Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback thinks he has figured out a way to prop up dying towns: No income taxes!
Brownback wants to give people who move into shrinking counties a five-year exemption from state income taxes. Sounds great. One problem, though. There are no jobs in these places to produce the income from which taxes are withheld.
An Associated Press story points out the folly of Brownback's idea. The AP interviewed the mayor of Freeport (population: five) who grumbled that the only thing left in his town "is the government that runs it." And there was this from Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat:
Moving back to a community where there basically are no jobs? I don't know how you are going to make a living and enjoy the benefit of that income tax exemption.Alas, the governor seems to be operating on the idea that income taxes are what's keeping Fall River from becoming Fort Lauderdale. He says he's "convinced" that Kansas is losing residents to states that have no income taxes, although, as the AP points out, he doesn't have the data to prove it.
To be sure, professional golfers and boy-band impresarios are attracted to Florida because the state doesn't tax the money they earn. But Brownback is trying to entice 25-year-old KU grads to a place where the career opportunities end at school principal and the wind smells like a corporate-owned slaughterhouse. Wish him luck.