Taxation

Sedgwick County Arena Sales Tax Ready to Pass

Following is a message from Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network, regarding the debate over SB 58, allowing Sedgwick County to raise its sales tax to pay for the downtown Wichita arena. I listened to the (as Karl rightly characterises it) "debate." Karl's reporting of the legislative action and the effects the sales tax will have is accurate. (Someone called the sales tax the "Western Butler County Improvement Act.") After a relatively brief and lackluster debate, the 1 cent sales tax hike for the downtown arena in Wichita received preliminary approval in the Kansas house March 21 on a…
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HCR 5009: An attempt to drive down property taxes

From Representative Frank Miller The Kansas Legislative Research Department provided information substantiating that property taxes increased by 126 percent since 1993, yet the inflation rate adjusted for population growth increased only 43 percent! I don't see how the appraised value of residential property could have risen 2.75 times faster than inflation adjusted for population growth! I would suggest that appraisers are encouraged to over-appraise property in order to satisfy the need for increased property taxes without increasing the mill levy. I authored this bill in the hopes of restraining appraisers from adjusting the value of your property to a value…
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Affording Tax Cuts, or Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

The logic of paygo for taxes is backward, in that it starts from the assumption that all tax revenue is Washington's in the first place and thus any tax cuts must be "offset" so Congress can be made whole. But of course the money belongs to the taxpayers who earned it, and the burden ought to be on the politicians to spend less so Americans can keep more. Republicans claim to believe this. ("Budget Irresolution," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2005) "Paygo" refers to the "pay-as-you-go" budget rules, which require that any tax cuts be offset by other tax…
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Let free markets determine downtown Wichita’s viability

"Wichita's been an east/west town for as long as I can remember. Obviously, we're trying to change that," says Tom Johnson, president of the upcoming downtown project, WaterWalk. (Wichita Business Journal, March 4, 2005) A healthy community needs a healthy downtown. ... In Downtown, public investment has a proven track record of generating new, private investment. Since 1990, the government's investment of $165 million has stimulated $248 million in private investment. (Voteyea.com website.) "Anything downtown seems to be off-limits for criticism or analysis. I don't know why it is," Lambke said. (Council member Phil Lambke, Wichita Eagle, November 14, 2004)…
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Rep. Loganbill Advocates More Tax Brackets

On Saturday February 12, 2005, I attended a meeting of the South-Central Kansas Legislative Delegation. State Representative Judith Loganbill made remarks that included the fact that the maximum Kansas individual income tax rate becomes effective at taxable incomes of $30,000 for singles and $60,000 for married couples. A member of the audience spoke and expressed astonishment to learn this. I didn't think about it at the time, but I now realize that Rep. Loganbill was advocating more tax brackets with higher rates.
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TABOR: not fair?

Mr. Gary Brunk, executive director of Kansas Action for Children, wrote a letter published in The Wichita Eagle on February 23, 2005, opposing a taxpayer bill of rights, or TABOR, in Kansas. As evidence of TABOR's failure in Colorado, he cites the low rate of childhood immunization in that state. It is unfortunate that so many Colorado children don't receive immunizations. Mr. Brunk, however, presents no evidence that Colorado's TABOR is the cause. It is tempting to conclude that when both x and y are present that x must be the cause of y, but this is not evidence of…
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Latest Federal School Finance Spending Revealed

Here is an article from the Kansas Taxpayers Network that reports on school spending: http://www.kansastaxpayers.com/editorial_fedschool.html. On Saturday February 12, 2005 I attended a meeting of the South Central Kansas Legislative Delegation. Lynn Rogers, USD 259 School Board President, and Connie Dietz, Vice-President of the same body, attended. There has been a proposal to spend an additional $415 million over the next three years on schools. Asked if this would be enough to meet their needs, the Wichita school board members replied, "No."
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Increase our awareness of taxes

As the annual tax season is upon us, we should take a moment to examine our level of awareness of the taxes we pay. First, very many families don't pay any federal income tax. According to a study by the Tax Foundation (link: http://www.taxfoundation.org/ff/zerotaxfilers.html) 58 million households, representing some 122 million people or 44 percent of the U.S. population, pay no federal income tax. For those who do pay taxes, they often aren't aware, on a continual basis, of just how much tax they pay. That's because our taxes are conveniently withheld for us on our paychecks. Many people, I…
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Abuse Of Tax Funds Must Stop

The following is from the Kansas Taxpayers Network. It shows how government-funded organizations participated in the campaign to increase Sedgwick County taxes. Taxpayers' funds are being used to promote higher taxes in Kansas. Tax funds are also being used to lobby for higher taxes (see VI. and 1. above). This is an egregious mess that the legislature should stop. Tax funds are also used for "informational" campaigns by taxpayer funded groups. This includes a variety of local units like school boards but is not limited to any local units. How bad is this problem? Public campaign donation and expense records…
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Letter to Kansas Legislators regarding Sedgwick County arena tax

January 25, 2005 Dear Senator or Representative: I am writing to express my opposition to the legislature granting Sedgwick County the authority to raise its county-wide sales tax in order to fund the proposed downtown Wichita arena. I realize that the voters in Sedgwick County voted for the tax. Still, I believe there is ample reason why you should vote against the tax. The primary reason is that the idea of the arena came about so fast in the summer that there was little thought given to the underlying issues. The Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita…
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