The Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled that state lawmakers finished the 2016 legislative session without allocating enough funds to the education budget. The ruling means Kansas legislators must come up with nearly $40 million in additional funding for education. As a result, the Kansas state legislature is heading into special session on June 23 to resolve the matter.

One thing Kansas lawmakers should not consider to come up with new education funding is raising taxes further. Kansas taxpayers and the state economy have already suffered 20 federal tax increases over the last seven years and were hit with state tax hikes last year. Piling on with even higher taxes at the state level will only add insult to injury and is simply unnecessary with there is a pro-growth, free market alternative to raising additional funds: repealing onerous restrictions on alcohol sales, particularly those that prevent grocery stores from selling spirits.

Projections shows permitting the sale of licenses to grocery stores will generate an additional $41 million in revenue for fiscal year 2017 alone. Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to Kansas lawmakers in support of this pro-growth, free market approach to coming up with the funds needed to comply with the Kansas Supreme Court ruling and avoid further tax increases: 

June 14, 2016
To: Members of the Kansas Legislature
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Reject Calls For Higher Taxes
Dear Legislators,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Kansas, I write today urging you to reject calls to raise taxes during the special session. Given your constituents have been hit with more than 20 federal tax increases over the last seven years, the last thing they need is for lawmakers in Topeka to pile on with higher state taxes. Another reason tax hikes should be off the table is that Kansas could easily generate additional resources by simply getting government out of the way and repealing onerous restrictions on alcohol sales, such as those preventing grocery stores from selling spirits.
There is no need to even consider raising taxes to pay for the $38 million in additional education spending that the Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled state legislators must come up with. Kansas lawmakers can more than cover these new funding needs by allowing grocery stores to sell spirits. Projections show the state would generate an additional $41 million in fiscal year 2017 alone from the sale of licenses for grocery stores.
Changing state law to permit the sale of spirits at grocery stores will make life easier for Kansas residents by permitting one stop shopping, and is an example of how policy innovation is the best alternative to raising taxes. In contrast, raising taxes is what politicians do instead of reforming government.
Reject calls for further tax hikes. Instead, expand commerce by lifting onerous restrictions on spirits sales. ATR will be following these issues closely during the special session and will be working in the coming months to educate Kansas taxpayers on how their representatives in the legislature vote on these and other important matters. If you have any questions, or if ATR can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact me or Patrick Gleason, ATR’s director of state affairs, via phone (202) 785-0266 or email [email protected].
Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform