Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kansas' Tax and Spend Republicans

tax-and-spendThe state of Kansas is facing a budget shortfall of $467 million. Thankfully, Republicans control both state houses, so Kansans can look forward to a slew of conservative budget cuts to help get the state living back within its means… or not!

In the past week or so, Kansas Republicans have proposed a slew of new taxes.

There’s the soda tax, proposed by Senate Vice President John Vratil, a Leawood Republican. The tax would add 10 cents to the cost of a can of soda, or a $1.20 to 12-pack.

There’s the tobacco tax increases, proposed by Senate Taxation Committee Chairman Les Donovan, a Wichita Republican. The tax would add 55 cents to the cost of a pack of cigarettes.

There’s the alcohol tax increases, sponsored by Rep. Kay Wolf, a Prairie Village Republican. Although temporarily tabled, the proposal would add several cents to the cost of beer, wine and spirits.

There’s the state sales tax increase, also proposed by the chair of the Senate Tax Committee, Senator Les Donovan, a Wichita Republican. The tax would raise the state’s sales tax by 1%, an increase that in a moment you will find will have a dramatic affect on another proposed tax increase.

There’s the proposal before the Senate Transportation committee that would, for the first time ever, make gasoline subject to sales tax, a sales tax members hope will also be raised by one percent simultaneously. The proposal will increase the cost of gas by an estimated 17 cents per gallon, raising an estimated $300 million in 2011 alone.

Accompanying the gas sales tax proposal, is another one to increase the state’s motor fuel tax by 4 cents. It would also allow the state to automatically increase the motor fuel tax based on the consumer rate of inflation each year. This distinct and separate proposal is estimated to raise an additional $300 million annually.

The two gas tax increase proposals alone are enough to overcome Kansas budget gap. So, why all the other proposed increases? One only needs to look at what is being taxed to find out.

Soda, cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline… all are considered socially unacceptable by progressives and thusly taxes on them have been labeled “sin taxes”.

Kansas is supposed to a bastion of conservatism. Yet, all these tax proposals are coming not from California liberals but from so-called Conservatives in a state about which progressives have previously pondered, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?

UPDATE 4:09 pm CST: Apparently the Beer Tax increase has been untabled and a hearing was held this morning.

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