The following message is from Governor Laura Kelly regarding tax reform:

“Time and again over the last several years, Kansas has made impulsive, poorly reviewed, sweeping changes to tax policy. With the exception of the original Brownback tax experiment, all of these recent changes were enacted out of dire emergency. And, unlike other high priority issues that have been studied repeatedly over the last five years, a thorough review of Kansas’ tax code in the wake of the Brownback failure has never been done.

“In recent weeks, I asked my administration to begin outlining a plan to facilitate this process. Twenty-seven states have convened tax study commissions over the last decade. While each state approaches it differently, they all agree that lawmakers must exercise due diligence before overhauling their tax structures. Kansas should follow this example.

“Like any smart business, state government should consider fundamental questions before pursuing major tax changes, including: what kind of revenue stream is needed to provide services like healthcare, public education, and public safety – both now and into the future? What parts of our tax code are antiquated or unfair? What are the consequences – intended or unintended – of any proposed changes to the tax code?

“One of my top priorities for tax reform has always been to lower Kansas’ unacceptably high tax on food. I’d like to provide meaningful tax relief to those who need it most, and ultimately all Kansans. I’d like to restructure our tax code to be more sustainable over time, so that it can provide certainty to both businesses and families. We should take a balanced approach that goes hand in hand with rebuilding our state’s rainy day fund. This would position us to offer refunds to taxpayers in years of plenty, but cover deficits during economic downturns. And, I believe we are long overdue for a review of how we can ensure our tax code truly incentivizes economic growth.

“I welcome lawmakers’ ideas and involvement. Nonpartisan economists, tax policy experts, and business leaders should also be at the table. Above all, I believe this discussion should be guided by a thoughtful, data-driven, big-picture vision for Kansas – not by a hasty attempt to achieve an immediate political victory.

“Kansas lawmakers have invested a tremendous amount of time debating tax reform over the last five years. I agree that tax reform provides an opportunity to reshape Kansas for the better, and my job as governor is to make sure we get it right this time. I look forward to working collaboratively and thoughtfully with stakeholders to achieve that goal in the future.”