Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brownback, Laffer to be at forum to discuss how tax cuts will help businesses

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

Gov. Sam Brownback and his tax-cutting consultant, nationally known economist Arthur Laffer, will be on hand next week for a forum on how Brownback's controversial tax cuts will benefit businesses, the Kansas Department of Commerce announced Tuesday.

The Kansas Small Business Forum will be from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in the Capitol Federal Conference Center, Regnier Center at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park.

Laffer is founder and chief executive officer of Laffer Associates in Nashville, Tenn., and was a member of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Advisory Policy Board.

Laffer, considered the father of supply-side economics, was hired by Brownback for $75,000 to do consulting work on the governor's tax plan.

Brownback signed into law a plan that will cut individual income tax rates for 2013 and eliminate income taxes for the owners of 191,000 businesses.

Coupled with the sales tax reduction already scheduled for July 2013, the tax cuts will provide $231 million in tax relief for the fiscal year beginning July 1. That annual figure is projected to grow to $934 million after six years.

Critics of the tax cuts say they will force budget cuts in schools, public safety and social services.

The nonpartisan Legislative Research Department said the tax cuts will show a budget shortfall by July 2014. The researchers' projections show cumulative shortfalls over five years exceeding $2.5 billion.

Brownback, Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George and Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan will be at the forum.

In addition to Laffer, other featured speakers will include Thom Ruhe, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, and Gary Allerheiligen, former president of the Kansas Society of CPAs. The cost of Laffer's appearance is part of his original $75,000 contract, a state Commerce official said.

A panel will include state Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, Peter Newman, a CPA and host of KMBZ Radio's "Moneyline," Doug Furnell, owner of Western Metal Co. in Louisburg; and Kevin Tubbesing, owner of The Land Source, in Kansas City, Kan.