Republican gubernatorial candidate Wink Hartman said Wednesday the current Kansas governor’s instinct to reduce personal and business state income taxes couldn’t be faulted.
Hartman, a Wichita businessman, said Gov. Sam Brownback’s reform of the state tax system in 2012 was a failure because it didn’t account for the $700 million reduction in tax revenue. He said the GOP administration and legislative allies didn’t possess the courage to bring spending in line with the new revenue reality.
“I thought the tax policy as a whole was okay,” Hartman said during a campaign stop in Topeka. “The implementation of that tax policy was terrible. In the corporate world, when you make a decision that’s going to decrease your revenue, and that’s what the tax policy did, you better immediately adjust your budget. I would have prioritized the spending according to the amount of monies I had.”
He said the state should adopt a zero-based budgeting system to anchor expenditures to cash rolling into the treasury.
To counter large state government budget deficits, Kansas lawmakers adopted modest spending constraints, borrowed more than $1 billion to bolster the retirement system and seized cash from the Kansas Department of Transportation and other agencies.
Hartman is seeking the GOP nomination against Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, several former state legislators and a collection of high school students.