While it’s true on paper that all rates would go down under Brownback’s proposed tax overhaul, it’s certainly not true that all Kansans would be paying lower taxes. Because Brownback’s plan eliminates a variety of credits and deductions upon which lower and middle income taxpayers depend, it would actually increase taxes on low- and middle-income families, while still cutting them for Kansas’ richest one percent. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Police, under the plan:
— The poorest 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 2.2 percent more of their income in taxes each year, or an average increase of $242.
— The middle 20 percent of Kansas taxpayers would pay 0.3 percent more of their income in taxes each year, or an average increase of $146.
— Upper-income families, by contrast, reap the greatest benefit with the richest one percent of Kansans, those with an average income of over a million dollars, saving an average of $16,933 a year.
As ITEP put it, “Governor Brownback’s tax reform proposal would actually make the Kansas tax structure more unfair and ensure that low and middle income families pay more, while dramatically decreasing state taxes owed by the wealthiest Kansans.”
Kansas’ own Department of Treasury came to the same conclusions, finding that low-income Kansans would see their taxes go up under the plan, sending Brownback’s administration into damage control. And so far, state lawmakers aren’t lining up to lend the plan their support.
“It’s been Robin Hood in reverse,” said state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley (D). “What we are doing is stealing from the poor to give to the rich.” “It’s a significant problem in the eyes of many legislators because it appears to be increasing taxes for the poor and decreasing taxes for the rich,” added state Sen. John Vratil (R).