“Working for free…”
Posted: 27 May 2013 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]
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The Mercury front page applauds Tom Phillips as he “works for free” during the days the State Legislature runs past its regularly scheduled session.  Easier for some to “work free”, when their wives are MD’s and pulling in the big bucks, than others.  This is just another example of why the blue collar, common person finds it difficult to fund increasingly expensive campaigns and to “work for free” when legislators play political games and run sessions longer than scheduled. 

The issue that is holding legislators past the scheduled session time is Brownback’s attempt to leave the sales tax high, while cutting income tax rates.  I think the accolades for Phillips isn’t that he forgoes a few bucks of legilative pay.  The accolades would be when we see him vote against Brownback’s tax plan.  Will someone whose spouse is in the “1%” vote to cut her State Income Tax rate, funding that cut on the backs of those having difficulty paying for groceries, clothing, etc.?  Let’s pat Phillips on the back when he votes to roll back the sales tax so those less financially “fixed” can streatch paychecks and fixed income payments just a little further.

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Posted: 27 May 2013 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I am in favor of the consumption tax over any income tax.  I do however think that the reduction in the Kansas Income tax rate may be on a too aggressive schedule.  Representative Phillips has suggested that some sort of trigger mechanism be put in place to cause future reductions to mirror growth and new revenue streams.  I think that is the most sensible approach.  The legislature either has to keep the sales tax or increase the income tax.  I doubt anyone wants to cut services and entitlements.  I hope that Phillips votes to keep the tax.  It is unfortunately the best budget option.  I appreciate the work the Representative Phillips is doing.  Personal income or family income should not be injected into the discussion.

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Posted: 28 May 2013 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Personal income or family income should not be injected into the discussion.

If personal or family income is not part of the discussion, why is it there are next to no poor people in office? Why then is it that education is a selling point made by the dollars of one’s status and not common sense based on how a poor and underpaid person gets by? Why is it that the only people I see in office are either, independently wealthy or they are Dr.’s, Lawyers or they are married to one in that profession? Looking into the mix of people holding seats on either commissions, boards or whatever just locally, how many have been paid by the state while they have went to meetings in the daytime? How many are employed where they could not just leave and go to some government function?

For me the personal or family income IS part of the discussion. A very important part, it tells me a lot about what that person will/will not do if given the opportunity to be paid for no work rendered. Sometimes that’s what we taxpayers get for our tax dollars - - - nothing! Then there are self employed that do serve in office and forfeit a lot of their own time at a cost to them and their business. So yes personal income is an important part of the political arena. Some do give while the majority would rather take and take and take some more.

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Posted: 28 May 2013 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Solid point.  Many of the State, County and Local government elected positions do not pay enough to even fit the living wage definition.  So you are correct you almost have to be retired, have some stream of income outside of politics or have an employer that gives you time off to do the job.  A person is not going to gain any wealth by running for local office in Kansas.  It plays a role in if a person has the time and energy for the job.  But what they stand for, how they vote and what they do is much more important than their source of personal funds.  I just do not think that being critical of Representative Phillips based on his spouses income had merit to the particular argument.  He did elect not to get paid for the extended session, which is a plus.  Some of the other representatives did take the money.  So I applaud representative Phillips efforts.  The only way many folks might run for local office is if it was a full time job – with a salary to go along with the job.  Maybe the Riley County Commission is close, though the Commission salary is modest.  But, if we increase salary then the dynamics changes again as maybe people run just for the salary.

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Posted: 29 May 2013 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Would love to see the existing IRS gutted and we go completely to a consumption tax.  Won’t ever happen.  Too many loopholes for the wealthy to hide dollars and the wealthy control Congress… is Congress.  A consumption tax should have zero loopholes/exemptions.  If you buy it… you pay tax at the point of purchase.  There are no “write-offs”, since there is no income tax.  If a church buys pews or collection plates… they pay consumption tax.  If a business buys a new Lexus for the CEO’s wife, tax is paid at the point of purchase.  There is no write-off for the business.  There is now no reason for the wealthy to hide dollars in off-shore accounts to avoid income tax.  When they bring it back to the U.S. and buy planes and yachts… they pay tax on those purchases. 

One of the challenges, however, is being able to “police” where items are purchased.  If we go to a straight consumption tax, those less monied will still pay tax on their groceries, autos, clothes, etc.  Now, the monied can purchase their private planes from a distributor in Canada or Mexico and avoid the consumption tax.  They can fly to France to buy clothes and to South Africa to buy their jewelry… and avoid paying consumption tax.  The issue of being able to monitor on-line purchases and have those purchases taxed becomes even a greater priority.  If every purchase is taxed, we will see more and more purchases on-line to avoid the consumption tax. 

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