Quick Hits in State News: Brownback Spins a Story, and More



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Looks like the “spin room” in Topeka has been busy lately. Read how Kansas Governor Brownback and his staff “fashion[ed] a new budget narrative” in reaction to criticism over massive budget cuts he signed (PDF) earlier this year and possible further reductions. Insisting that revenue lost to his pet tax cuts (which take effect next year) won’t be responsible for budget shortfalls, the governor is saying that somehow the European debt crisis and other things beyond the state’s control are forcing spending cuts.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard much about “marriage penalties” imposed by state tax structures (a so-called marriage penalty is imposed when single filers pay more tax as married couples than if they filed as two single filers). But the issue is rearing its head in Wisconsin and this thoughtful blog post from the Wisconsin Budget Projects helps to put the concept in context.

In order to debunk the absurdity of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent claim, an opinion piece in the Las Vegas Sun reminds Nevadans -- by pointing to research from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy -- that low income people are paying more than their fair overall share because of state and local taxes.

Here the Charlotte Observer editorial board decries both gubernatorial candidates’ calls for politically popular rate reductions and their failure to commit to genuine, comprehensive reform for North Carolina. “Today’s tax code is riddled with exemptions, loopholes and preferential treatment that sap the state of needed revenue... [and] it’s time for tax code reform to take a prominent place on the agenda of the state’s chief executive. The public – the voting public – should insist on it.”

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