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Moving Beyond “Brownback”: A New Path for Kansas

Jan 26, 2024 by AFP

An outdated and untrue narrative lingers on the Kansas plains, surfacing every time the state stands at the crossroads of prosperity. In early 2023, lawmakers proposed a plan to alleviate tax burdens, including reductions on property, social security, and personal income taxes.

Unfortunately, a self-serving few cried the term “Brownback” like an axe to a tree, cutting down the chance to make Kansas a better place to live and retire. As lawmakers try again in 2024, to succeed, we must shed this tired tale, discard the drama, and declare that our state is prepared to prioritize the people instead of fear and misinformation.

Kansans are at a tipping point, a choice between shedding false labels and flourishing or slipping back into a stagnant status quo that leaves the poorest further behind. We’re the second most over-governed state, with non-farm earnings growth trailing 5% behind half the nation.

Families are grappling with an extra $11,200 in expenses due to painful inflation, and rising property taxes are triggering an exodus to low-tax states. The “Brownback” accusation, divorced from reality, has led us to this point.

Over a decade ago, policymakers attempted a tax overhaul, but misaligned spending led to its failure. Today’s generation of lawmakers offered a bold approach: a single tax rate, which is the most important tax reform that can be proposed – in line with 13 other states that have one single tax rate for all residents.

The math adds up to increased family savings, and the State Revenue Department predicts income tax free status for minimum-wage earners. The plan also combats inflation by preventing income from entering higher tax brackets as living costs rise.

There hasn’t been a more fair, equitable, and compassionate policy in nearly a decade. We can’t let petty politics squander this moment for systemic tax reform while opening opportunities for educational freedom and more policies that allow hardworking Kansans to prosper.

The more proven benefit to everybody is income tax reform, which should be addressed at the local level.

The select few who cry the “Brownback” epithet claim any tax relief isn’t affordable for the state budget. However, the state coffers boast a $3+ billion mountain of surplus, with an additional $1.5 billion set aside for emergencies.

A single tax rate, that down the road will lead to economic growth, will initially cost less than 10% of the state’s current surplus. Working alongside legislators, Americans for Prosperity Kansas is tirelessly uncovering nearly a billion dollars in wasteful spending.

Kansans should learn from history and reinforce that prosperity is families and businesses with abundant savings, not with reliance on an expanding government.

While some politicians aim to tether Kansas to the past for personal gain, the truth is that Kansas has been blessed with a historic opportunity to flourish and leave toxic, untrue labels behind. In January 2024, Kansas lawmakers should enact a single-rate tax structure that will provide relief on social security and property tax.

It’s not a return to the past but an embrace of sensible tax reform and a strategic step for the government to finally align with the people’s aspirations.