The Buzz

TheChat: Argument against tax loophole in Kansas falls flat


Good morning.

▪ “You do the math. By the end of 2016 we will have invested almost a billion dollars into this economic incentive program to grow, maybe, 35,000 jobs.” — Kansas state Rep. Mark Hutton, a Wichita Republican, explaining why he wanted to repeal a key provision of Gov. Sam Brownback’s 2012 tax policy.

But the vote, one of the most significant of the 2016 session, failed on a 45-74 vote. A group of conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans and Democrats voted to uphold the provision.

▪ “I’m not a hero. I don’t put myself in that category. I did what I think was best at this time. Time will tell.” — Missouri state Rep. Jim Hansen, a Frankford Republican, on his vote against SJR 39, the “religious shield” proposal.

Hansen cast one of the deciding votes in committee that resulted in the proposal’s defeat. He said he’s been labeled a hero — and a traitor. Political consequences? Not concerned, he said.

▪ “It is the largest poverty reduction program in the U.S.” — a new report on poverty in Missouri referring to the federal earned income tax credit.

The report cited a variety of factors that keep people in poverty. But the EITC is a force in the opposing direction. The report said the average credit is $2,324.

▪  “This is public education on the issue of ethics.” — Tyler Montague of Mesa, Arizona, on the efforts of his organization, the non-profit Public Integrity Alliance, that is running ads targeting Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a candidate for attorney general, for alleged ethical violations.

The ads target Schaefer’s efforts to undermine his rival for the GOP nomination and the loose ethical culture in the state Capitol. Schaefer denies any wrongdoing. But this is a surprisingly early ad buy, and it suggests that anti-Schaefer forces are out there and willing to spend a lot to defeat him.