Restoring Tax Fairness:
In 1995, Gov. Bill Graves’ Tax Equity Task Force concluded that the most stable tax system is balanced and diversified, like a “three-legged stool.” It should rely proportionately on property, sales, and income taxes to ensure there’s no over-reliance on any single tax source.
During the 2012 Legislative Session, Gov. Brownback signed a reckless and unsustainable tax plan into law. The new law resulted in the exemption of more than 330,000 business owners from Kansas income tax. It also eliminated the food sales tax rebate, the homestead property tax refund, and the child care tax credit, shifting the tax burden to thousands of low- or fixed-income Kansans.
In 2013, income tax rates were slashed over the span of four years, the state sales tax rate increased, and standard deductions and select itemized deductions were reduced.
By 2014, our state’s revenue dropped by $700 million – more than what the state lost over a three-year period during the greatest national downturn since the Great Depression. To make up for lost revenue, the 2015 Legislature passed the largest tax increase in the history of the state. Yet, revenue continues to be unstable, resulting in a constant budget crisis.
In short, Gov. Sam Brownback’s economic policies created a significant imbalance between the three sources of state and local tax revenue. This significantly increased the burden on average, hardworking Kansans.
Fortunately, in 2017, a bipartisan coalition repealed the Brownback/Colyer failed tax experiment and put Kansas on a path forward to stability and recovery.
In 2019, Governor Kelly assembled the Council on Tax Reform to study the current tax structure and make recommendations on how to restore fairness. I serve on this Council.
As your State Senator, I pledge to continue fighting for a fair, balanced, and sustainable tax system that provides relief first and foremost to middle-class families and Kansans living on fixed incomes.