What’s the matter with Kansas’ new tax plan

What's the matter with Kansas' new tax plan
What's the matter with Kansas' new tax plan
Associated Press

To get a good look at the kind of budget policies we might see at the federal level in 2013, take a look at what happened in Kansas in 2012.

Andrew Leonard had this recent piece on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) new tax policy: “Here’s how it works when conservatives control everything: The wealthy get coddled and the poor get a bum’s rush.”

[Conservative policymakers] agreed on a new tax plan that will sharply cut income taxes for wealthy state residents while at the same time raising taxes on the poor. The result, predictably, will be a shortfall in state revenue that will undoubtedly force additional cuts to state services.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides the analysis, but you don’t have to trust the left-leaning think tank for the spin. A newly formed group of retired Kansas Republican legislators are also declaring that enough is enough. The bottom line is this: If you’re wealthy enough and smart enough to structure your business affairs correctly, you can avoid both corporate taxes and income taxes. But if you’re poor, you will have to choose between whether you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or a state-funded rebate on sales taxes charged on groceries. One or the other! Not both! Because if there is a tax loophole that favors working-class Americans, we’d better close it!

Brownback signed the tax policy into law on Tuesday, over the objections of some moderate Republicans who balked at more tax breaks for the wealthy, paid for through cuts to education and social services.

State Sen. Steve Morris (R), president of the Kansas Senate, said, “It is not good public policy.”

Brownback, who brought on Arthur Laffer, of all people, as a tax advisor, doesn’t much care.

Don’t be too surprised if we see a very similar situation play out in 2013 if there’s a conservative Republican White House working with a conservative Republican Congress.