Kansans who think their state should follow the lead of Colorado and legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use might want to reconsider in light of some problems Denver is experiencing with a growing homeless population.
The Courier has opened its editorial columns to the ministers of the Winfield area, giving each in turn an opportunity to submit a guest editorial. The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily agree with those of the Courier.
The left-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice called the idea "silly." The right-leaning Tax Foundation deemed it "poor policy." So why do 16 states continue to offer sales tax holidays during the August back-to-school shopping season? The most likely answer is that these policy gimmicks are popular among consumers and a certain set of retailers, especially big chain stores. But they aren't in the public interest. The states that still stage sales tax holidays should do what Washington did a few years ago: Get rid of them. Maryland's sales tax holiday, going on this week, eliminates state sales tax on clothing and shoes priced under $100. Virginia's also exempts school supplies. The theory is that these tax breaks will encourage economic activity, or at least save people money. In fact, though the research on the subject is sparse, several analyses indicate that sales tax holidays fail to produce notable economic benefitsfor the states that enact them. Mostly, people appear to time purchases they would have made anyway so that they fall within the holiday. For example, New York, a pioneer of the back-to-school sales tax holiday in 1997, found that sales of exempted goods rose during the holiday — but that sales fell in the weeks before and after. The state no longer offers a sales tax holiday. There's no compelling economic rationale for time-shifting consumer purchases, but there are many reasons it's not worth the forgone tax revenue. Studies suggest that some stores merely raise their prices a bit during tax holidays, siphoning off the state's generosity for themselves. Wealthier people, meanwhile, are much more likely than poorer people to have the spare cash needed to take full advantage of holidays, possibly skewing the benefits to the rich. That wealthy consumers benefit just as much — and likely more — than low-income consumers is itself an indictment of the policy. It is a lousy way of helping needy people buy various necessities. If the goal is to help strapped consumers purchase supplies during back-to-school season, or whenever it would be most helpful to them, then the state would be better off handing low-income residents sales tax vouchers that they could use any time, the Tax Foundation argues. It's true, as some backers point out, that sales tax holidays aren't major state budget-busters. Maryland's week-long reprieve costs several million dollars of a $38 billion budget. If tax holidays get some people into spending mode, benefitting a retailer here or there, maybe they aren't policies to get worked up about. But that argument can't rebut one simple point: The state can do a lot more good if its leaders put that money somewhere else.
On May 30, the Kansas Legislature “gaveled out” and officially ended the 2014 legislative session. For all practical purposes, the session really ended at about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 3. This year’s “Veto Session,” which began on April 30, was one of the shortest on record. Many believe it was because House and Senate leadership was trying to minimize the controversies generated by ultra-conservatives, who have held large majorities in both chambers during the past two years.
This can’t be how Thad Cochran imagined spending his twilight political years.
WASHINGTON -- The Republican-led House will reach a dubious milestone this week: It will enter the record books as the most gagged in American history.
WASHINGTON -- You know how it goes. You lose track of friends and then one day, someone gets in touch to say the friend has left us to our mortal pursuits.
By and large, scholars, politicians, and pundits pay attention to left-right ideologies when they think about politics, and there’s good evidence that much of American politics is organized along a broad liberal-conservative spectrum.
WASHINGTON — What is it with Susan Rice and the Sunday morning talk shows? This time she said Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had served in Afghanistan “with honor and distinction” — the biggest whopper since she insisted the Benghazi attack was caused by a video.