A Friday bill dump in Kansas. The 2013 Fair Tax Act (PDF link) for the state of Kansas has been submitted to the Committee on Taxation, and it looks like they're coming for our silverware. The highlights:
-Ends the sales tax and income taxes.
The bill claims that this will reduce the burden on employers, but our system (like other state income taxes I've paid) just piggybacks off of the federal income tax system and adds a negligible degree of complexity. I suppose this is a valid point if you assume that the most common tool used in Kansas payroll departments is an abacus, but we do have computers here. Perhaps it's a prereq bill for something they have in mind for later.
-Imposes a 6.3% "consumption" tax.
Okay, first off, if I'm paying a 6.3% consumption tax, and the purpose of the tax is to reduce the unnecessary burden on "job creators," I have to assume then that I'm being asked to save all my receipts for things the consumption tax would cover?
Answer: No, the bill directs businesses to collect the tax. The mechanism by which this is less complicated than adding an incredibly simple state income tax onto the federal tax that employers still have to do is a mystery.
-Changes what items are exempt from taxes
When people come here from other states, they're always surprised that we charge sales tax on groceries. The consumption tax would not change that.
It would not apply to the purchase of real estate, or airplanes, anything with an excise tax on it (except liquor and cigarettes), or machinery, or anything involved with making natural gas pipelines, or car sales to out-of-state purchasers, farms, or any equipment required by a business.
Kansas already has a long-term deficit problem due to the horrible budget passed last year. The deficit for 2013 was projected to be $327 million before a court ruled that our education funding was $400 million shy of what the state Constitution required.
So our state tax system, already one of the most regressive in the nation, is going into full-on punish the poor mode. It's apparent that the Kansas legislature is playing the part of a particularly sadistic SimCity mayor. One wonders what actions they're taking to loose Godzilla onto Johnson County.