Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Legislator touts measure in what he calls ‘difficult year’

March 12, 2008

Tax policy is one of the more important - and controversial - issues the Kansas Legislature wrestles with yearly. The challenging objective is to balance ongoing economic competitiveness with fairness.

A central component of this challenge involves business versus individual taxation. Because governing bodies are always strapped with limited resources, policy makers must make tough choices about how to make progress in a given year.

I believe having more high quality jobs, with a growing state economy and increasing personal incomes is the best first step. That view explains my support for the corporate tax package recently advanced by the Kansas House of Representatives standing committee on Taxation (HB 2762).

The package raises new revenue from out-of-state businesses and redeploys revenue back into the Kansas business community; it remedies a current discrepancy in the tax treatment of in-state versus out-of-state companies. The legislation also reduces corporate income tax rates, improves the state's main investment tax credit program, and reduces the sales tax on research and development and deployment of telecommunications equipment.

The House Tax Committee is committed to sustaining the positive growth trends in personal income that Kansans have experienced over the past few years. From 1990 through 2005, Kansas income growth lagged the nation and each of our neighboring states. But Kansas pulled ahead over the past two years.

The marketplace - fueled by Kansas workers - deserves most of the credit for this progress. Assisting in this economic growth, however, has been the progressive tax policy passed by the Kansas Legislature the last few years. A concerted effort has been made to make Kansas a more attractive place to invest capital. Money can flow to any place in the world. Continuing to grow the skills of the Kansas workforce and improve the long-term return on investment in Kansas is among the best decisions policy makers can make for every Kansan.

Strong economic growth also allows us to make progress on other tax policy priorities. The House Tax Committee wants to address a number of issues that concern taxpayers, such as lowering individual tax rates and providing stability to every-increasing property tax bills.

If Kansans can continue to make strategic long-term investments in the Kansas economy and maintain our momentum, we can make progress on other important issues. I believe the contents of this year's corporate tax package is a modest step in the right direction - one that we can achieve in this difficult year.

- State Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, is chairman of the House Tax Committee.

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