Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kansas revenue department refuses request for information about tax reform group

December 1, 2011

In response to a request for tax policy records, Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration said even if it has the records, it doesn’t have to release them.

On Oct. 11, the Lawrence Journal-World made a request under the Kansas Open Records Act for access to or copies of minutes, agendas and policy papers of a group that has been working in private to prepare a tax policy recommendation for Brownback.

Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan is heading the effort to give recommendations to Brownback. When given the newspaper’s request, the Revenue Department said it would need some time to respond to the “extensive nature of your request,” but promised to respond by Nov. 30.

A Nov. 29 letter from Jeannine Koranda, public information officer with the Revenue Department, said no records would be forthcoming.

“To the extent that we have any records called for by your request, they are exempt from disclosure pursuant to K.S.A. 45-221(a)(2), (20),” the letter stated.

That part of the Kansas Open Records law provides an exemption to the law that includes, “Notes, preliminary drafts, research data in the process of analysis, unfunded grant proposals, memoranda, recommendations or other records in which opinions are expressed or policies or actions are proposed, except that this exemption shall not apply when such records are publicly cited or identified in an open meeting or in an agenda of an open meeting.”

Brownback’s stated intention to overhaul the state tax code has generated a lot of interest and speculation. In past statements, Brownback has said he wants to reduce or eliminate the state income tax as a way to grow the economy. This idea has prompted concerns from some about how the state would fund education, social services and public safety.

Jordan has talked about a task force working on the tax proposal, but has provided few details. Earlier this year, it appeared the plan would be unveiled before the end of the year.

But now the governor’s office has said Brownback’s proposal probably won’t be outlined until his State of the State address to the Legislature, which is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Koranda has said senior Revenue Department staff members Richard Cram, head of policy and research, and Steve Stotts, director of taxation, have been consulted on the proposal. She said Republican leaders of the House and Senate tax committees had been consulted.

But she has declined to name any business people who are working with the task force.

The only person outside state government who has been named to the task force working on a recommendation for Brownback is Arthur Laffer, who had served as a key economic adviser to President Reagan. Laffer espouses cutting taxes for corporations and top-income earners as a way to grow the economy through increased jobs.

Laffer, who is being paid $75,000 as a consultant on the Kansas tax proposal, helped write the latest edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” for the American Legislative Exchange Council. Brownback wrote the forward to the ALEC report.

Comments

Old_Vet 2 years, 7 months ago

If only the Journal World had put this much effort into exposing the real corruption of the last Governor. Here we have a public official in Governor Brownback who kept his word to run for only two terms in the senate. Now he wants to limit the scope of state government in our lives and Scott Rothschild wants to stir it up when he has complied with the law. I remember some of our other Governors you could trust and those you couldn't, Brownback is a man of his word. Governor's Avery, Anderson and Bennett were honest, good men. The worst, Sebilius and Docking, if it came out of their mouths it was probably not accurate and they'd do the opposite. Scott, if you want a story, dig into why records associated with an ongoing investigation were destroyed by Steve Six, follow the money!

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Enigma 2 years, 7 months ago

Old_vet while I respect your opinion, it is clear that it is completely biased. While I do believe that past Governors both Republican and Democrat have been corrupt, it is no secret that Brownback is not this boyscout that you speak of. Honestly this is why the United States Government can not function right now, because people are too entrenched with their thinking and not using reason to solve problems. Don't be part of the problem....be part of the solution.

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Old_Vet 2 years, 7 months ago

Enigma, I respect that you have a right to express your opinion, however I do not respect your opinion. It is an ignorant opinion, not thought out, and incorrect on many levels. Had our founding fathers shared your reasoning skills we would still be a part of Great Britian and probably no better off than the continent of Africa. When you gain more in life experiences I hope you see the value of strong beliefs, moral absolutes, and a requirement to stand firm against evil. The United States Government is functioning, it is providing the citizenry security, safety and everything it was initially designed to provide.

Governor Brownback is doing a very good job of returning Kansas to a prominent position in America. We are in the top ten best run states in the USA. We are in the top states now for being business friendly. Our debt to citizen ratio is very good, in the top ten. I would say that in two years he has corrected the direction of our state and put it on a sound path. Now if you have some objective data to show otherwise please share it with us.

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Michael Vestal 2 years, 7 months ago

Old_Vet, I have to agree with you, Governor Brownback has kept his promise and anytime you have someone trying to keep government smaller is okay in my book!! Thanks Old_Vet for your Highly thought out ideas.

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