|
|
|
|
The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • State Rep. Connie O'Brien: The good news you're not hearing

    • email print
  • Did you ever notice that it's hard to find good news about the 2013-14 legislative session in mainstream newspapers these days?
    So, here's the good news update from the recent legislative session:
    • Kansas unemployment is 4.9 percent. That makes six months in a row Kansas unemployment has remained below 5 percent.
    • Kansas ranks 13th nationally in private sector job creation. About 55,000 new private sector jobs have been created since January 2011.
    • New business filings are at record levels, exceeding 15,400 in 2013.
    • Sales taxes have been lowered from 6.3 to 6.15 percent.
    • Income tax rates have been lowered for everyone — 13 to 23 percent cut for the average family, the single largest tax cut in Kansas history.
    • The Kansas Legislature adopted the "Pay-Go" rule, a rule that keeps them on budget. Maybe Washington, D.C., could use a Pay-Go rule? Using "Pay-Go," we've managed to maintain a balanced budget three years in a row.
    • Payments to schools and government entities are being made on time.
    • Education funding has been increased by $195 million since 2011, $129.2 million this session, with $80 million of that focused on property tax reduction.
    • We saved taxpayer money by finishing our work ahead of time. The 2014 session was the shortest in 40 years.
    • We've ended the last three fiscal years with money in the bank.
    • We ended the 2014 session with an 11.2 percent ending balance. The projected ending balance was $770 million.
    • We ended the Kansas Fiscal Year, July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, with all bills paid, and a $434 million surplus in the bank.
    Other states, Missouri for example, are taking notice
    Even Missouri legislators are trying to catch up and cash in on Kansas tax policy by cutting their income taxes over the objections of their Democratic governor. New York: Have you noticed that New York State is copying Kansas's "Rural Opportunity Zones" tax policy? You may have seen their commercials on TV. Kansas offers a five-year tax exemption to any new, out-of-state businesses that choose to relocate in our Kansas counties where population and jobs have been on the decline. New York State, not to be outdone, is offering a 10-year tax exemption.
    I like to think of the Kansas income tax cuts as a stimulus plan.
    The D.C. stimulus plan. Congress takes your tax dollars and spends them on programs they think are good for you. They believe that propping up companies like Solindra is in your best interest. They promise shovel ready jobs. They make lots of promises. Your doctor, your health care plan, you can keep them, period.
    The Kansas stimulus plan
    Page 2 of 2 - The governor and Republican legislators lowered your taxes. That's because, having experienced the Sebelius/Parkinson years, we have come to realize that you have been taxed enough already.
    Lowering income taxes allows you, and our Kansas families, to keep more of their hard earned cash. Families spend that extra cash for the products and services they need and want, patronizing the businesses they want to support. Those businesses begin to see improved sales and increased demands for their services.
    They expand to meet those demands and they hire additional help so they can provide those services and products for you, the Kansas consumer. What a novel idea.
    In Kansas, we cut income tax rates for every Kansas citizen. We also increased deductions for Kansas families and we totally eliminated income taxes for small businesses, LLCs, S-Corps, and sole proprietors. It's important to remember that these small businesses employee on average 10 employees or less, but they are the main job providers in our state, providing 75 percent of all the jobs in Kansas.
    Helping these businesses helps create jobs. People with jobs spend money. More jobs and more people working equates to more revenue for the state. Slowly but surely our policies are energizing the Kansas economy.
    States are taking notice
    Red states, and some not so red, are taking notice. They watched what Kansas is doing and they observed that lowering income taxes can be a shot in the arm for a struggling economy.
    Kansas legislators, under the leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback, have a plan to continue lowering income taxes. You see, income taxes are some of the most egregious taxes when it comes to stifling an economy.
    Kansas is on track to grow the economy. Folks go to the East Coast and West Coast to vacation, but they are coming to Kansas to do business, find work and raise a family.
    Let's keep the momentum going.

        calendar