On Thursday, Governor Mark Parkinson signed a $314 million sales tax increase.  Earlier this month the House of Representatives voted 64-61 and the Kansas Senate voted 23-17 to pass this tax increase.  The tax increase will cost the taxpayers of the state an estimated $1.5 billion over the next 5 years.

The tax increase will take the Kansas sales tax rate from 5.3 percent to 6.3 percent on July 1, 2010.  Under the new rate of 6.3 percent, Kansas will have the highest rate of any of its neighboring states: Colorado 2.9%, Missouri 4.225%, Nebraska 5.5%, and Oklahoma 4.5%.

“What’s the matter with Kansas?  In a time when the taxpayers of Kansas are struggling in a recession, their legislature voted to pass a tax increase that will cost them $314 million in fiscal year 2011 alone,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “The legislature joined Governor Parkinson, voting for a budget that will spend $195 million more than last year, in turn propping up government spending on the backs of the taxpayers.  Not only will this tax increase hurt consumers, but it will hurt the businesses selling products to those consumers.  Missouri’s tax rate will be nearly 2.5 percent less than that of Kansas incentivizing Kansans living near the border to purchase products in Missouri.”

Two legislators who voted for the tax increase broke their Pledge to the taxpayers of their district and Kansas to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes,” their names are Jo Ann Pottorf (R-H83) and Dale Swenson (D-H97).  By keeping their commitments to the taxpayers and voting against this tax increase these two legislators would have caused the vote to fail.

“The Governor and all of the legislators who voted for and pushed this tax increase are doing a disservice to the people of Kansas and the state’s economy.  Two legislators in particular had the opportunity to change the outcome of this vote, but instead broke their Pledge to ‘oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.’  The misdeeds of all who voted for this bill and Governor Parkinson who signed it should be remembered by the taxpayers as we move closer toward primary day and November.”

For a PDF copy of ATR's press release, click here.