Right now in Topeka, they are dealing with the huge gap, between resources available and budget needs, primarily through cuts. At some point, reality in the larger picture is going to become clearer. What that means is: we are either going to be discussing revenue enhancements (so far most of these, such as increased taxes on liquor and cigarettes, have been rejected), reversing the income tax cuts for the LLC folks, or making truly devastating cuts to public education—which makes up more than 50% of the budget. Whether that be elementary through secondary or higher education, these cuts would be disastrous for our future.
The only realistic solution is a bigger pot of revenue, which means raising taxes. But keep in mind: this doesn't always mean more taxes but rather smarter taxation. When the cuts were made to income taxes, eliminating them for LLCs (Limited Liability Corporations), the effect was similar to sawing off one leg of a three-legged stool; it threw off the balance of other taxes and fees that make up the overall budget. This puts pressure on things like property taxes, state and local sales taxes, and tuition at public institutions to all be increased, and unfortunately, it leads to declining services in terms of both quality and delivery—which, in reality, is also a cost.
The ultimate goal should be a fair mix of taxes, coupled with fiscal responsibility. It’s not just about the either/or of raising taxes or cutting budgets but finding a balance that best serves our people, such as putting the income tax leg back on the stool.