Brownback administration close to making proposal to restructure state tax code

Gov. Sam Brownback's administration is close to unveiling a proposal to reduce state income taxes, officials said Tuesday.

Working behind the scenes with a group of businessmen and economists, Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said the proposal is exciting and will cause other states to say "Wow."

Jordan didn't release any details but said it would help small businesses and individual taxpayers. He said the proposal would not be a copy of tax policy in Texas or Florida, but is designed to help the Kansas economy grow.

Brownback said he wants an aggressive and responsible restructuring of state tax policy. "Get the rates down, broaden the base," he said.

The comments came as Brownback presided over the first meeting of his appointed Council of Economic Advisors.

Jan Lyons of Manhattan, and with the National Cattleman's Beef Association, said she was concerned that a reduction in income taxes would result in an increase in property taxes. "I'm hoping we are looking at longterm impacts," she said.

Jordan said state budget requirements and any impact on property taxes were being considered when forming the proposed tax structure.

Brownback said the state has not been growing "like we need to."

But growing the state economy while most of the nation struggles will be a tall order.

Art Hall, director of the Center for Applied Economics at the Kansas University School of Business, said that even though the country is not in recession, "We're in for a long period of slow growth, if not negative growth."

Brownback's budget director Steve Anderson said although state revenues are currently outpacing estimates, there will be fiscal constraints because much of the state budget depends on federal funding. "As that shrinks, that puts us at tremendous risk," he said.

By Scott Rothschild


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