Tax Freedom Day marks day Kansas taxes cover bills

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It’s time to start making your “own” money. Today is Tax Freedom Day for the state of Kansas; the national Tax Freedom Day is April 21. According to the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is, “the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for year.” Or, in states’ cases, when each state has earned enough money to pay its total bill.

This theoretically means that on an average per capita, the amount of money earned between January 1 and April 18 of this year will not go into Kansas tax payers’ wallets, but rather state funds, because that sum of money will be paid in taxes at the end of the fiscal year.

“On the one hand, it’s something good because there’s some kind of tangible reminder of, on average, the proportion of labor that goes to paying taxes,” Amy Hageman, assistant professor of accounting, said. “But, I think there’s other things to keep in mind though, like the terminology. ‘Tax Freedom Day’ seems to imply that if you’re paying taxes, you’re not free. But, I would say it’s something good to keep in mind, as a citizenry, to keep in mind what’s going on.”

Kansas ranks 19th highest in the nation for local and state tax rates for the fiscal year of 2014, according to Tax Foundation. The earliest Tax Freedom Day was in Louisiana on March 30. The latest belongs to the state of New Jersey and is on May 9. The latest study by the Tax Foundation in 2011 states that the tax burden of that year for New Jersey tax payers was $6,675 per capita — about 43 percent higher than Kansas.

“If you look at generations historically, we are in an era that has much lower tax rates than previous generations have,” Hageman said. “So I think, in terms of how you would evaluate it, (the date and meaning of Tax Freedom Day) would depend on what your baseline is.”

For the fiscal year 2014, the Kansas State General Fund (which calculates funds solely subsidized by taxpayer dollars) is divided up into six major categories. Education receives 62.2 percent of the pie, followed by human services at 26.6 percent, public safety at 6.4 percent, general government at 4.3 percent and transportation tied with agriculture and natural resources at .3 percent each, according to the Governor’s 2014 Budget Report.

Kansans, per capita, pay $3,849 in local and state taxes. Although this money is intended to provide for establishing and improving public goods, some students have other ideas with what they would do if their theoretical $3,849 were returned to the individual.

“I would buy some new tires for my truck, save some money for next semester, a steak dinner and presents for all the cabinet members of the (Student Governing Association) executive branch,” Reagan Kays, recently sworn-in student body president and senior in agribusiness, said.

Some have ideas of traveling, while some would use it to pay back student loans.

“I would pay off some debt,” Lauren Sparks, senior in psychology, said. “I’m a senior and I have lots of debt.”

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