KCUR Hosts Panel at Westport Flea Market

Two representatives who recently signed Kansas’s new Transparency Pledge participated in a political panel Thursday to discuss issues important to voters.

Reps. John Rubin (Kansas Republican – District 18) and John Wilson (Kansas Democrat – District 10) were guests on a live session of KCUR’s Statehouse Blend Live. In celebration of its 50-episode milestone, Statehouse blend hosted the panel at Westport Flea Market.

The panel provided updates on the current political environment in Kansas and responded to questions from the audience.

The Open Kansas Transparency Pledge to Kansas Tax Payers, signed last Wednesday, and taxes were the spotlight of the discussion, amongst other key issues such as spending and budget cuts, education, health, and employment. Open Kansas ,dedicated to low income, minorities, and children, is the nonprofit group spearheading the pledge, It would require prior notice be given for meetings, that requested information (such as for journalists or concerned citizens) be given more quickly, and making access to public records more affordable. Both Rubin and Wilson were the first representatives to sign the agreement, which promises to work towards a more transparent and forthcoming state government. The pledge requires that information be accessible to the public, that constituents are aware of when a new bill is in the House, and that the government be held accountable to the people.
“I think if you’re not proud of the work you’re doing, you don’t want people to hear about it,” Wilson said.

Rubin is an active supporter of a fair tax, a consumption tax that charges for goods and services. It would eliminate income taxes.

In 2012, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback eliminated one of the prior income brackets, meaning that one of the income ranges that used to be taxed were eliminated, putting greater stress on individuals with moderate to lower income ranges. “It cuts the highest income tax rates to 4.9 percent from 6.45 and 6.25 percent. It also reduces the lowest tax rates to 3 percent from 3.5 percent.” As a result of the 2012 cuts, sales taxes increased.

“Tax cuts need to be accompanied by smart spending cuts,” Rubin said.

The tax legislation is expected to come to the state’s house and senate for discussion this year.

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