget, legislators had to find a way.

Sedgwick County Arena Sales Tax Ready to Pass

Following is a message from Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network, regarding the debate over SB 58, allowing Sedgwick County to raise its sales tax to pay for the downtown Wichita arena. I listened to the (as Karl rightly characterises it) "debate." Karl's reporting of the legislative action and the effects the sales tax will have is accurate. (Someone called the sales tax the "Western Butler County Improvement Act.") You may listen to the debate by using this link: https://wichitaliberty.org/files/SB_58_House_2005-03-21.mp3 (10 MB mp3 file).


After a relatively brief and lackluster debate, the 1 cent sales tax hike for the downtown arena in Wichita received preliminary approval in the Kansas house March 21 on a voice vote. SB 58 will be voted upon for final action tomorrow in the Kansas House of Representatives. This odious bill should have been amended but a bipartisan group of Wichita legislators worked hard and were successful in keeping it "clean" so there weren't any amendments. An amendment would have required a conference committee and a delay in enacting this tax. SB 58 will be passed easily and signed by the governor within the next couple of weeks.

The closest amendment to getting added to this bill was a "prevailing wage," amendment offered by Democrat Minority Leader McKinney that failed on a division vote (no roll call) with over 40 yes votes. Prevailing wage would require union wages for the construction of this project but even the Democrats did not press this very hard since they did not even bother forcing a roll call vote on this amendment.

After some desultory comments by proponents, Rep. Huebert offered an amendment to address the uniformity issue but then withdrew it following Rep. Wilk's opposition and promise that the tax committee that Wilk chairs would take up this issue shortly.

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