New Podcast on the Fight for Tax Reform in Kansas

September 2, 2011

For the Tax Policy Podcast this week I talked with Dave Trabert, President of the Kansas Policy Institute, about the prospects for comprehensive tax reform in Kansas. A lot of the energy behind the current push comes from former senator and current governor Sam Brownback, who is concerned that the Sunflower State is falling behind its neighbors competitvely, especially the regional powerhouse of Texas. Dave recently wrote about this problem for the Wichita Eagle:

We’re already falling behind. Kansas is the only state whose average annual private-sector employment is below its 2010 average. Part of the reason is that, unlike most states, Kansas chose to continue raising taxes last year. The Kansas Legislative Research Department says state and local taxes grew at nearly twice the rate of inflation between 2000 and 2010, with the full impact of the sales-tax increase not yet realized.

Jobs and taxpayers have been migrating from high-burden states to low-burden states for some time. Between 1998 and 2010, private-sector jobs in the 10 states with the highest state and local tax burden increased by 1 percent, whereas they grew by 8.8 percent in the 10 lowest-burden states. At the same time, Kansas lost 1.2 percent of private-sector jobs. Not surprisingly, the nine states with no personal income tax did even better; they added 1.7 million jobs while the rest of the country lost 300,000.

The solution, Dave says, is the gradual elimination of the state’s individual income tax, a proposal that’s also gaining popularity in the bordering states of Missouri and Oklahoma.

Listen to the podcast here.

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