Martin Hawver
Guest columnist
Now, some of you grownups will remember the time that your wife looked at a friend’s new baby, and adoringly offered up “she’s got her father’s eyes.”
And some of you might remember your wife elbowing you in the ribs when you chimed in, “Yes…two.”
Well, the Kansas House has finally come up with its version of an income tax cut plan, and we’re thinking that Gov. Sam Brownback might offer up that a tax cut is a tax cut. The House’s plan has his eyes.
The theme is the same in the election-year proposals—cut  taxes—but  the House’s version is probably passable in that chamber where the governor’s plan had slim chances, and with just a dab of surgery, the House tax plan could stand a good chance in the Senate.
The differences? Gov.  Brownback’s plan costs $90 million, the House’s plan just $47 million; the governor’s plan raises taxes for more than 300,000 Kansans and the House plan figures to cut everyone’s taxes—even the poor who would average just $11 in savings, but no cut—and the House plan doesn’t eliminate credits and deductions near to the hearts of long-form filers.
Those are some of the differences in legislation as it is proposed by the guy who is in the middle of a four-year term and the House which stands for re-election this year. And it’s the difference between a tax cut plan thought up on the second floor of the Statehouse, where the governor and his staff work, and on the third floor, where legislators meet—and hear testimony and gripes close-up from their constituents.
It’s a little like the House took a smaller dab of peanut butter, but spread it thinly clear to the edges of the slice of bread, while Brownback uses more peanut butter and leaves it in a lump that favors middle-and upper-income taxpayers.
Sure, the House’s plan produces smaller tax cuts. Joint filers with an income of $100,000 to $250,000 see a reduction averaging $235, not the $890 Brownback offers, but for incomes of less than $25,000, the House plan offers an average $11.64 tax cut while the governor’s plan raises taxes on those low-income families by an average of $156.
Oh, and if you make more than $250,000 a year, Brownback’s tax plan cuts your bill by $5,239 while the House average cut for that bracket where the air is thin is $1,391.
It probably depends on whom you hang out with, this business of cutting taxes, but legislators tend to know a higher percentage of their constituents on sight than governors do. Maybe it’s the difference between campaign contributors and voters.
We’ll see whether Brownback can convince Kansans that the House’s tax cut plan has his eyes.
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this statewide political news service, visit the website at