Kansas lawmakers ended their legislative session last week by raising taxes on the state’s poorest citizens so it could maintain a series of tax breaks for the wealthy.
The poorest citizens of Kansas must now pay a larger percentage of their income to the government in the form of taxes than their wealthy counterparts. The poorest fifth pay 16.8 percent while the wealthiest pay 2.4 percent.
Meg Wiehe from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy told the Washington Post that only the rich have incomes that are growing.
“Kansas has really shifted the responsibility for paying for taxes from those at the top with the most income, where income is growing, to those at the very bottom of the income spectrum, where incomes are stagnant or even declining.”
Many of the new Kansas taxes come in the form of regressive cigarette and sales taxes. Economists consider these to be regressive taxes because they fall more heavily on the poor than on the rich.
Every shopper will have to pay the increased sales tax, but poor customers will have to make their income stretch further while the increase will barely affect the rich.
Kansas has been gambling on Reagan-era trickle down economics. The idea was that if the wealthiest taxpayers had their taxes cut, they would reinvest that money into the economy, which would then benefit everyone.
Just like in Reagan’s time, it didn’t work.
Not only did the Kansas economy not grow, but the state faced such a decline in revenue that it was forced to close some public schools early this year, according to the Inquisitr.
Kansas has spent so little money on its public school system that last year the Supreme Court ruled the spending amounts violated adequacy requirements.
Last week Kansas lawmakers were forced to dig themselves out of the hole in order to balance their state’s budget.
But watch out, even though Kansas is asking its poorest citizens to foot the state budget bill, it doesn’t want them developing an ego. The state banned welfare recipients from using their benefits to go swimming or watch movies, according to Raw Story.
Don’t worry, Kansas citizens who are rich enough to afford the sales tax hikes will also benefit the most from Friday’s tax breaks for the wealthy.
The wealthiest citizens will get about $20,000 back from the Kansas government, according to Think Progress.
Anyone want to move to Kansas?
Photo Illustration by Alex Wong/Getty Images