So the budgets are coming out. In the Republican’s proposed U.S. budget, they will increase defense spending, send 1,000 ground troops to Syria, cut clean air and clean water protections and the EPA by 31 percent – this in the face of rapidly accelerating climate change with catastrophic consequences, especially in Kansas where we will see more droughts, encroaching desertification, loss of bees, butterflies and birds, etc.
At least we don’t have to worry about losing the cities on our coastlines due to rising sea levels. We just have to try to stop draining the Oglala aquifer so we have some water to drink.
They also anticipate cutting the state department by 29 percent, abandoning diplomacy- and democracy-building so we can kill, alienate and create more terrorism around the world. Agriculture and labor also face big cuts. How else are you going to free up the equivalent of job training for 80 people to cover taxpayer-paid security every day that Eric Trump is traveling on business?
And they plan to shut down Meals on Wheels. They haven’t seen that it is creating any appreciable benefit. Just remember that Donald Trump’s weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago costs $3 million in taxpayer funds. Think of it as meals for 419,000 seniors. By year’s end, Trump will rack up about 20 million meals worth of trips to Mar-a-Lago. Do you remember that Republicans accused Obama of taking too much vacation time?
And now we have the state budget proposals. With about three months left in the school year, the Republican leadership is proposing cutting this year’s school budgets by 2 percent.
I suppose you remember my suggestion a couple of years ago that any recommended school cuts ought to allow a two-year moratorium before implementation to allow schools to make the adjustments in programs, hiring and firing of necessary teachers, transitions in planned programs, etc. To expect schools to cut their annual budget by 2 percent in the last three months is insane.
And the flat tax is being proposed again in Kansas. Now they are suggesting 4.5 percent to be paid by everyone, no matter their income level.
Let me repeat, again, that the fairest, simplest and easiest tax system in Kansas would be one in which each of us could exempt our first $20,000 from taxation; each would pay 2 percent on the next $30,000; each would pay 4 percent on the next $50,000 (which would get us up to $100,000 income level – approximately twice the median household income in Kansas); and each would pay 6 percent on all income above $100,000. That would be a fair graduated tax program. Get rid of all the deductions that each of us takes. We all share in the benefits of taxes. We should all pay our share.
And, of course, none of us should pay sales tax on groceries while we also take off all of the exemptions on sales tax as well. Our church can pay sales taxes on the things we buy just as well as the rest of us can.
I’m not feeling very charitable today. Maybe I’ll have calmed down a bit in time for Saturday’s civil conversation at Harbor Lights at 9 a.m.
Linda Johnson is a Leavenworth Times columnist.