KS and MO: Stop Cutting and Start Looking for New Revenue Streams

Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently announced another round of very deep and troubling budget cuts. Both Governors’ gave a clear signal that more budget cuts would be forthcoming unless the economy significantly improved very soon.

I wonder when one or more of our elected officials will provide leadership and say that we have cut enough and now it is time to look for more state revenue. Obviously, this kind of public policy stance will not be popular in some places but it would be very welcome news in places that care for school age children/young adults and with social services and health agencies that care for the poor, disabled, mentally ill and the elderly. Frankly, every segment of state government is suffering …including our roads, parks, natural resources, corrections, conservation, agriculture and economic development agencies that are trying to create more jobs.

Missouri has the second lowest cigarette tax in the nation. If Missourians had agreed to increase the tax we charge on cigarettes a few years ago, much of the budget problems we face today would not be in play. While Kansans pay a higher tax on their cigarettes, leaders in both states have the ability to increase their state revenues by increasing the cigarette tax, while at the same time lowering the number of folks who smoke…especially young children who tobacco officials have targeted with their advertising.

Each state also has tax credits that need to be reviewed to make sure they are working properly and that the state is benefiting as the law intended when it was passed. Why do we not tax sales made on internet transitions? We have a new internet economy and we have the ability to increase our state revenues dramatically while at the same time provide an equal playing field for retailers who only provide sales in retail store.

Now is the time for bold leadership … now is the time to look for increased revenues to fund necessary public services to the citizens of our two states.


Another Great Point Steve! You are so wise. It never ceases to amaze me that our government immediately goes to the easiest solution to a problem instead of trying to solve the issue. The children, the elderly, and the poorest of the poor in this state need to survive like the rest of us and we as a state are making that IMPOSSIBLE for them. We need to make long lasting decisions to prevent services like these from ever being cut and if raising taxes is a solution then we as state need to do just that. I would love to live in a state where cutting these vital services were not an option and the death penalty did not exist because everyone deserves have their basic needs met and to live!

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About Me

Steve Roling

Steve Roling

Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.