Regarding the issue of taxes, since when has the term “redistribution” become a dirty word? Taxes by definition are a redistribution of funds from one source (taxpayers) to another (recipients). This exchange of funds is known as transfer payments, as we learn in basic Economics 101. What our political leaders need to consider related to taxes, are matters of fairness, adequacy, common/economic sense and the common good. On the matter of fairness, our legislators should begin by abolishing the sales tax on food. This is the most regressive tax possible, since it has a disproportionate negative effect on the poor. Since they spend all that they earn, starting with food, they pay the highest proportion of their income in sales tax. Kansas is one of the few states that charges sales tax on food, which itself should be a red flag. Also on the matter of fairness, income tax should be assessed on all since it is the most progressive tax. That is, the amount owed is related to the amount earned, which means those most able to pay are asked to contribute their fair share because they have that ability. This suggests that the important third leg of the tax “stool” should be reinstated, as a critical partner with property and sales (minus food). On the matter of adequacy, government officials should seek, and listen to, broad counsel in providing for the needed level of funding for education, health care, other human services and safety nets for those who are less well situated. On the matter of common/economic sense, as well as humaneness, the governor and legislators should immediately reverse their decision not to expand Medicaid coverage for 75,000 or more Kansans who now are without access to needed health care. Why common sense? Because Kansans are sending their federal tax dollars to Washington which are being distributed to the states that have expanded their Medicaid coverage. Not only is this pennywise and pound foolish, but it sacrifices the demonstrated economic benefit of providing hundreds if not thousands of additional jobs, and creates an unneeded hardship for those being denied access to health care. And the common good? Those in positions of privilege and power should take the time to consider what best serves the entire population, and imagine what it would be like if they did not have the needed resources to provide for a family.

— Bill Zuercher, Hesston