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taxes

A $21 million shortfall in September tax collections has renewed the debate on Gov. Sam Brownback’s economic policies heading into the last month of the 2014 campaign.

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There are two big issues in the race for Kansas governor this year: How to fund education and how to grow the economy.

Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback is standing firm on cutting taxes to boost the economy.

Brownback has cut income taxes for individuals and eliminated them for small businesses. He says this will spur business development and thus the economy will grow.

But House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Davis has a very different idea.

Davis says he will drive economic growth by spending more on education.

John Russell / Flickr-CC

Last week, Missouri voters solidly rejected Amendment 7, which would have increased the sales tax by three-quarters of a cent for 10 years to fund roads and bridges.

On Monday's Up to Date, we take a look at why voters reacted the way they did and what lawmakers might do to pay for those transportation items now.

Guest:

  • Rep. Dave Schatz, Chair of the Missouri House Transportation Committee

Theresa Thompson / Flickr-CC

On Thursday's Up to Date, guest host Brian Ellison covers primary ballot issues on both sides of the state line. In Kansas, KCUR has kept an eye on Milton Wolf and Sen. Pat Roberts as they battle to be the Republican nominee for the U.S.

Examining Tax Proposals In Missouri

Jul 28, 2014
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Election season has kicked off, and we’re gearing up to a flurry of primaries throughout the area. Today, we’re taking a look at the ballots in Kansas City, Mo., and the state of Missouri.

On Monday's Up to Date, we discuss the streetcar proposal that’s found its way into the voting booth. Voters will decide whether they want to expand the taxing district east and south, and as a result, expand the proposed streetcar lines.

Conservatives had two reasons for advocating deep cuts in state income tax rates, says one of the legislative leaders who championed them.

The first and most often touted by Gov. Sam Brownback was to lower taxes for business owners so that they could use the savings to create more jobs.

But a second and less talked about goal was to shrink state government by reducing tax collections and forcing legislators to cut spending, according to Senate President Susan Wagle.

The state of Kansas is loaning itself $675 million to ensure that it can pay its bills as it transitions from one budget year to the next.

That’s not unusual.

For the last 16 years, it has been standard practice for the State Finance Council to approve certificates of indebtedness, which transfer money from a fund used to collect fees and pay off bonds to the state’s general operating fund.

Kansas City, Mo., residents can expect to be asked to renew a sales tax in August. But meeting fire department needs may take more than that.

The quarter-cent sales tax created 14 years ago currently funds less than 14 percent of the fire department's $145 million budget. Personnel costs account for 90 percent of that budget.

City Finance Director Randall Landes says renewing the tax is essential, but even with the renewal the department won't be able to replace aging fire stations and equipment.

 

Unilever is adding 70 jobs and investing $99 million at its Independence food manufacturing plant.

About 190 employees currently work at the plant, which for years has made Wishbone salad dressing. The jobs are above average wage. the kind Independence Economic Development Council President Tom Lesnak says the city tries to attract. But those jobs have been in jeopardy for a couple of months now.

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to veto the proposed Missouri income tax cut later today.

On April 23, Up to Date's Steve Kraske spoke with Amy Blouin, Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project, who opposes the tax cut, and Patrick Ishmael, a policy analyst with the Show-Me Institute who supports the signing of the bill.

Tax cuts in Kansas have "landed with a thud," according to the co-author of a report that criticizes the state's actions for harming public services and sapping the state's long-term economic vitality. 

The report, which was released by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says massive tax cuts enacted by Kansas lawmakers in 2012 have left the state's schools, public health departments and other public services "stuck in the recession." 

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed tax cut that conformed to conditions laid out by Governor Jay Nixon was radically altered Monday in an effort to move the overall proposal forward.

courtesy flickr user AgriLife Today / Creative Commons

Tax season is upon us, so it's time to rummage through those shoe boxes of old receipts, dig up W-2 forms and file your 2013 return.

The Cash Money Crew is here to guide you through the process, including changes to be aware of and tips for a smoother tax return season in 2014. Later, we discuss the changing realities of retirement and how to prepare for it.

Guests:

The Kansas business lobby is armed with new data to convince this year’s legislature to press for lower taxes and other change. 

The basis is a Kansas Chamber of Commerce commissioned survey of 300 company owners.

The December 2013 questionnaire found 57 percent of those surveyed thought they paid too much in taxes. Thirty-six percent thought they paid about the right amount. 

The study found less interest than in the past in what plays into the economic border war with Missouri, the poaching of jobs back and forth across state line.

Legislation that would provide tax breaks for Boeing to build its 777X passenger jet in Missouri was passed Tuesday night by two legislative committees.

First, the Missouri Senate Committee on Economic Development passed their version of the bill, followed a few hours later by the House Economic Development Committee passing its version.  There are no major differences in the two – both would provide $150 million in incentives to Boeing to build the 777X at its campus near Lambert Airport. 

Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has called lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a special session in an attempt to win a contract from Boeing to build the 777X passenger jet.

