May 17, 2024

Austin: "Kelly launched a tax war on the poor"

Posted May 17, 2024 2:53 PM

Hutch Post 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Free-market economist and former Republican candidate for Kansas State Treasurer, Michael Austin is still trying to figure out why Gov. Laura Kelly again vetoed tax cuts, and why she plans to call a special session.

"I think Laura Kelly's third veto of your incoming tax relief is a blatant declaration," Austin said. "She's launched a tax war on the poor. By opposing the legislature's plan to eliminate that bottom bracket, a bracket that's a direct hit on low income earners, she's showing her cards. She knows that low and middle income families are the golden goose of income tax revenues. I think she's not willing to give up what she sees as a meal ticket to her growing collection of pet projects and special interest spending."

This seems at cross purposes with the way she ran for her second term.

"She claimed to be middle of the road," Austin said. "In reality, it's really more my way or the highway. She wants a package without any income tax cuts. Here's the catch with that. If you follow what Laura Kelly wants and have a package with only property tax reductions, that means you won't see any tax relief until you pay your property tax bill in December."

Also, functionally, if your valuation goes up at a greater rate than whatever property tax relief the state can provide, which is likely limited due to the fact that the only part of property tax they control is that tied to school funding and they have to watch that pot of money closely, then tax cuts wouldn't be felt by an individual at all, if they don't include income.

"You need to not have all your eggs in one basket," Austin said. "You need to have income, sales and property tax. One, so that you can give tax relief immediately. Two, you can give tax relief in many different forms. With Laura Kelly's conditions and her continuing to veto, she's effectively saying, I only want one type of tax relief and I don't want it to be big."

The showdown over the final form of tax relief is likely in June, but dates are not set yet for a special session.

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