By the numbers: Does the ‘march to zero’ make sense for our state?


We’ve been fed numbers from those supporting a “march to zero” on income tax, suggesting the move­ment is essential for Kansas’ economic growth. Here’s a host of facts for you to digest this week that seem to suggest otherwise. You can decide for yourself how Kansas compares with other states in a number of categories.

How does Kansas compare with the no-income-tax states in economic growth? Consider these areas (results are expressed in percentages unless otherwise noted):

• Change in real per-capita gross domestic product from 1997-2009:

Kansas, 18.8

Alaska, 5.4

Florida, 13.5

Nevada, 1.6

New Hampshire, 20.5

South Dakota, 47.6

Tennessee, 5.1

Texas, 12.6

Washington, 16.5

Wyoming, 52.2

• Residential real estate taxes per $1,000 of home value, compared to neighbors:

Texas, $18.08

Nebraska, $17.55

Kansas, $12.95

Missouri, $9.06

Oklahoma, $7.39

Colorado, $6.04

• Property taxes for 2011 as a percent of gross domestic product:

Colorado, 5.24

Missouri, 5.33

Nebraska, 5.02

Oklahoma, 5.87

Kansas, 6.21

Texas, 6.67

• Share of total state/local tax revenue percentage coming from property taxes in 2007:

Vermont, 42.1

New Jersey, 41.7

Texas, 41.6

Rhode Island, 41.1

Michigan, 39.3

Connecticut, 38.2

Illinois, 37.1

Florida, 36.8

Wyoming, 36.8

Kansas, 30.5

(In 2011, Kansas trended up to 32.38 percent)

• Projected state budget shortfall for fiscal year 2013:

Florida, 8.4

Kansas, 0

Nevada, 37

New Hampshire, 20

Texas, 20.4

Washington, 22.2

• Share of state budget coming from federal dollars (how dependent are states?):

Florida, 41.4

Tennessee, 38.0

Texas, 40.8

Kansas, 27.7

Washington, 23.6

• How Kansas compares with neighbors in 2011 property tax rankings (1=best, 50=worst):

Kansas, 41st

Colorado, 15th

Missouri, 11th

Nebraska, 24th

Oklahoma, 27th

Texas, 29th

• Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates, December 2011:

Kansas, 6.3

Alaska, 7.3

Florida, 9.9

Nevada, 12.6

New Hampshire, 5.1

South Dakota, 4.2

Tennessee, 8.7

Texas, 7.8

Washington, 8.5

Wyoming, 5.8

• Comparison in total business tax burden: 2011 corporate tax index rankings (50=worst)

Kansas, 35

Colorado, 12

Missouri, 5

Nebraska, 34

Oklahoma, 7

Texas, 46

*?*?*

The quick takeaways from all this?

(1) Eliminating state income tax is no guarantee of economic growth, full employment, balanced budget or stable revenue stream.

(2) States without income tax need/have other sources of income, and no-income-tax won’t relieve the property tax burden.

(3) Income tax is not the only tax businesses have to contend with.

(4) The next time someone tells you that Kansas needs to emulate Texas, tell them they’re nuts…. Or simply say, “No thanks.”

You may e-mail me at: Brookens70@sbcglobal.net or write me at either 201 Meadow Lane, Marion, KS 66861 or Kansas State Capitol Building, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612; Or call me at 620-382-2133 or 785-296-7636.

NOTE: The sources for the above statistics are: (1) “Dispelling the Myth,” by Tom Kruekem­neyer as part of The Missouri Budget Project; (2) Report from the National Association of Home Builders; (3) From usgovernmentrevenue.com/compare_state_ad_valorem_taxes; (4) The Tax Founda­tion; (5) Center for Budget and Policy Priorities report; (6) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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