Thursday, April 24, 2014

Get ready for tax transfer

1/8/2014

Local legislators spent much of the morning Saturday answering questions about school funding at the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Coffee. With the Kansas Supreme Court decision pending, legislators danced around the impact a possible $500 million to $650 million shortfall to the public schools would have on the coming session.

State Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, argued that property taxes are not at risk — the two revenue legs for state spending being income tax and sales tax. She assured those at the gathering that property tax is not part of the equation “at this time.” Later at the coffee, Tyson got right to the point when she noted that 51 percent of the representatives and a like number of senators come from the three largest counties in the state — those with the greatest amount of district wealth and those with the most to gain with the tax cuts.

Local legislators spent much of the morning Saturday answering questions about school funding at the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Coffee. With the Kansas Supreme Court decision pending, legislators danced around the impact a possible $500 million to $650 million shortfall to the public schools would have on the coming session.

State Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, argued that property taxes are not at risk — the two revenue legs for state spending being income tax and sales tax. She assured those at the gathering that property tax is not part of the equation “at this time.” Later at the coffee, Tyson got right to the point when she noted that 51 percent of the representatives and a like number of senators come from the three largest counties in the state — those with the greatest amount of district wealth and those with the most to gain with the tax cuts.

The meeting ended before I could ask my final question, so I ask it now: The message continues to come out of Johnson County that schools should be funded at the local level with an unlimited local option budget and not from the state general fund. If so, how will local school districts make up the approximately $1,000 per pupil shortfall in funding?

In Johnson County, it does not require many mills to raise the required amount, but rural districts simply cannot afford to raise the needed money, and the voters must approve any tax levy increase. Here is the probable outcome of Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts. Kansas has a balanced budget amendment.  So the decreased income tax revenue must result in a transfer of taxes. So get ready for property tax and sales tax increases unless the state rescinds the foolish income tax cuts.

Keep this in mind at election time.

 

— Dr. Bud Gollier,

Ottawa

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