“A Conversation with the Governor” ; Talking Taxes and Aviation in Kansas

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WICHITA, Kansas — After KSN’s exclusive interview with Governor Sam Brownback Thursday, KSN is looking into the economic issues facing our state, specifically addressing his tax policy and the downturn of key industries in the state’s economy.

“Oil and gas is shedding jobs, agriculture is shedding jobs, the small jets still haven’t picked up. Your big – three of your ‘bigs’ are still not doing well in this state,” said Gov. Brownback.

When confronted about his tax policy, Gov. Brownback says it is successful… to an extent.

“The thrust of this tax policy, which is to grow small business, because that’s where 70 percent of the people work, is working by the numbers,” said Brownback. “It’s not working to raise price oil, or to increase the sale of small jets.”

Wichita City Council Member, representing District VI, Janet Miller tells KSN News that while these industries are based on more of a national demand, the state still has power to control the overall economy in the state.

“Conventional wisdom and common sense tells you that when you can’t control some things, you do make an effort to control what you can and it’s very clear to Wichitans and people across the country that the tax policy in this state is a major contributor to the deficits that we’re currently having,” said Miller.

KSN reached out to aviation experts, as well.

“You have to have good companies coming into the state, growing in the state, and building jobs, and building opportunity in order for a tax base to, to provide you with the revenues that you need,” said Dave Franson, President of the Wichita Aero Club.

“The State of Kansas can’t really be blamed for being a part of a national trend,” he continued.

When Gov. Brownback was asked: “… Are you worried that that trend will continue, and then we get to a point where maybe you have to revisit your tax cuts and maybe eliminate them? Do we ever get to that point?”

Gov. Brownback responded:

“Well, you’re always looking at tax policy. But the thrust of this tax policy – which is to grow small business, because that’s where 70 percent of the people work – is working by the numbers. It’s not working to raise the price of oil, or to increase the sale of small jets. It is working in the Kansas City market aggressively, which is one of our best opportunities to grow, is in that Kansas City region where we share a major metropolitan area with another state.”

Regardless of Kansas’ current economic state, the governor remains optimistic.

“I think we are well positioned to grow. You’re going to need some breaks in getting some jets sold in this state, you’re going to continue to be competitive in the Kansas City market, and we need some of these commodity prices to go up for us, but, I think we’re well positioned for what we can do in growth and particularly for small business,” said Brownback.

In response, Janet Miller said, “We’re simply not going to get there by continuing to say, ‘I hope’ or ‘I think that the bad times have passed.’ We’ve been saying that now for an extended period of time. Tax estimates continue to come in lower.”

To watch “A Conversation with the Governor” in its entirety, click here. 

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