WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) strongly opposes any and all efforts to increase taxes in Kansas. Targeted tax increases on specified products like distilled spirits, beer, wine, alcohol-related products, and cigarettes are regressive and fail to achieve a long-term solution for state budget woes.
Taxes on these products are regressive because consumers with less disposable income bear a greater burden of the taxes on these products as a proportion of income than consumers with more disposable income.
Fiscal spending has increased every year for the last ten years in Kansas, a total of 64% more spending. Preventing cuts to public school education or other programs should not require only the consumers, retailers, and manufacturers of certain products to bear the burden of this responsibility.
Increasing taxes on distilled spirits, beer, wine, alcohol-related products, and cigarettes will cause consumers, retailers, and manufacturers to take their business elsewhere and consequently impact the Kansan economy in a negative manner. Of the states that border Kansas, only Oklahoma has higher taxes on these products. The Kansan economy benefits from tax competition with other neighboring states when taxes in Kansas are lower.
"Taxes levied against distilled spirits, beer, wine, and cigarettes are already some of the highest taxes levied against any product category," commented Emily Sedgwick, State Projects Manager at ATR. "A budget shortfall of $375 million necessitates disciplined cuts in spending. This trend in Kansas of increasing state spending for a decade bodes ill for the Kansan taxpayers and the Kansan economy."
"State legislators should focus their attention on cutting spending, rather than coming up with so-called \’alternative\’ plans to increase taxes by a lesser amount," added Grover Norquist, President of ATR. "I urge the 41 state legislators who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and thereby promised to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes to take a firm and principled position on efforts to worsen the tax burden on Kansans by any amount."