The tired politics of yesterday are, unfortunately, alive and well in Kansas.
Despite a political climate against government picking the winners and losers through the tax code, and despite political tailwinds for fairer taxation, two Kansas giants are advocating that Congress extend a frivolous tax credit for wind energy.
In a guest editorial sent to the four corners of Kansas, Sen. Jerry Moran and Gov. Sam Brownback testify to the importance of subsidizing big business, in this case wind energy, rather than advocating for limiting taxes and regulations for all.
Their hot air puts a damper on the idea that Kansans will lead in the fight for flatter taxes across the board. Instead, it’s Washington politics as usual – this time coming live from the Kansas Plains.
In their editorial, the pair writes that the set-to-expire PTC, a wind production tax credit, is not “a cash handout; they are reductions in taxes that help cover the cost of doing business.”
Of course, they counter their own argument against it being a cash handout, by talking in terms of real dollars that they fear will be lost if the tax credit isn’t extended. In their editorial, they estimate that Kansas counties will lose $3.7 million in annual payments from wind companies and that Kansas landowners will lose nearly $4 million annually in additional income from selling and leasing wind farms.
We fail to understand how those dollars that originated from some taxpayers’ hard work being funneled through Washington to our communities. And while we understand the desire to have the money funneled here rather than to a bridge to nowhere somewhere else, the federal government shouldn’t be directing where the fruits of our collective labors go.
The free market should do that. A tax subsidy for one industry translates into real dollars that other taxpayers must make up for somewhere else.
The pair argues that the energy sector is over-regulated. On that we agree, but that begs for an editorial about cutting regulations. That would be a breath of fresh air.
Instead, the pair opts to advocate for continuing Washington’s ruinous policies in which 535 people in the nation’s capital decide which businesses and sectors succeed and thrive and which businesses, individuals and sectors crash and burn.
To say the editorial guest column is a disappointment is an understatement. We expect better from Kansans.