A press release from Kansas House Member Frank Miller, Republican from Independence.
Further Regarding The Sebelius Court Order
June 9, 2005
Thank you for your many responses to my last press release. I appreciate getting both those that agree with me as well as those that disagree with me. The responses are running about half agree and half disagree, however most of the â€œdisagreesâ€ are from educators. The pile of agree responses cut across a broad range of constituents in my district. As far as my meetings with individuals, the consensus is running almost 100% agree that the Sebelius Court has overstepped its authority. Letâ€™s face it â€“ most voters want to hold their elected legislators responsible for making laws, levying taxes, and appropriating funding. Who wants to have a few non-elected judges make these kinds of decisions?
Some have asked me â€œhave we read the Constitutionâ€ â€“ the answer is â€œYESâ€. Some say the legislature must obey the Sebelius court if they have a genuine concern for the children â€“ the answer is â€œwe doâ€, but we also have a concern for the parents of the children, and for those couples who have no children and retired citizens. The amount of tax that comes out of the pockets of the parents also hurts the children.
The really big problem is not about money! The really big problem, which has been imposed upon the Legislature by the Sebelius Court, is a â€œConstitutional Crisisâ€. If we acquiesce even in one small amount to this court order then we have agreed with the court and set a precedence that will make next year and all future years more difficult for the legislature. I do not want to leave that kind of legacy for the legislator that will follow my steps. For this reason I have no plans to acquiesce to the court.
The really big funding problem will come next year 2006-2007 when the court has ordered that the legislature fund the entire funding increase recommended in the Augenblick & Myers report of $853 million. One constituent suggested that we raise the cigarette tax to pay for this increase, which would necessitate increasing the present tax of $0.79 per pack to about $8.00 per pack. Kansas would collect zero revenue from this levy since no one would buy their cigarettes in Kansas. I fear many citizens and Supreme Court judges have little understanding of the magnitude of tax increase that would be needed to fund this kind of spending. So here goes! According to the Kansas Legislative Research Department, any one of the following tax increases would yield the required $853 million:
The current State Sales tax of 5.3% would be increased to about 10%, and local taxes would be added to that. Here in Independence that would be a tax increase from 7.55% to about 12.25%! Or the current State property tax of 20 mills would be increased to 65 mills! The current local LOB taxes would remain unchanged and in place. Or the State could impose a 45% surcharge on every personâ€™s income tax!
None of these make any sense and would definitely make Kansas the â€œCHAMPION OF HIGH TAXESâ€ in our five-state area. It would spell economic suicide for small business and according to projections from Beacon Hill Model â€“ Flint Hills a loss of about 20,000 jobs. Currently our population growth is stagnant at best and school enrollment is actually declining, but these kinds of tax increases would cause a sucking sound to resonate all over Kansas and our schools as families move out to lesser taxed states.
â€œWe are using scare tacticsâ€ some will say! Or, â€œwe are overly negativeâ€, others will cry! â€œNoâ€, what has just been stated is REALITY, and the best way to turn something bad into something good is to first recognize truth and then act on correcting the problem. We need to make major reforms in our schools and our government in order to make them more efficient and eventually lower taxes across the board. A tough business-minded governor could force this to happen, but it would not be easy. We need to pass the TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) bill in 2006, but that is another subject I will be discussing more during the summer.
It is very important that I hear from you and that you let your voice be heard by your representative and senator on this Sebelius Court Constitutional Crisis issue.
To contact Rep. Frank Miller write, telephone, or email to P.O. Box 665, Independence, KS, 67301, Tel: (Home) 620-331-0281; Email [email protected], or see webpage www.frankmiller.org.