TOPEKA – The Kansas Center for Economic Growth released a new report Sept. 27 which highlights the damage done to local Kansas communities following the 2012 tax cuts. Although Kansas reversed course by passing comprehensive tax legislation with Senate Bill 30, local communities suffered substantial damage as a result of the 2012 tax cuts.
Public safety, health departments, libraries, education and other community-based services were weakened by the decrease in state aid to local Kansas communities, according to the new report "Aid to Locals Report 2017 Update: Disinvestment in Kansas Communities Leaves a Mark."
Between 2009 and 2016, total aid to localities was reduced by 14 percent. Because of the decrease in funding due to the tax cuts:
1. Local units of government have raised property taxes to fund services, but cuts in aid to local communities were over 4.5 times more than the corresponding increases in property taxes.
2. Over 43 percent of counties have shifted to non-tax revenue as a share of local health spending.
3. Community Mental Health Centers funding from the local level is down over $3 million, and nearly two-thirds of counties have reduced their investments.
"This analysis should serve as a wake-up call to state lawmakers that communities across the Kansas need a renewed commitment from them to repair the damage caused by failed tax policy," Heidi Holliday, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, said.
Policy recommendations outlined in the report include continuing to strengthen the Kansas tax code by reforming the state's sales tax and property tax, restoring local demand transfers and revenue sharing and expanding KanCare to allow more Kansans to access quality health care.