While Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and the state legislature have chosen to balance the state budget by raising taxes that will primarily affect the poor and working class, Brownback would like to assure the people of Kansas that they haven't really raised taxes, at least not on anyone that matters.
You have to look at the big picture, he says, and if you do that you'd see that rich people will benefit greatly from the course of action the Brownback administration has chosen.
The governor said this year's tax increases must be viewed in light of aggressive personal income tax cuts enacted by the GOP-dominated Legislature at his urging in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy. His aides distributed figures showing that those income tax cuts would be worth nearly $1 billion during the next fiscal year.
The $1 billion figure distributed by the governor's staff may seem familiar because that is the amount of revenue the state was projected to miss over the next two fiscal years thanks to Brownback's signature tax cuts.
The legislation recently signed into law by the governor which reshuffles the fiscal deck will only raise approximately $384 million in revenue over the next fiscal year. Taking that into account, it doesn't require an advanced degree to see that the state could find itself in a $600 million hole at this point in time next year.
Undoubtedly, taxes have increased and decreased for the wrong people.
New analysis from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy makes this very clear.
The analysis posted online said the poorest 20 percent of the state's residents will pay 1.5 percent more in taxes than they did in 2012, or an average of $197 a year. Meanwhile, the wealthiest 1 percent will pay 1.9 percent less, or an average of about $24,600, the group said.
Although the governor has signed the state's budget for the next fiscal year which begins on July 1st, the state's fiscal matters are not necessarily settled. The Associated Press reports that some Republican members of the legislature expect they will be forced to cut spending by another $50 million at some point during the fiscal year.
The last time the state cut spending in the middle of the year, some public schools were forced to close for the Summer earlier than usual because they did not have enough money to stay open.
The governor was asked about the status of public education by local reporters yesterday and, rather than accept responsibility, Brownback blamed school districts.
As you may recall, the governor's office is threatening to defund the state judiciary to prevent it from ruling in favor of school districts which would force the state to spend more money on education.