Statehouse Report, Part 3
This article is the third in a series and can be found on my Facebook page, along with the first two.
Real wealth and prosperity in a free market economy are driven by hard working Kansans in the private sector. The size of government is not an indicator of the health of a state’s economy. Eliminating inefficiencies and redundancies saves the taxpayers’ money.
A few of the government agencies worked to find ways to reduce spending to help lower costs. Many did not. I sat on a couple of budget committees during the 2013-2016 sessions and can tell you first hand government agencies come in every year and request more money. One way they hide money is to say they have this many employees (called FTE’S). However, as you look through each agency budget and ask questions, the number on their budget request includes positions which have not been filled in several months. Eliminating these positions reduces their budget so they are reluctant to do so. Our budget woes would be even greater had the Legislature, along with Governor Brownback, not eliminated a couple thousand of these positions.
I talked about the 2012 tax cuts in my first article. What happened from 2013 through 2016? Kansas saw private non-farm annual wage growth of 4.1 percent. During the 10 prior years, growth was 3.1 percent. At the same time the national economy had not fully recovered.
By June 2015, Kansas wages were growing faster than Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Kansas City employees saw their wages grow considerably faster in Kansas. In January 2011, there was a $0.30 higher average paid to an employ on the Kansas side of the state line than on the Missouri side. The difference grew to $2 by June 2015.
Small businesses make up most jobs Kansas. Owners of these businesses invest in their communities, employ fellow Kansans and expand the State’s economy. Kansans set record number of new domestic entity filings every year since the tax reform. As Kansas’ small businesses grow, the state grows with them. While many complained the tax reform unfairly benefited small business, only a fraction of the plan was used to buy down business income taxes.
In my first article, I misstated the percentages. However, only 29 percent (not 21 percent) went to eliminate taxes on small businesses while the remaining 71 percent (not 79 percent) was used to reduce individual income tax burdens.
Next week, I will address what transpired in the 2016 elections and the 2017 legislative session when the 2012 tax reform was eliminated. Until then, May the blessings of God be yours.
Randy Garber3 Posts
Randy Garber is the Kansas House 62nd District Representative. His first term was 2011. He currently is vice chair for the Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, and also sits on the following committees: Social Services Budget, Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget, Energy and Environment, and Telecommunications Study.