Mark Taylor
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Kansans for No Income Tax, an organization aimed at eliminating Kansas individual income tax, stopped in Johnson County on its statewide bus tour last weekend.
The stop at a business in Lenexa attracted a crowd of about 40 persons.
Ashley McMillan, president of Kansans For No Income Tax, said the purpose of the tour is to educate Kansans about the opportunities to increase taxpayers’ wealth by eliminating income taxes.
“We created Kansas For No Income Tax because we wanted to encourage growth in our state,” she said. “When we looked at other pro-growth states, those that were increasing in both population and economically, they all had something in common — they did not have state income tax.
“We think that this is the best way to spur economic growth.”
Dave Trabert, president of the Kansas Policy Institute, told the gathering that the notion of having to pay higher taxes to maintain government services is incorrect.
“You can have your cake and eat it too,” he said. “You can actually have lower taxes and good quality services. Not only can you do it, you must do that because it is the only way we can sustain economic growth and job creation.”
Trabert said reducing income taxes is about one thing — job creation.
“Reducing income taxes does not mean sales, property or other taxes have to increase,” he said. “The whole point of this is to reduce the tax burden, not shift it.”
Trabert said that a comparison of the 10 highest tax burdened states with the 10 lowest tax burdened states demonstrates this.
The 10 highest burdened states increased private sector jobs by 1 percent between 1998 and 2010.
The lowest burdened states increased private sector jobs by 8.5 percent.
During the same time period, Kansas lost 1.2 percent of private sector jobs.
“We actually employed fewer private sector people in 2010 than we did in 1998,” Trabert said.
States with no income tax added 1.7 million private sector jobs while the rest of the country lost 350,000 jobs.
Trabert said cutting state income tax would ultimately mean more sales tax revenue for the state’s coffers.
“It does not mean sales and property taxes will go up,” he said. “Part of the revenue is replaced by increasing sales tax revenue. Not the rate, but the revenue. If you have more money in your pocket, you are going to have more money to spend on taxable goods.”
Trabert added that the income tax would be phased out over time.
“This is not going to happen overnight,” he said. “It takes time to phase through it and allow it to work.”
Jeff Melcher, a business owner, said cutting the state income tax would move Kansas from the bottom of the economic heap to the top.
He cited Kansas’s infrastructure, a rail system, climate and schools.
“We have all these very positive atttribtues,” Melcher said. “The very one single most important thing we can do to make Kansas move from the bottom of the barrel to the top five is to eliminate the state income tax.
“Consumers look for value. Job creators look for value also.”
House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid said Kansas’ economic outlook is ranked 37th in the nation, and 73 percent of its counties are losing population.
“We must start reducing income taxes in this state and we have to do it immediately or we are going to languish as a loser in the midwest.
“We have to control spending, we have to reduce spending, and we have to cut income taxes.
“That will free up capital for (business owners) to invest in technology and new jobs and in the end of that, it will increase revenue for the state.”
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