State senate candidates on the issues: Rolling back income tax cuts enacted by the Legislature

The Shawnee Mission School District board is expecting a new education funding formula to be adopted by the Kansas Legislature this session.

We sent questions last week to candidates for state senate in Districts 6, 7 and 10, all of which cover at least a portion of northeast Johnson County.

By the deadline for the first question, we had received on two responses. They appear below. Today’s question is:

Would you support rolling back the income tax cuts enacted by the legislature in recent years, including the exemptions on LLC income? Please be specific about the tax policy you favor?

Senate District 7
Megan England

Emily Louise Lodigensky M&E Photo Studio 2016Having served on the Roeland Park City Council from 2007-2015, my opponent and I have spent a similar time as elected leaders, but our track records of change are starkly different.

Over the past seven years, Topeka has gotten worse, not better. My opponent’s voting record on financial issues as a state legislator do not reflect financial savvy or someone ready to lead the cleanup effort. Not only did she avoid voting on the reckless and devastating 2012 income tax exemptions, but when offered a chance to overturn those cuts she voted to keep them in place. She takes credit for “passing an education plan that resolves the school finance lawsuit” and “implementing stricter debt controls and stronger oversight” in the state budget. In reality, the legislature sold off state property (an economic development tool) to pay for this school year and took out a record $900 million loan to pay the bills. Hocking property and taking out debt to pay bills is like using pawn shops and payday loans to solve problems.

As Chair of Finance for the City of Roeland Park during the depths of the Great Recession, I helped navigate the city into long term fiscal health using smart policy and public input. As a result, Roeland Park was just named #2 in the metro for millennials, #5 most successful city in the state, and property values jumped more than 11% from last year.

As your State Senator, not only will I be committed to overturning the legislature’s reckless 2012 LLC tax exemptions and the March to Zero, but I will bring solutions to help us return to prosperity. We must restore the top income tax bracket and reduce sales tax, not only on food but across the board to allow our businesses a more competitive edge than their counterparts across state line. We must reform our justice system to help inmates enter the work force rather than return to jail. We must recognize the marketplace realities and medical/taxpayer benefits of legalizing marijuana.

Current Kansas lawmakers need to be held accountable for allowing the destruction of Kansas happen on their watch. How long will we have to hear it’s all Brownback’s fault? We need champions of change, not victims of circumstance. I ask for your vote on or before Tuesday, Nov. 8th.

Senate District 10
Mary Pilcher-Cook

Mary Pilcher-CookIt is imperative that taxes for Kansas citizens are as fair as possible. Over the past 8 years, I have had the opportunity to serve the voters of the 10th Senate district and I have fought to lower taxes on small business, lower the growth of property taxes, exclude senior citizens’ social security payments from state income taxes and keep overall taxes lower for Kansans, especially those on fixed incomes who are being taxed out of their homes. I even went against party leaders when I voted against the sales tax increase.

Because small business is the backbone of our economy, which creates jobs and increases personal wealth for Kansans and their families, we need to ensure Kansas has a climate where small businesses can flourish.  Taxes and regulations weigh them down and in the end, it is the consumer who pays the taxes because of the higher costs to the business.

While there has been much criticism of the single-member LLC exemption, the data suggests a different result than the media narrative. The vast majority of businesses taking advantage of the exemption are truly small (Bill Self being an exception). 93 percent have a net income of less than $75,000 and there have been more than 20,000 new start-ups (with new tax IDs and names never before reporting), that has generated over $850 million in new taxable income.

We can still adequately fund education and other state services without tax increases. (Local school board members should be held accountable for giving such large salaries to administrators and not giving pay increases to teachers.) A recent audit of state operations found more than $2 billion in potential savings simply by changing the way government operates. With advancements in technology, there are always other alternatives. Kansas citizens are taxed enough already.