Friday, January 25, 2013

Working To Be A Failed State

This month, the largest tax cut in Kansas history took effect, and most of its Medicaid system was handed over to private insurers. The bill introduced this week would pare taxes further, with the goal of eventually eliminating the state’s individual income tax. Mr. Brownback has already slashed the state’s welfare roll and its work force. He has merged government agencies and is proposing further consolidation. He is pushing for pension changes, to change the way judges are selected and for altering education financing formulas.
“I think it is the leading edge of the conservative economic and political movement,” said State Representative Tom Sloan, a Republican representing the area around Lawrence. “As such, it is the example that other state leaders will look to to determine whether the political philosophy can mesh with the expectations of the public.”
This would pummel the budgets of rural communities and schools.  Meanwhile, the state would extend a sales tax increase that was due to expire.  There was an excellent quote in the article where a legislator makes the case that her constituents have moved to Nevada (maybe five years ago) and Florida, and maybe they'll move back if Kansas gets rid of the income tax like those states.  I personally wouldn't wager on that.  Seriously, how many people with functioning brains are going to look around and say, man, neither Florida nor Kansas has an income tax, so there really isn't any reason to move to Florida as opposed to Kansas?  Personally, if the state wasn't run by morons (which  in no way separates it from Florida), I'd much rather live in Kansas than Florida.  Then again, I'd rather live in Ohio (with its supposedly soul crushing income tax) than either place (and I'll never live in Indiana again.  Hoosiers are idiots).

Back on taxes, I've got another beef.  John Kasich is riling up energy companies by saying he wants to increase severance taxes on oil and gas producers.  Ok, I agree with that.  But considering how deeply school and local government budgets have been slashed, does it make any sense whatsoever that he plans to offset that increased revenue with an individual income tax cut?  This is on top of pushing through a previously planned 4% tax cut that had been postponed by Governor Strickland to try to cushion the budget cuts during the recession.  Seriously, Republicans look at Mississippi and Alabama and see model governments, not disaster areas.  I don't want to turn Ohio into Mississippi.  Luckily, Mississippi is there to hold down 50th place in most categories, and keep us looking good.

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