Economy Taxes

Sam Brownback Will Target the Poor and Working Class to Pay for Tax Cuts for the Rich


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has finally unveiled his plan to plug holes in the state budget generated by his signature tax cuts and the plan is to raise fees and taxes on the poor and working class so he can continue cutting taxes for the wealthy.

From The Wichita Eagle

The state’s cigarette tax would be nearly tripled, from 79 cents to $2.29 a pack, and the tax on packaged alcoholic beverages would go from 8 percent to 12 percent under the Republican governor’s budget plans. […]

Brownback also proposed levying $162 million in fees over two years on the three private health insurance companies managing the state’s Medicaid program since 2013.

While Brownback is raising taxes on everyday purchases and imposing fees on Medicaid, the governor will continue cutting income taxes, he’ll simply do so more ‘gradually.’ Cutting income taxes is what generated this problem in the first place, but the governor and Republicans in the state legislature want to have their cake and eat it too.

Brownback’s plan to raise sales taxes and impose fees won’t cover the entire hole created his signature tax cuts, however. Doing so will only cover approximately $394 million of a $710 hole. The remaining $316 million will be closed by cutting spending and those spending cuts, as you might imagine, will primarily target Medicaid.

In a statement concerning his proposal, Brownback said he wants eliminate income taxes altogether and transition to “consumption taxes” which will allow Kansans “more freedom to determine their spending and reinforce the principle that the family budget is more important than the government budget.”

Consumption taxes are a tax on working people and the poor. The “freedom” to make your family budget “more important than the governor budget” is the freedom to decide if that gallon of milk is a priority or not.

It’s easy for the wealthy to pay a couple extra dollars at the register, especially after you cut their income tax rate by 29 percent(!), but it is not easy for the poor and working poor to pay a couple extra dollars which could, quite literally, mean the difference between eating or not.

The working poor who do not benefit from Brownback’s tax cuts will now pay more so the governor can continue cutting taxes for people who don’t need a tax cut.

In addition to cutting the state’s top tax rate by 29 percent, 191,000 private businesses have been exempted from paying any income taxes.

And this won’t stop at cigarettes and alcohol or fees on Medicaid. Replacing all income taxes with “consumption taxes,” as Governor Brownback intends to do, will require massive hikes in sales taxes and fees that working people will be forced to pay.

A significant and disproportionate number of people who did not vote for Brownback will likely feel the most pressure under his economic regime, and that’s infuriating.