Kansas Sen. Tom Holland spoke to students and community members about Gov. Sam Brownback’s new tax plan – House Bill 2117 –Tuesday evening at the Emporia Public Library. Holland also spoke about the new tax plan earlier that afternoon to students in John Barnett’s political science class.
“I would like to thank (President Michael) Shonrock, professor Burnett and Tyler Curtis for having me here,” Holland said.
Barnett said he was excited to have Holland speak with political science students at Emporia State. Holland serves on the state senate assessment and taxation legislative committee.
“I’m presenting this from my perspective in state legislature,” Holland said. “This is not a partisan discussion and not a Democrats versus Republicans thing. I’m trying to raise people’s awareness because I would like for everyone to research this tax plan and history of taxes in our state to come to their own conclusions.”
Holland presented a historical perspective of the Kansas tax system, discussing “theory versus evidence,” before speaking about the potential ramifications of current Kansas budget. The presentation concluded with a question and answer session.
“The governor’s idea is supply side theory,” Holland said, “which is to get rid of income tax and regulation, and the job creators will take care of it.”
Holland said he does not support Brownback’s tax plan or supply-side economics. He said Brownback shows interest in moving Kansas into a no income tax state.
“The governor’s tax policy is going to drive how we spend our money for the next few years, possibly decades,” Holland said.
During his 2010 campaign speech, Brownback said Kansas has “got to look more like Texas and a lot less like California.”
“These no income tax states like Texas have the resources for income that Kansas simply does not have,” Holland said.
Holland said the tax plan “has huge ramifications for us.” He said both K-12 schools and employment in Kansas could be severely affected by the tax cuts.
“We will see property taxes go up and a lot of other taxes go up with it,” Holland said. “We will see a shifting of more of the tax burden. Our working citizens will have to pick up more of the load with this tax plan.”
But Holland said he does support Brownback’s focus on small businesses in Kansas.
“The big debate in Topeka is how we are going to grow our economy together,” Holland said. “We need to be investigating K-12 education and roads and construction projects.”
Holland said he encourages students to get involved by researching the issue and writing letters and emails to elected official, as well as talking to local school officials.