New Kansas tax laws hurt the poor

To the Sun:

Fellow Kansans, this is what I cannot understand, just what horrible thing did the students and wage earners in Kansas earning less than $250,000 a year do to our governor and elected state officials to deserve what is happening to us? I use that figure because it seems as if the wealthy are the only ones to truly benefit from this legislative session in Topeka.

According to research, an individual making $25,000 or less will save $46 on their taxes due to new laws passed this year, while someone making $250,000 will save $10,000 (according to the Legislature’s own studies). Does this seem fair to you? College students will be paying increased tuition to make up for the loss to higher level education. The sales tax, which hurts the lowest income individuals the most, will be raised instead of decreased as previously planned.

Our state is becoming so famous for “robbing the poor to pay the rich” that editorials are being written fast and furious and we are even the topic of political research in the Rolling Stone (which has done reputable political writing for more than 40 years). The title “Rogue State: How Far-Right Fanatics Hijacked Kansas” might turn some people off, but if you keep up with what is happening in our state capitol you know that some Republicans and Democrats are worried about the cuts to the Kansas Department of Corrections and whether or not Kansans will be kept safe from criminals. They also share concerns about what is happening to education, social services and the Kansas Department of Transportation.

At a time when students are encouraged to seek post-secondary education to become contributing members of society by working at higher-paying jobs, $66 million was cut from the higher education budget, meaning the great junior colleges and universities in Kansas have no choice but to increase tuition and decrease services. Students who are already saddled with debt that takes years to pay off will suffer even more.

There are so many issues to be discussed and so many things wrong with what happened in the 2013 Kansas legislative session it would take a novel. It is not surprising that when our governor showed up to introduce the recent Kansas City Symphony in the Flint Hills, he received a chilly reception — because — oh, yea — he also eliminated the Kansas Arts Commission.

In closing, this is our state, not Sam Brownback’s and not far-right fanatics who are hijacking our way of life. Get the facts, be informed and find out how his plan and the new laws hurt you or your family personally, and then get ready for 2014 because then it will be time to put an end to these harmful policies and make our great state one we can be proud of again. — Ruth Kindall, Parsons

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