In GOP address, Brownback touts Kansas tax reform as model for nation

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) held his state up as an example of a path forward for America in the weekly Republican Party address, touting the state's conservative tax policy as a model for others.

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Brownback says in the address that the 30 Republican governors nationwide are enacting "ideas that work" to improve their states' economies.

“They involve a more focused government that costs less. A taxing structure that encourages growth. An education system that produces measurable results. And a renewed focus on the incredible dignity of each and every person, no matter who they are," he says.

During his tenure as governor, Brownback has pursued the kind of tax reform national Republicans have sought in recent years. He consolidated income tax brackets and eliminated certain taxes on some small businesses, and recently proposed eliminating the state income tax entirely for Kansans.

To pay for the proposal, Brownback would make a sales tax increase permanent, eliminate the mortgage interest deduction in the state and repeal certain tax credits, including food, rental housing and child care, which, according to The New York Times, would benefit low-income residents of the state.

Critics charge that Brownback's plan would disproportionately hurt low-income residents, to the benefit of wealthy Kansans. But Brownback said in the address that his policies have made Kansas one of the most pro-business states in the nation.

“My objective is to make Kansas the best place in America to raise a family and grow a business. Now, for those who come to our state because of lower taxes, opportunities abound," he said.

Brownback's argument in favor of tax cuts comes as a debate over taxes are again likely to emerge in the national debate.

The White House announced Friday that President Obama's budget, to be revealed next week, will include entitlement reform, but that Obama will only support the reform if Republicans are willing to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.

Republicans slammed the proposal, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accusing Obama of holding necessary reforms "hostage" in exchange for higher taxes.

"If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes," Boehner said in a statement. "That’s no way to lead and move the country forward."

Republicans have held up states like Kansas as evidence that cutting taxes is the best way to spur economic growth. The debate over tax reform is likely to escalate next week, as both sides return to the table to negotiate a budget agreement following Friday's dismal jobs report.