Legislators are considering plans to cut or eliminate Kansas’ earned-income tax credit, or EITC.
It’s about time.
Don’t believe the heated rhetoric accusing the Kansas House and Gov. Sam Brownback of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. That is a misleading argument against the plans to lower rates for everyone and flatten the tax code.
Under the existing tax code, the EITC allows the state to take money from some Kansans and simply give it to others in the form of tax credits. It’s government redistribution of wealth – something the vast majority of Kansans oppose when put in those stark terms.
Tax credits are traditionally rife with fraud and are used as a tool for social engineering. In a truly free society, the government doesn’t offer rewards or punishments for legal behaviors through the tax code. At best, it’s bad policy. At worst, tax credits are baby steps toward tyranny.
A flatter, fairer tax is something all Kansans should celebrate. And yes, we believe every Kansan who earns a living should pay a little something into the state coffers. The state and all its services are the responsibility of the many – not the few.
A fairer, flatter state tax code grants everyone ownership in it. That’s a good thing.
There may some pain as the tax code is re-adjusted, and that’s unfortunate. But change is always difficult even when it’s absolutely necessary. And in this case it is.
Eliminating all tax credits, including the EITC, while lowering the state’s astronomical income tax rates should be an immediate priority of all Kansans.
We hope legislators ignore the dramatic rhetoric and do the right thing – make Kansas tax code fairer, more equitable with lower rates across the board.