House minority leader: Tax law favors employers

By Corene Brisendine

Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis called an income tax law that went into effect this year the “Workers Pay, Bosses Don’t” tax law during a visit to Manhattan on Thursday.

Davis visited with residents at Kite’s Bar and Grill Thursday night in an annual trip around Kansas during the legislative break in an attempt to gauge voters’ concerns.

In his speech, he said no business owners, except those who file as “C” corporations, have to pay income tax under the new law. Now, the Legislature must find $30 million in budget cuts to compensate for this reduction in taxes. He said one way Gov. Sam Brownback is planning to compensate is by increasing sales tax by 1 percent. He said the problem with sales tax is it is highly regressive, making it a less desirable way to support the budget.

After the speech, Davis listened to what voters had to say and fielded questions. One person asked how the two-year budget cycle would affect Kansas State University. Davis said it doesn’t work well because there are some agencies that cannot predict their budgets that far in advance, especially with the “unstable business climate” the state is experiencing right now. The administration’s staff is plucking numbers out of the air and putting them into holes in the budget, he said.

Another person asked what purpose was served by the innovative school district bill. Davis said the bill would release districts from adhering to rules and regulations set by the state. He said one example is the requirement that teachers be certified. He said there were better ways to help districts, but he did not say what those were.

The remainder of the questions centered on how Kansas Democrats could regain a political foothold in the state Legislature in order to overthrow the majority and the governor to restore the income tax cuts and push for more funding in education and mental health.

The Legislature reconvenes on May 8.

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