May 2, 2018
now isn’t the time for rushed, uncertain tax bill
Topeka, KS — Kansas Center for Economic Growth Executive Director Heidi Holliday released the following statement:
“The Senate and House tax conference committee agreed tonight on a tax bill that could cloud our state’s finances in a fog of uncertainty for years to come.
“Legislators should step back, take a breath, and wait.
“Revenue that the state could have collected because of federal tax reform and given back to taxpayers through investments in schools, hospitals, and roads, will instead be clawed back by corporations. After years of disinvestment under the Brownback tax plan, how much sorely needed revenue is Kansas giving up?
“Entirely new corporate tax deductions — not debated in either the House or the Senate — will be added. Itemization changes and a host of smaller policy pieces are included, too. How much will all of that cost? What will the long-term effects on Kansas be? And how do all of these pieces work together?
“And why, after an entire Legislative session, are lawmakers trying to grapple with all of these issues now? Why would they try to pass a far-reaching tax plan with only two days to go in a veto session?
“What is certain is that Kansas can’t afford these wholesale changes to our tax code. Rough estimates presented to the committee suggest the package as a whole will cost some $80 million in the next fiscal year — and that’s before accounting for lost revenue already included in revenue estimates for next year.
“Kansas is just beginning to recover from years of disinvestment and budget cuts as a result of failed tax policy. Repairing our state’s tax code and budget will take time.
“Two weeks ago, our state budget director said Kansas is in a ‘perfect storm of uncertainty.’ The middle of a storm is not the time to pass lasting tax policy.
“Lawmakers should ride out that storm, tracking the effects of federal tax changes on Kansas taxpayers and businesses over the next year. Next session, lawmakers can return ready to examine the impacts and consider possible legislation.”