Six Kansas state Senators who colluded with Democrat Minority Leader Tony Hensley to scuttle Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to phase-out the state’s income tax face tough primary challenges next Tuesday. Each has a challenger who has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to their constituents and vowed to stand strong against higher taxes on Kansans.
According to numbers from the Kansas Department of Labor, the Kansas economy over the past ten years has been uncompetitive, with many businesses and taxpayers migrating to states with friendlier tax climates. Between 2001 and 2010 Kansas lost 39,700 jobs and 15,683 tax filers to other states. This trend has left Kansas with a troubled economy.
If Senate Republicans stood by their conservative principles, the proposal to phase out the state’s income tax would have been a significant step forward for Kansas economically. As a state surrounded by low income tax – or in the case of Texas, no income tax – states, it is imperative that Kanas maintains a competitive tax climate. Additionally, lessening the tax burden at the state level is particularly important considering the largest federal tax increase in U.S. history will hit individuals, families, and employers in the state in less than five short months.
With the primaries in Kansas quickly approaching on August 7, voters will have a choice between Senators who have opposed the Brownback plan to create jobs and cut taxes or candidates who have made a firm commitment to the voters to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes. Voters in Kansas should keep in mind Senate Republican leadership’s betrayal of taxpayers.
“Kansas voters need state senators who will stand behind taxpayers by voting for true, pro- growth tax reform,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The current senate leadership has shown that they are no friends of the people of Kansas by opposing Governor Brownback’s efforts to turn the state’s economy around and make Kansas competitive as a ‘jobs’ state again.”
A group of candidates challenging the state Senate leadership has taken a firm stand against higher taxes by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. They are listed below:
Jeff Melcher (S-11)
Joe Patton (S-20)
Tom Arpke (S-24)
Michael O’Donnell (S-25)
Gary Mason (S-31)
Larry Powell (S-39)