On June 24, The Ottawa Herald published a letter from Melika Willoughby, Gov. Sam Brownback’s communications director, warning Kansans that smaller paychecks were looming. I’m not going to dispute that claim, but I am going to opine that Willoughby was certainly being disingenuous while purposefully misleading the fine people of Kansas.
Prior to Brownback’s disastrous fiscal policy implemented in 2012 — you know, back when our state budget was in the black — the state had three tax brackets: 3.25 percent for singles up to $15,000; 6.25 percent for singles from $15,000 to $30,000; and 6.45 percent for singles more than $30,000. Brownback collapsed the three tiers to two with 2.7 percent for singles up to $15,000 and 4.6 percent for singles more than $15,000.
We won’t even discuss Brownback’s other disastrous efforts dealing with LLC’s and sole proprietorships etc. No, we’ll just address the individual tax rates. Our “new” tax rates for 2018 are: 3.1 percent for singles up to $15,000; $465 plus 5.25 percent for every dollar between $15,000 and $30,000; and $1252 plus 5.7 percent for every dollar more than $30,000. Taken as a whole, the new tax plan is still significantly less than the pre-2012 rates.
Willoughby asserts that this is the largest hike ever, and I suppose you could look at it that way if you neglected to factor in the previous cuts made by Brownback. What this really reminds me of is a less than honorable retailer grossly inflating his prices — then slashing them, but still leaving them above the pre-inflation level and proclaiming it as the biggest sale ever.
It would have been glorious if Brownback’s pie-in-the-sky plan had delivered on his promises, but it didn’t. It was an unmitigated disaster and we all now must pay the price for that boondoggle if we wish to have a functioning state. But rest easy, Kansans, you’ve already paid taxes that were higher than what is coming and you survived.
— Darren Underwood, Ottawa