Hey, Kansans! Ready for a bunch of tax increases?

Starving the government beast, it turns out, isn’t so easy — now Kansas lawmakers are bellying up to a sumptuous buffet of tax hikes to fix a mess they’ve made.

Under consideration this week at the Kansas Statehouse is a measure to nix the homestead exemption for the state school mill levy on the first $20,000 of assessed valuation for Kansas homeowners. Such a move is an effective property-tax hike for Kansas homeowners.

Also in play is a measure to raise the state sales tax from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent. If enacted, it would be the second sales-tax increase during the Brownback administration.

The sales-tax rate was 6.3 percent when Brownback assumed office, but it was scheduled to drop back down to 5.7 percent by 2013 — a promise from when Kansas temporarily raised the sales tax during Gov. Mark Parkinson’s administration to cope with budget problems. But Brownback championed a measure to stall that sales-tax scale-back at 6.15 percent. When you stop a planned and promised tax decrease, that’s a tax increase.

Some lawmakers are also expressing doubt about continuing income-tax exemptions for limited liability corporations, a hallmark of Brownback’s 2012 tax cut. Brownback wants to slow down other planned tax cuts from the 2012 legislation.

Those proposals are in addition to previously reported ideas to increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol products, an idea that Brownback ran up the flagpole, but that caused House and Senate conservatives consternation. 

Tallied up, the various proposals are a kaleidoscope of tax increases to avoid tolling income. 

It’s also a tacit admission that government costs money to run and that budgets can’t be squared away by spending cuts alone.

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