I don't know how to respond to this. -ed
Leaving Kansas? Sam Brownback thinks income taxes are the reason why
Posted by David Martin on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 8:15 AMWhen Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback thinks of a typical Kansan, he imagines somebody like Tiger Woods. Woods, a California kid, moved to Florida when he turned professional. Why would he leave one warm-weather state for another? Florida has no state income tax. Brownback seems to think regular people act like money-worshipping superstar athletes. The governor is of the mind that Kansas will be a bright prairie flower on the withering Plains if it lowers income taxes. “You’re going to see the middle of the country — our area will be the one that will grow,” he said last week at an annual dinner of the Kansas Policy Institute, a free-market think tank, according to The Wichita Eagle.
The notion that tax burdens have a big influence on migration patterns is far from settled, however. One study, for instance, looked at New Jersey after the state introduced a “millionaire tax” in 2004. The study, written by Cristobal Young of Stanford University and Charles Varner of Princeton University, found that tax had “minimal effect.”
The New Jersey study squared with other studies that indicate tax increases don’t cause people to put “for sale” signs in their yards. In an e-mail, Young says he hasn’t looked at tax decreases, which is what Brownback is contemplating. “But I can’t think of a compelling reason why people would be sensitive to a tax decrease when they are not sensitive to a tax increase,” he writes.
Still, don’t go waving your fancy university studies around the Brownback administration.
“Be careful when these theoretical guys, who haven’t been in the real world, start splitting hairs based on statistical databases,” cautions Steve Anderson, the governor’s budget director.
Anderson is a certified public accountant from Edmond, Oklahoma. Before he joined the administration, he worked as a consultant for Americans for Prosperity, a group bankrolled by the super-rich and ultraconservative Koch brothers. In 2009, he worked on a “model budget” for Kansas that, among other things, recommended higher tuition at public universities. “There is no reason to tax the majority in the state who do not have children attending a state institution in order to subsidize those who do, especially when there is evidence it is the more affluent citizens who are more likely to have children enrolled in higher education,” the document said.
To Anderson, the evidence is clear. Florida, Texas and other states that don’t tax income are growing. Therefore, tax cuts lead to growth. “What I have seen is that income taxes change behavior,” he tells The Pitch. “It’s just as clear as the nose on your face.”
Anderson likes things that are plain as noses. Because he doesn’t fully trust those college professors with their tweed jackets and standard deviations.
“There really is no punishment for them if they put something out that doesn’t really have any validity,” Anderson says.
He's a real-world guy. “My clients don’t pay me to take wild guesses," he says. "Which is why I’ve always thought that college professors that have never practiced should get out and practice awhile. They might be surprised what they’d learn in reality. Things are much different when you get off the college campus.”