Missouri's regular session for 2014 begins in just over a month, but in a press release Nixon says holding a special session is necessary because Boeing's deadline for proposals is Dec. 10.

KNAU

Why do governments rely on the sales tax for big projects, like the medical research proposal in Jackson County?

And how fat can the sales tax get before shoppers stop buying? 

In the second half of Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with two experts about sales taxes, what makes up the total sales tax you see on a receipt, and why governments have turned to sales taxes for raising funds when revenue is down.

Guests:

theocean/Flickr-CC

Jackson County voters head to the polls on November 5 to vote on a 1/2 cent sales tax increase to fund a translational medicine institute. 

In the first part of Tuesday's Up to Date, a proponent and opponent of the tax meet in our studios to debate the controversial proposal, including how county residents will actually benefit from the project.

Guests:

Overland Park Voters OK Sales Tax Extension

Oct 8, 2013

An initial vote count appears to show Overland Park, Kan. voters have approved extending a 1/8 cent sales tax for 10 years, financing street repair and construction.

Unofficial returns on the mail-in ballot show some 33,000 ballots cast with 72 percent approving it.   Nearly $70 million will have been collected when the current tax expires in 2014. 

“We keep this money all segregated to make sure we spend the entire amount  on specifically what we told them we would use it for," says Carl Gerlach, mayor of Overland Park.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Debate over Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax bill was fierce in the Missouri House and the governor prevailed. 

The Republican majority was unable to muster the votes to make the $700 million tax cut into law.

The measure would have cut business taxes in half. Personal taxes would have been cut disproportionately.

Clay County Democrat Jon Carpenter called it unfair.

The showdown between Missouri's Democratic Governor and the Republican-led General Assembly finally arrives this week, as lawmakers return to Jefferson City for their annual veto session.  Governor Jay Nixon struck down 29 bills this year, with most of the post-veto attention falling on two bills in particular, a controversial tax cut proposal and an even more controversial attempt to nullify federal gun control laws. 

Campaign to prevent House Bill 253 override attempt

Children's Mercy Hospital

On Wednesday, the Hall Family Foundation announced that it was pledging $75 million to Children's Mercy Hospital for build a translational medicine research building on Children's Mercy's campus on Hospital Hill.

The Chairman of Kansas City’s Regional Transit Alliance fears  a proposed medical research tax will divert funds and attention from improved rail transportation.   The stand does not extend to  active opposition  to the tax.

Kite Singleton of the Transit Alliance makes it clear he is not campaigning against the half cent medical research tax going on the Jackson County ballot in November.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Jackson County voters will decide a proposed half cent sales tax to benefit development of medical innovations and research at select area hospitals and medical schools. 

The county legislature has voted by a large margin to put the measure on the November 5 ballot.

Some legislators wanted changes if they were going to back the proposal, and they got it.

The alteration, passed by a vote of 7-2, now requires the county legislature appoint a member to a board overseeing finances. 

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A first public hearing before the Jackson County Legislature on a proposed sales tax for medical research drew no outright opposition.  

Legislators do have a hefty array of questions about costs and benefits.


If sent to and approved by Jackson County voters, the half cent sales tax is estimated to generate about $40 million a year for what has been termed "Translational Medical Research."

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Medical, business and educational leaders have spelled out what Jackson County residents would get if a tax issue is put on the November ballot and gains voter approval to enhance health research and medical care.

If the county legislature and voters approve, a half-cent sales tax would raise $40 million a year.

Funds would be divided between Children's Mercy and St. Luke’s Hospitals and UMKC. It’s designed to attract top medical researchers to translate new findings into treatment, diagnosis and prevention of diseases.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas is “open for business," according to the enthusiastic proclamation made by Gov. Sam Brownback Thursday morning as he signed a controversial tax bill in Overland Park, Kan.

The governor was referring to the impact of second year cuts in state income taxes that he and supporters claim will attract economic development to the state - enough economic development to offset expected budget shortfalls in coming years.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon has launched a major public effort to support his veto last week of a bill that would have cut Missouri's individual and corporate income taxes.

The Democratic Governor appeared before college and university officials Tuesday morning in Jefferson City, telling them that the GOP-backed proposal is the single greatest threat to public education he's seen in his career.

The chair of the Kansas House Tax Committee is responding to claims from Democrats about the tax plan passed by the Legislature last weekend. The Republican-dominated Legislature passed a bill that will cut income tax rates, but will also keep the sales tax elevated and reduce income tax deductions.

The Chair of the state Democratic Party, former revenue secretary Joan Wagnon, says legislators broke their promise to let a temporary sales tax expire, and put a bigger burden on working Kansans, amounting to a more than $750 million tax increase.

Kansas lawmakers this year spared early childhood programs from the budget axe, but advocates for those programs say children didn't fare well overall in the 2013 legislative session.

The top concern, according to April Holman of the non-profit Kansas Action for Children, is that lawmakers balanced the budget using more than $9 million that should have gone into an endowment for early childhood funding.

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