State revenues fail to meet expectations again; clash over tax cuts continue

(KSNT Photo/Tracy Smith)

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The state’s March revenue numbers are in and once again they’re lower than expected.

The department of Revenue Reports overall revenues were $1.7 million under projections.

Revenues have come up short 12 of the last 13 months, and many lawmakers blame the streak of low revenue numbers on tax cuts enacted in 2012. Namely a tax exemption and loophole for small businesses owners.

However KSNT News spoke with one Topeka small business owner who believes the tax cuts are beneficial in more ways than one.

Jackson’s Greenhouse has been serving Topeka customers for more than half a century.

“We’re local growers and have been since the inception,” said owner Dave Jackson.

All the plants they sell are produced in house, “and the money goes, all the profits here go back into the local economy, not back to wherever the headquarters, Arkansas for Walmart for example,” said Jackson.

That’s a major reason why Jackson says he supports Governor Sam Brownback’s pro-growth tax plan.

“It’s allowed us to remain competitive with the box stores and those other kinds of things that you have to meet markets,” said Jackson.

Jackson tells KSNT a new 9,000 square foot expansion and brand new equipment was purchased with the tax money he saved

“All those kinds of things help us to be more efficient, allow us to grow our business, allows us to pay our employees a little bit more because it takes less time and they can be paid a little higher,” said Jackson.

“You know I think you’ll hear more of those same business people saying, yes I benefited from it but no I didn’t hire anybody, no I didn’t expand my business, I just got more money in my pocket,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, a Democrat from Topeka.

That and declining revenues are why Kelly believes the income taxes need to be reinstated, but Jackson sees things differently.

“As a former legislator I would say look at your expenditures because revenue from year to year is indeed growing, but not growing as fast as our ability to spend,” said Jackson.

“It’s clear that’s where the problem is, it’s clear that’s where the solution will be and at some point we’ll just have to bite the bullet and fix the problem,” said Kelly.

That’s the fundamental difference of opinion that exists among state leaders and continues causing controversy at the statehouse.

Several measures to repeal certain portions of the 2012 and 2013 tax cuts have been introduced in the Kansas Legislature, but none have advanced so far.

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