Kansas Senator outlines plan for revenue without tax increases

Yesterday in Topeka Kansas Senator Ty Masterson, a Republican from Andover, laid out a plan for generating revenue for the state that doesn’t involve raising taxes: The state could sell some of its assets.

Masterson spoke to about 400 citizens as part of the Kansas Defending the American Dream Summit 2010. This event was produced by Americans for Prosperity-Kansas.

Starting in January, Masterson said he asked researchers to compile a list of state-owned assets. Three months later he received a rough draft, with the lead researcher saying he was dumbfounded by the project, as the state doesn’t know what it owns.

State agencies have become kingdom builders, Masterson said, and we began to lose track of the state’s assets. The draft report indicates the state may own between $12 billion and $16 billion in assets.

“Every responsible business evaluates what it has in hard assets, and decides whether or not to continue maintaining it,” he said.

Referring to these assets’ ability to generate revenue for the state, Masterson told the audience that selling just one percent of these assets could generate $120 million to $160 million for the state. (The commonly-cited budget “gap” Kansas is facing is around $500 million, although that number is based on funding the governor’s desires for increased spending. The actual gap is much less.)

Selling assets also reduces operational costs, he added.

There is also a huge unfunded liability in KPERS, the Kansas state employee retirement plan. The state has income-producing assets that could be sold to KPERS. This would produce immediate revenue for the state’s general fund, and provide KPERS with an investment that produces revenue over the long term.

In other remarks Masterson reminded the audience that the leadership of the Kansas senate is not conservative, and it may not be possible to gain a majority of votes for a budget plan that does not raise taxes.

Masterson told the audience its help is needed. “We need you to counter the propaganda machine telling people they will be harmed if taxes are not increased.” People tell him “I want you to raise my taxes,” believing their children will be harmed unless taxes are raised, but these are not the correct facts.

“It is a spending problem that we have,” echoing other speakers at the event. Kansas state general fund spending in 2006 was $5.139 billion. Three years later in 2009 it was $6.4 billion. The budgets being talked about now are still several hundred million dollars higher than 2006 spending. The propaganda being spread, however, tells Kansans that spending and services are being cut.

4 Comments

  • I thought the whole conference was very interesting. Especially when the legislators were explaining that as a body, they do not even know where all the taxpayer’s money goes. There are so many departments, and overlaps, that it is hard to track it all.

    He and others said “we do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” This is so true. Over the last 4 years Kansas statehouse spending increased 40%.

    The educators say they have to get more money. Over the same time the spending on education went up 26% in the same time frame.

    Has anyone else gotten a 26% raise over the last four years? I know I haven’t. My salary has been frozen for years!

    Many will say “throw them all out.” But this is a very short sighted and emotional response. We have many in our statehouse, like Masterson, who are fighting the great fight for freedom and liberty.

    Thank God!

  • I wonder what Cedar Crest would bring on the market? I’m sure Sam could move in with relatives for four years.

  • Anyone who has had to deal with any of state department also knows of the enormous amount of inefficiency in all of them, which translates into dollars. None of the legislators call for efficiency audits in any department so there is a little bit of kindom building there as well. I suspect there have been few full time employees laid off to “reduce spending”, but we do hear of employees not being replaced and the departments seem to survive.

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