Daily Archives: May 29, 2013

Melcher’s tax argument draws ridicule

During the Kansas Senate’s tax debate last week, Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood, offered the novel argument that with a proposal to cut the sales tax on food from 6.3 to 4.95 percent, “we are encouraging the behavior of purchasing food and discouraging the behavior of purchasing anything else,” also calling it “social engineering” that could increase obesity in the state. That drew the notice of the Huffington Post: “Sure, there can be little doubt that an almost imperceptible decrease in the sales tax on groceries is bound to cause ordinary people to just straight-up spend all their disposable income on foodstuffs, to the detriment of all other industries.” The Wonkette blog exclaimed: “Look, Ma, we found a Republican what does not want to cut taxes!” Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, told the Huffington Post, “I have no words.” Kansas City Star columnist Steve Kraske concluded: “Melcher won’t be living down that one for awhile.”

House freshmen aren’t taking blame for long session

Kansas House members are understandably irritated by the condescending attitude of some Senate leaders. The last straw was when Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce (in photo), R-Hutchinson, blamed the long session in part on the House freshmen having difficulty grasping the major changes proposed for state policy, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Bruce said that most of the freshmen “spent half the session trying to find where the bathrooms are.” Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, responded that House freshmen “are more than capable of understanding state tax policy” and “will not assume blame for the current state of affairs.” Finch also noted: “We were not in the building last year when the tax plan was passed without the ‘pay fors’ that are now so hard to find. It was not us who promised the public a temporary sales tax that we are now told needs to be made permanent to the vexation of many citizens and legislators.”