Kansas Policy Institute Logo
February 8, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: James Franko
New Survey: Kansans Want Budget Solved Without Income Tax Hikes
Claims of mandate for higher taxes & spending run afoul of voters who demand 
low taxes & efficient government
February 8 - Wichita -  The 2016 elections brought many new voices to the Legislature but a new poll says Kansans commitment to low taxes and efficient government spending remains. Kansas Policy Institute released a poll today from SurveyUSA that takes the pulse of 501 registered Kansas voters as the 2017 legislative session truly starts to weigh the major issues facing the state. This is the ninth poll conducted by SurveyUSA for KPI since 2012; SurveyUSA was the only firm that received an "A" from political number-crunching site FiveThirtyEight for their work through the teeth of the 2016 election season.

"Once again, scientific public opinion surveys show that special interests pushing for enormous, record-setting tax increases are completely out of step with the general public. Kansans expect government and school districts to make efficient use of their tax dollars. They don't want their income taxes or gasoline taxes increased. The question is whether legislators will listen to citizens or special interests that want higher taxes for more spending," said Dave Trabert, president of Kansas Policy Institute

This week is seeing lots of debate about tax policy in Topeka but increasing income taxes on businesses or citizens in only favored by 21% of respondents. Whereas, 38% want to reduce the cost of government to address budget shortfalls and 25% want to increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco. This refrain was similar to responses to a question about the budget shortfall in the current fiscal year with 38% wanting to use unused funds within government agencies, 17% wanting to reduce K-12 and other government spending, and only 17% wanting to increase income taxes.

Read the full poll results, crosstabs, and methodology here.

Respondents also sent a clear message in opposition to raising gas taxes (59% to 20%) and that they want a new school funding formula this year (59%). They also agree that a school funding formula should require the efficient use of taxpayer money (84%) and that is should reward better performance and hold districts accountable for student outcomes (69%).

James Franko, KPI's vice president and policy director, offered the following after seeing the results, "Kansans may be a stubborn lot but that extends to a firm belief that government should live with its means. It isn't a political revelation to understand that Kansans want politicians in Topeka to leave more money with their constituents and prepare the state budget just like Kansas families do every day."

Kansans also overwhelming oppose government attempts to restrict their freedom. Cities and counties are asking legislators to strip citizens of their right to vote on property tax increases and school district lobbyists want to shut down Kansas' only real school choice program. SurveyUSA found that 63% of those polled want their right to vote on property taxes unchanged and that, by a 20 point margin, a majority want to protect the tax credit scholarship program for low income students.

Trabert responded to these points by saying, "This is another strong reminder for government: local control is about citizens, not government."

Trabert concluded, "There are certainly a number of issues to be resolved, particularly in terms of delivering quality services; but the solution can't lead to the creation of new problems with higher taxes and job loss. Efficient, effective use of citizens' money is the key to having good services and lower taxes. In 2015, the states that tax income spent 42% more per-resident than the states without an income tax; Kansas spent 27% more per-resident."

# # #
Kansas Policy Institute is an independent think-tank that advocates for free market solutions and the protection of personal freedom for all Kansans.  Our work centers on state and local economic policy with primary emphasis on education, fiscal policy and health care.  We empower citizens, legislators and other government officials with objective research and creative ideas to promote a low-tax, pro-growth environment that preserves the ability of governments to provide high quality services. 
To speak with Kansas Policy Institute, please contact James Franko at (316) 634-0218.