A lie gets halfway worldwide before the reality has a possibility to get its trousers on.
That quote from Winston Churchill gets to the core of the one of the more major problems in Kansas today. Taxes, budget plans and student achievement are importantare essential problems however to a relatively wonderful level they are symptoms of even more insidious troubles. And that is one facet of what’s really the matter with Kansas: incorrect claims are made use of for political gain and prevent civil conversations of genuine troubles and options.
Many of these false claims might be exposed rather easily by media if they so desired, but lots of editorial boards, editors and even a reasonable variety of reporters these days don’t trouble; others just don’t want the realities to get in the method of what they want people to hear. (FYI, I have actually experienced this from the within; prior to signing up with KPI I invested twenty years handling television stations and dealt with a great deal of reporters and news directors.)
A good example is the bogus however frequently duplicated claim that earnings tax reform is the cause of home tax increases. KPI researchers initially analyzed this claim a number of years ago when it surfaced as an anticipated result of tax reform, as in ‘lowering state taxes will compel local taxes to increase.’ We collected per-capita taxes of the nine states that do not tax income and found that they really had lower state and local taxes per-capita than the states which tax income.
Last winter, regional media composed how terrible it was that 85 counties enhanced home taxes in 2013, again criticisming earnings tax reform. I called editorial authors at the Kansas City Star and the Hutchinson Information to ask if they would share their research and both confessed that they didn’t understand the source of the info! That would have produced a great “harrumph” from Sir Winston.
We lastly tracked the information to Senator Anthony Hensley. He was best about the variety of counties that increased taxes in 2013 but he overlooked to point out that 85 counties increasing property tax is about as remarkable as the wind blowing in Kansas. Undoubtedly, the average for the years 1998 with 2013 is 86 counties! I question how many lawmakers who are expressing (counterfeit) outrage over 2013 propertyreal estate tax increases did so in 2003, when 95 counties enhanced homereal estate tax … or 2005 when 92 counties had increases … and even 2006 when 95 counties enhanced homereal estate tax. Their outrage has nothing to do with propertyreal estate tax; it’s simply political posturing. And very darn hypocritical.
Earlier this year we welcomed all 105 counties to get involved in a survey so we might comprehend why they enhanced homereal estate tax in 2013. Just 7 reacted and none pointed out earnings tax reform as their factor. Exactly what about the other seventy-eight counties that enhanced taxes? Why would they not take the chance to blame tax reform? I wonder if it is since we asked them to document any such claim by referencing state budget cuts for regionalcity government; we likewise notified them that previous state budget director Steve Anderson was standing by to verify such claims.
The newestThe most recent effort to trick residents comes from retired Wichita State University professor Ed Flentje, whose claims were published last week in several Kansas papers. His standard property is “A” took place (local propertyreal estate tax enhanced) and “B” occurred (earnings tax reform), therefore “A” caused “B.” This is a traditional non-sequitur, which Merriam-Webster’s dictionary specifies as, “(1) an inference that does not follow from the premises; specifically: a fallacy resulting from a simple conversion of a universal affirmative recommendation or from the transposition of a condition and its following; (2): a statement (as a feedback) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly connected to anything previously said.”
I wrote to Mr. Flentje twice last week requesting his information and any documents to support his claim; both times he said we would supply the data but neglected my request for paperwork. So I wrote to him a 3rd time and stated that unless I heard otherwise I would report that he has no paperwork. I doing this now.
Now let’s look at how he misleads with information.
Flentje: “PropertyReal estate tax are on track to enhance by more than $400 million statewide throughout Gov. Sam Brownback’s term in office.”
Fact: Flentje acknowledges that he bases this on the reality that home taxes enhanced about $300 million over the last three years and he is presuming another $100 million increase. Let’s state he’s best. A $400 million boost would total up to 11 % over four years (all home taxes without charge per KDOR). By contrast, property taxes increased $767 million and 29 % throughout Gov. Sebelius’ first term. (FYI, inflation was pretty similar.) I wonder if Mr. Flentje, Senator Hensley and media freely slammed Gov. Sebelius for exactly what, by their reasoning, must have been far even worse policy?
The very first table nearby to this post reveals the actual boosts for school districts, counties and cities of the first course. The substance yearly growth rate (CAGR) for school districts under Gov. Sebelius was 6.0 % and inflation was 2.7 %. Given that 2010, the annual boost for school districts was 1.2 % … a complete portion point below inflation.
Under Sebelius, counties’ CAGR for taxes and inflation was 5.9 % and 2.7 %, respectively; under Brownback, 3.3 % and 2.2 %. Tax boosts for huge cities were likewise higher under Sebelius.
Does that in and of itself mean that Gov. Brownback’s policies are much better than Gov. Sebelius? Obviously not; I’m just showing the dreadful imperfections and hypocrisy of Flentje’s and others’ reasoning.
Flentje: PropertyReal estate tax boosts are disproportionally influencing rural counties (his meaning of rural is all counties other than Johnson, Sedgwick, Wyandotte, Shawnee and Douglas).
Reality: Historically, there commonly are swings in between the rate of boost for urban and rural counties. Right here we examined the individual information for counties and school districts. KSDE provided USD tax information for 2001 through 2013 and KDOR provided county-only taxes for 1997 with 2013. Districts in rural counties had higher boosts in two of the last 3 years but they likewise had higher boosts in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Tax increases for rural county governments did grow faster than urban counties over the last 3 years but once again, history reveals that to be rather common. In between 1997 and 2013, there were 8 years when rural counties had higher increases and 8 years when urban counties had greater boosts.
Is it possible that something else might be causing local home taxes to increase? Like mindful decisions to spend even more? USD tax boosts in rural counties were bigger than metropolitan counties in 2012 and 2013; rural districts increased spending per-pupil by 5.6 % those 2 years while spending in metropolitan districts’ spending enhanced simply 2.6 %. The more that government invests, the even more it will tax.
By the means, KSDE data reveals that per-pupil spending in rural districts was $13,153 in 2013; urban districts averaged $12,427.
Flentje: “State legislators have actually made the regional problem even worse by removing local income sources, besides the propertyreal estate tax.”
Fact: RegionalCity governments do have other earnings sources. Flentje could be describing the mortgage registration tax that is being phased out over the next 5 years, but that hasn’t even entered into result yet. Or maybe he is referring to the 2004 removal of state money provided to regional governments from the Regional Advertisement Valorem Tax Relief Fund (LAVTRF) and City-County Profits Sharing (CCRS). The concept behind LAVTRF in particular is that offering State General Fund money to regional government will certainly decrease local property taxes, however once again, the information reveals otherwise.
Click the second photo and you will certainly see that counties’ and big cities’ CAGR for tax boosts was 3 times the rate of inflation – 6.8 % vs. 2.2 % – over the last six years for which LAVTRF and CCRS were in place. If the logic holds, removing them would have given increase to even greater tax increases but that’s not exactly what took place. Over the next 6 years, the CAGR for county and big city tax boosts dropped to 4.7 % and 3.6 %, respectively, while inflation was 2.3 %. Cities and counties took that cash from the State General Fund and still raised taxes.
So what are some lawmakers requiring now? Taking cash from the State General Fund and providing it to cities and counties so they can act to be supporting property tax reform. Why do I say ‘act’? Because they are a few of the very same legislators who voted versus requiring local chosen officials to vote on the quantity of property tax increases (HB 2047) and fixing atrocities committed by the Court of Tax Appeals (HB 2643).
Word to the wise: constantly ask for full documentation and do your research so you can make fully-informed decisions.