Libertarian: Stop Passing ‘Silly Legislation’

By John Celock

The Libertarian candidate for Kansas governor said Tuesday that he wants state lawmakers to stop passing “silly legislation.”

Keen Umbehr said on the “Joseph Asbhy Show” on KQAM radio in Wichita Tuesday morning that as part of the tax plan he would implement, it would be dependent on lawmakers to pass legislation that does not hurt the state’s GDP. Umbehr is trailing both Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and Democrat Paul Davis in the competitive governor’s race.

“Legislatures like to pass silly legislation,” Umbehr said. “They will stop doing that when they see that hurts the GDP.”

Umbehr told Ashby that he wants to repeal the state’s sales tax, along with other taxes, including those on banking and instead implement a consumption tax on the state, for both sales and professional services, setting that rate at 5.7 percent. Umbehr made the comments after attacks on Brownback’s tax plan, which has zeroed out tax rates for LLCs and other small businesses in the state, along with cuts for high income earners.

Umbehr said that Brownback’s plan is hurting “wage earners” in Kansas and that it will not stimulate economic activity. He said that by providing more money for “wage earners,” then more money could be put into small business for economic growth.

Brownback has long touted his tax plan as being able to grow the state’s economy by spurring business development in the state. He has cited figures showing private sector job growth since he took office in 2011. Davis has attacked Brownback’s plan, citing studies that show sharp revenue drops for the state and a decrease in jobs, when public sector jobs are factored into the job numbers. Davis has said he would halt further tax cuts if elected, while Brownback has said he’ll look at more cuts.

Under questioning from Ashby on whether he wants to reverse the tax cuts, Umbehr said he would not.

“No, No, No, again I say no,” Umbehr said. “The answer is to zero out the income tax for everyone and in place of it the Legislature must pass the Kansas Fair Tax.”

The Kansas Fair Tax would include the consumption tax plan that Umbehr is pushing.

As part of his tax plan, Umbehr said he would tie state spending to the Kansas GDP, which prompted the “silly legislation” comment. Umbehr cited a proposed ban on tanning salons for minors as “silly legislation.” Umbehr referred to the tanning bill as passed. While the bill passed a state House committee this year, it died when lawmakers adjourned in May.

While Umbehr is trailing in the single digits in a race where Davis holds a slight lead, he said he will not be a spoiler candidate. He said that he believes Davis could win on his own without the third party candidacy. He cited previous Democrats winning gubernatorial races, including former Gov. Joan Finney (D) in 1990 and former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) in 2002 and 2006.