Kansas’ tax-cut nightmare is almost over. Your move, Brownback

sunfIn lightning speed, the Kansas Senate on Friday passed the much-needed bill to kill the worst parts of Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax-cut package from 2012.

Congratulations to the Legislature for approving a fairer, improved tax policy to help restore greatness to the Sunflower State.

Brownback should not veto this measure. If he wants, he can let it go into effect without his signature. Then he can rail against it all he wants.

The governor — who has dragged the state into fiscal hell — must acknowledge that the people have spoken. The House and Senate members who are closest to the residents of the Sunflower State decided this week that the tax-cut nightmare has to end.

Dinah Sykes

Sen. Dinah Sykes

Johnson County Republican senators Barbara Bollier, John Skubal and Dinah Sykes properly supported the measure. On Thursday, much of the Kansas House delegation also correctly backed the measure.

Five other GOP senators from the county opposed the bill on Friday. (Democrat Pat Pattey of Kansas City, Kan., who represents part of the county, also voted for the bill.)

This was a day long, long in coming.

The tax cuts so lavishly praised by Brownback never brought in the economic growth or additional jobs that he and others promised.

He and the ultra-conservatives Republicans who held power in Topeka also had four years to keep their hollow pledge to cut the general budget drastically. They failed.

As the House also decided on Thursday, spending is not the problem in Kansas, revenue is.

Sen. John Skubal

Sen. John Skubal

Meanwhile, the lack of revenue caused by the tax cuts forced Kansas into being the laughingstock of the nation when it came to budgetary affairs.

The Legislature raised sales taxes twice to try to balance the budget. The state cut university funding, diverted more than a billion dollars from the highway fund, missed pension payments — and yet still couldn’t pay the bills.

Sen. Barbara Bollier

Sen. Barbara Bollier

This week the Legislature repealed the unfair income tax exemptions awarded to owners of 330,000 LLCs. They added a higher income tax rate for higher-income earners and boosted the middle tax rate slightly.

These are excellent moves. They will help restore balance to the state tax code. They will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for crucial public services for residents.

Kansans don’t mind paying their fair share of taxes. The decisions this week moved the state closer to providing that kind of policy for them.