Several media reports have recently mentioned that some legislators and Governor Brownback are considering a sales tax increase next year as part of a long term plan to eventually eliminate the income tax. Eliminating the income tax is a worthy long term goal, but the immediate issue is implementing the tax reform already passed by making all aspects of government operate more efficiently. Reducing the cost of existing services, including public education, can be accomplished without impacting outcomes but it's hard work. It requires fortitude and political will to resist the pushback from state agencies and special interest groups.
Eliminating the income tax may require a slightly higher sales tax but the necessary rate cannot be established until government is first made to operate as efficiently as possible.
Kansas is by far the big spender in the region, with 2012 budgeted spending of $2,124 per resident compared to $1,579 for the states of Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. In fact, Kansas could reduce spending by $186 per resident to fully implement existing tax reform and STILL be the higher spender in the region.
Low taxes are the secret to strong economic growth and job creation, and efficient spending is the secret to having low taxes. Every state has essentially the same basket of services but some find ways to provide those services at a better price. Spending less is NOT about eliminating services, it's about providing them at a better price.
Increasing the sales tax in 2013 might appease special interest groups that resist having government operate efficiently, but taxpayers deserve better.