Congress’ attempt at so-called tax reform would do more harm than good.
Economists on both ends of the political spectrum agreed in reporting undeniable benefits for the wealthy at the expense of the middle- and working class.
Tax bills passed in both chambers were endorsed by Kansas' Republican contingent, which once again kowtowed to the billionaire Koch brothers and other ultra-rich Americans, regardless of the cost to ordinary citizens.
Various Koch-supported political pursuits set out to shrink government and improve major corporations’ bottom lines. Related efforts included Kansas’ botched income tax-cut experiment that drove huge budget shortfalls.
Now Congress is steaming toward the same “trickle-down” approach in massive corporate tax cuts that supposedly would spur job growth. It won’t work, of course, but will strip federal funding from Medicare, Medicaid and other vital programs.
Bills in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House also took aim at public education.
For one, a significant reduction in state and local tax deductions would hurt K-12 public schools that depend on local and state support, as they’d have a tougher time raising new funds if district patrons could no longer deduct those taxes from their federal returns.
But the two bills would give tax incentives to parents with children in private schools or home schooled.
In the House, the run on public education even would target research capability at colleges and universities by taxing tuition waivers awarded to graduate students in return for work, research or teaching.
Such a tax would jeopardize many students’ ability to attend grad school, and in turn damage the nation’s position as a global competitor in cutting-edge research and innovation.
Kansas saw similarly blatant attempts to undermine public education soon after Gov. Sam Brownback took office. Kansans who instead demanded sensible investment in public schools recently rejected numerous Brownback allies at the ballot box.
As for the mess in Congress, it's now up to a conference committee to reconcile differences in the two bills and create a final piece of legislation.
Members of Kansas’ congressional delegation who care about their entire constituency should reconsider support of a damaging anti-public education agenda that’s not sitting well with the folks back home.