The state’s current budget shortfall can be blamed on legislatively mandated tax cuts and exemptions over the past 14 years, Kansas Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon said in speech last week at Wichita State University.

Tax cuts and exemptions passed between 1995 and 2009 by the Legislature have resulted in $10.9 billion less revenue over the period, she said. Without those cuts, Wagnon said, the state would have $1 billion more to spend in fiscal 2010 than it does.

The lion’s share of the reduction came in property taxes, which Wagnon said were cut a total of $602 million a year by fiscal 2009. Income tax reduction since 1995 now costs the state $298.7 million a year, she said.

She said the phase-out of state estate and franchise taxes, combined with scheduled reductions in the severance taxes on oil and gas production, will cost Kansas $90 million in fiscal 2011 and $100 million in fiscal 2012.

Wagnon said she expects the 2010 Legislature to maintain the tax-cutting effort at an accelerated pace despite a slowdown in state revenue.

“It’s hard to get that lesson across that you can’t keep doing tax cuts and waiting for it to produce more revenue, because at this point, it’s producing less revenue,” she said.

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