A GOP member of Kansas’ congressional delegation called out a fellow Republican from the Kansas Legislature on Twitter Wednesday morning over the debate to cut federal taxes.
The account for U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who serves Kansas’ 2nd District, went on a tweet storm Wednesday morning to criticize a story in The Atlantic headlined “You Better Learn Our Lesson: Kansas Republicans say they are worried that Congress and the Trump administration will repeat the mistake they made in enacting budget-busting tax cuts.”
The Trump tax plan has drawn comparisons to the Kansas cuts, which the GOP-dominated state Legislature rolled back in June.
The Trump tax cut framework, released late last month, would trim seven tax brackets for individuals into three brackets of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. It also would double the standard deduction, according to an earlier framework released by Jenkins office.
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In 2012, Brownback signed legislation that trimmed individual income tax rates, threw out an income tax bracket and created an income tax exemption for the owners of limited liability companies and other pass-through businesses.
The Kansas Legislature overrode a Brownback veto earlier this year to raise taxes and repeal much of the Republican governor’s signature policy, including raising individual income tax rates and ending the pass-through exemption.
A prominent critic of the Kansas tax cuts was Rep. Stephanie Clayton, a moderate Republican from Overland Park.
Clayton, who was quoted in The Atlantic story, expressed amazement to The Star recently that the state’s entirely Republican congressional delegation appears largely supportive of the Trump tax proposal.
“They seem to be saying this is different and everything is fine. I guess, bless their hearts, they’ve just spent too much time back east,” she said. “… Their own electorate has been against these tax cuts.”
From the Atlantic story: Clayton “alleged that Kansas’s representatives and senators in Washington had shown no interest in learning about the state’s experience and were simply following the orders of the Koch brothers, the powerful GOP donors headquartered in the state. ‘They don’t think anything’s wrong with it, but then again, none of them actually live in Kansas anymore, so what do they know?’ ”
Jenkins was quick to respond on Twitter to the Atlantic story, writing, “This article is comparing apples to oranges. ... Federal and State tax reform are not the same.”
“Also, @SSCJoCoKs (Clayton’s Twitter), I live in Topeka. Home every week. I’ve had extensive conversations with relevant legislators on state tax policy,” she tweeted.
“You serve on the federal and state affairs committee, but have never bothered to reach out on this. Our door is always open!” Jenkins tweeted.
In a statement released with the framework late last month, Jenkins said the proposal was an important step to “reform our broken tax code.”
“While some may try to compare this tax reform framework to what was tried in Kansas, the truth is these two reforms could not be more different,” Jenkins said in the statement. “Under our framework, everyone pays a lower rate. In terms of pass-through businesses, Congress will lower the rate to 25%, not 0%. Our approach will actually lessen the tax avoidance and simultaneously bring American companies firmly in line with our global competitors.”
Jenkins announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election in 2018.
Reached by phone Wednesday morning, Clayton said, “I am awfully busy working with other legislators on solutions to Kansas problems and do not have the time to comment on this story.”
The Star’s Bryan Lowry contributed to this report.