• stan blowback

    Tax-cut legislation will be the end of Kansas as we know it

    It’s been called the “nuclear option.”

    Maybe that term’s not strong enough to describe the legislation just passed in Kansas.

    If the $3.7 billion tax-cut legislation is signed into law by the governor, it certainly — not almost certainly, but certainly — will destroy Kansas as we know it. And Johnson County will not be immune to the radioactivity of this blast. That massive tax cut will result in a $2 billion hole in the state budget over the next five years.

    I know. You’ve heard this all before. It was just a few weeks ago, I wrote about an impending bloodbath. But that was only a $1 billion hole in the budget. The latest legislation doubles that.

    Sam Brownback, our ever cheerful pro-growth governor, must know that these cuts go too far, even for him. He has as much said so. But that does not mean he will not sign them into law. He has rationalized that Kansas will create so many new jobs, and the economy will grow so much, that the tax cuts will pay for themselves, with no pain.

    How much growth do we need to pay for the astronomical cuts?

    The Kansas Economic Progress Council has done some quick math. They have calculated that Kansas would need to produce a half million new jobs over the next five years to generate enough income and sales tax to cover the $2 billion hole. Therefore, Kansas jobs would have to grow 50 percent over the next six years.

    The KEPC compared that to the most go-go state in America — Texas. Over the past decade, job growth there was up a total of nearly 15 percent.

    Even if you fanatically believe in supply-side economics — that cuts in taxes pay for themselves by the growth those cuts generate — the scope of impending cuts must at least cause one to take a deep breath.

    If we cannot grow our way out of the budget hole, guess what that leaves: Draconian cuts in expenses or new sources of revenue.

    This is where the nuclear explosion will be felt right here.

    Half the state’s budget goes to K-12 education. Unless the Legislature lifts the lid on local tax authority, which is highly unlikely, our schools are in for rough times, indeed. There is no way they can be immune to cuts of the magnitude required. But even if we were given total local authority to tax ourselves, we might have to tax ourselves massively to make up for anticipated shortfalls from the state

    Read more here: http://joco913.com/news/steve-rose-the-end-of-kansas-as-we-know-it/#storylink=cpy

  • stan blowback

    Comparing pensions

    A legislator retiring with an annualized pay of $85,820.52, and with 10 years’ service, would have an annual KPERS benefit of $15,018.60, for a monthly benefit of $1,251.55, according to KPERS. If the retiring legislator had 20 years’ service, the annual benefit would be $30,037.20, and monthly, $2,503.10.

    The News asked some KPERS retirees about their pension benefits. Their answers varied widely.

    A state employee who was a supervisor for juveniles on probation retired after 34 years with an annual benefit of about $25,000. A municipal wastewater treatment plant superintendent, with 24 years’ service, estimated the earned benefit at $2,300 to $2,400 monthly.

    A state social services worker in a supervisory role retired in 1995 after 15 years and draws a monthly KPERS benefit of $524. That is equal to the monthly benefit for a county-level commercial appraiser who retired at 65, vested at nine years with KPERS.