Good on paper, bad in practice
Do you do somersaults when you pay income taxes? No, neither do we. But we’re willing to acknowledge that, as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once noted, taxes are the price we pay for civilization.
Residents in Kansas, however, might soon be spared paying the state income tax if some Midway State lawmakers have their way. But what looks like a good deal on paper would likely be a bad deal in practice.
According to the plan’s supporters, doing away with income taxes would jump-start economic activity in the state and generate $2 billion in income over the next seven years. One Kansas legislator told The New York Times last week that many voters in her district had moved to Florida and Nevada “for lower taxes...I’d like to see them come back.”
Now, given the unforgiving flatness and equally unforgiving weather in Kansas this time of year – the average overnight temperature is 17 degrees – we’re guessing that not many of those former Kansans would migrate back to their home state from Florida or Nevada even if there were a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow in Topeka or Wichita.
And, of course, without an income tax, the state’s needs aren’t going to be met by pots of gold at the rainbow’s end, either. To replace the income tax, Kansas lawmakers are looking at keeping in place a sales tax increase that, of course, adversely affects poor or middle-income workers who spend more of their weekly paychecks. Eliminating the deduction for mortgage interest also is on the table, along with eliminating tax credits for child care, rent and food.
In other words, it’s a shell game that shifts the tax burden from those most able to afford it to those least able to afford it.
Unlike those expatriates who have fled to Florida or Nevada, this is one idea that should stay firmly put in Kansas.