By Keith Lindgren
Special To The Free Press
For the last three years, ending with year 2000, Kansas taxpayers have been paying higher per capita state taxes than any surrounding Great Plains state. When measured against our neighbors, Kansas becomes the high tax point on the prairie according to the official U.S. government census web site.
STATE TAXES PER CAPITA
STATE 1998 1999 2000 3 YEAR AVG.
KANSAS $1,768 $1,729 $1,810 $1,769
IOWA $1,677 $1,697 $1,722 $1,698
OKLAHOMA $1,584 $1,613 $1,695 $1,630
NEBRASKA $1,583 $1,598 $1,711 $1,630
MISSOURI $1,511 $1,566 $1,532 $1,536
TEXAS $1,246 $1,280 $1,315 $1,280
SO DAKOTA $1,129 $1,184 $1,228 $1,180
Shown above is how badly Kansas compares.
These numbers are particularly significant since the federal data excludes the record setting increase in highway spending approved by the 1999 legislature and signed into law by Governor Graves. That spending program included raising the stateís gasoline tax by 22% with a four cent a gallon hike, now Graves wants even more gas taxes and another sales tax increase.. No wonder so many industries go to other states.
Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by various spending lobbies and our leaders in Topeka, including Governor Graves, Senator Lana Oleen and Rep. Kent Glasscock, Kansas state government is growing at an alarming rate that can not be continued. The states official tax receipts were at $4,409 billion, just for the general budget, 5% more than the $4,203 billion for the year before.
Donít pay any attention to those who say "huge" tax cuts in the past are the big "problem" now. The per capita tax reduction over the last five years was just $186 which was more than offset by gas tax increases and the legislatures lifting of the property tax lid that has allowed property taxes to continue to soar. Revenues continued to increase every year during that period. Too many in our state capital think a 5% increase still isnít enough. Until some major media starts letting the good citizens of Kansas know the truth the big spending will continue.
So why the big "shortfall" of over $426 million? Itís not under funding
by the hard pressed taxpayers trying to pay their own bills, but continued
overspending by the Graves Administration for the last several years. This
isnít the first "shortfall" we have heard about but just the last of many.
Kansas Taxpayers must follow this important legislative session now starting.
Elections are coming up.