Kansas has never had an income tax problem. Instead, it has a property tax problem. The number one issue I hear about from constituents is increasing property taxes. This is especially of concern to those living on a fixed income; they fear they will no longer be able to afford to live in their family homes because of high property taxes.
A report released in January 2015 by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, ranked Kansas as 9th for the most unfair state and local tax system in the country. Their chart indicates the lowest 20% of income earners pay nearly double what the top 1% of earners.
This comes as no surprise given that the administration, and the legislature, removed renters from the Homestead Program and made significant reductions to the property tax and mortgage interest deductions.
Now, with the latest changes to school funding, property taxes are on the rise once again. To make up for cuts to school funding, many school districts are opting for an average increase of 1.8 mills.
The governor’s economic policies have created a significant imbalance between the three sources of state and local tax revenue – sales, income, and property – resulting in an increasing burden on average, hardworking Kansans. It is only prudent that these policies be reconsidered, and a more sustainable and balanced structure be developed.