Tom Sawyer led the effort in 1992 that cut our property taxes in Wichita by 29%.
In 1994, Tom Sawyer had a plan to cut our car taxes in half over 5 years. Thanks
to his and others leadership, we now pay 50% less in car taxes than we used to pay! (They are still too high).
Tom Sawyer led the effort in 1996 that gave us the Homestead exemption, which cut every homeowners property taxes. He also helped pass a plan that reduced the state-wide property tax mill levy from 35 mills to 20 mills!
Saved the Homestead Exemption
In 2006, Tom Sawyer helped defeat an effort to kill the Homestead Exemption. Killing the Homestead Exemption would have raised our property taxes. Tom Sawyer led the effort in 1996 which gave us the Homestead Exemption. He wasn't about to let it die.
In 1998, Tom Sawyer led the effort to increase the personal exemption for all Kansans and to implement an Earned Income Tax Credit in Kansas.
The Kansas Earned Income Tax Credit cut the income taxes for all families making less than $35,000 a year. In 2007 he helped pass a law that increased this tax cut by 13%!
Unfortunately the 2012 legislature took away some of this tax relief for working families to help fund the reckless 2012 tax plan that exempted over 330,000 business owners from paying Kansas Income Tax.
In 1998, Tom Sawyer also led the effort to double the sales tax refund and greatly increase the Homestead Tax Refunds provided to people over 55, the disabled, the blind and families struggling to make ends meet. In 2007, He helped pass another bill that increased the Homestead Refunds again! Again unfortunately in 2012 the Kansas Legislature took back some of these gains to help pay for their reckless 2012 tax plan.
In 2004 the Legislature passed a new tax on people who sold their own old cars, Some people even had to pay more in tax than they got for the car. The value that the tax was based on had nothing to do with the sales price of the car, it was based on a table set by the state. It was called the "Clunker" tax.
In 2005 Tom Sawyer successfully fought to repeal this unfair tax, getting refunds for thousands of Kansans.
In 2005, Tom Sawyer helped pass SB 256 which eliminated Kansas income tax on amounts received by taxpayers who are members of the armed forces of the United States, including service in the Kansas army & air national guard, as a recruitment or retention bonus.
It also exempted amounts received for repayment of educational or student loans incurred by such taxpayer as a result of such taxpayer’s service in the armed forces of the United States, including service in the Kansas army and air national guard.
In 2007, Tom Sawyer helped pass a bill that eliminates Kansas income tax on Social Security Benefits for all Kansans with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less!
Including 3 of the tax cuts listed above (Repeal of the sales tax on clunkers, ending the state income tax on Social Security benefits and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit) Tom Sawyer supported over $1 billion in tax cuts that were enacted into law just from 2005 to 2008 alone (the last few years of Tom Sawyer's previous term, before he left the Kansas House to serve on the Kansas Parole Board).
Many of these tax cuts were wisely phased in over several years, but once they were all fully implemented, the accumulated total of just these tax cuts alone total over $1 billion. Check out the chart at the bottom of this page to see all of the tax cuts supported by Tom Sawyer and enacted into law between 2005-08.
In 2016 Tom Sawyer was part of a bi-partisan group of legislators that developed a Property Tax Lid bill to keep our property taxes from going higher. Their bill passed with huge bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate. He believes that local governments should not be allowed to increase property taxes beyond reasonable and natural growth without being subject to a vote of the people. That is what the newly passed property tax lid does.
Unfortunately The legislature from 2013 until 2017 continued to pass bills that shifted more of the tax burden onto to local property taxes. They did this because the reckless 2012 tax plan left the state short of revenue. Tom Sawyer believes that this is wrong and will make it difficult for senior citizens to stay in their homes and for working families to be able to afford their homes. In 2017 he led the fight to end this reckless tax reckless tax plan to return financial stability to our state and end this horrible shift onto local property taxes.
Tom Sawyer on the house floor leading the debate against the huge 2015 tax increase. Unfortunately he lost that battle as the pro Brownback tax experiment forces were able to get the bare minimum number of votes needed to give Kansas the second highest tax on food in the nation. Tom Sawyer is dedicated to reducing and eventually eliminating the Kansas sales tax on food. Kansas is one of just 14 states that still tax food at all. That huge Sales Tax Increase was enacted to protect the 2012 tax experiment. Kansas Families had to pay more in sales tax on food and necessities just so 330,000 business owners could continue to pay no Kansas income tax.
In 2014 Tom Sawyer was part of a group of bipartisan legislators that passed a comprehensive Taxpayer Rights Bill to help taxpayers dispute unfair tax assessments.
In 2016 this bipartisan group of lawmakers worked on and passed SB 280 which clarified and updated these reforms. In all, this comprehensive tax bill contained 16 reforms covering all taxpayers. The provisions cover contested property tax, sales tax and income tax disputes.
Unfortunately Governor Brownback vetoed this important pro-taxpayer bill. Fortunately Tom Sawyer and his fellow tax conference committee members were able to convince the full legislature to easily override the governor's veto. SB 280 is now law.
In 2017 Tom Sawyer led the fight that closed the 2012 tax loophole that had allowed 330,000 business owners (many who are very wealthy) to pay no Kansas Income Tax. That tax experiment had caused a huge shift in our tax burden causing working families and seniors to pay more in taxes including the 2nd highest food tax in the country, while some of the wealthiest Kansans paid no state income tax.
That 2012 irresponsible tax plan not only caused a huge tax shift but it also devastated our schools, ended the T-Works road construction plan, and crippled our state budget. Now Tom Sawyer is working to restore our state. Working not only to fix the state budget but also to restore a fair balance in our tax burden.
Tom Sawyer has long called for the elimination of the sales tax on food. Tom promised that after we recover from the reckless 2012 tax plan and the economy improves, he would once again push to eliminate this unfair tax. In 2021, Tom Sawyer introduced a bill to completely eliminate the state sales tax on food by July 1, 2022.
|Estimated Fiscal Notes for Selected Tax Cuts Supported by Tom Sawyer and Enacted from 2005 to 2008.|
|($ in millions)|
|Session||Bill #||Brief Description||FY 2005||FY 2006||FY 2007||FY 2008||FY 2009||FY 2010||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013||thru FY 13|
|2005||SB 256||Income Tax Exemption-Military Recruitment Bonuses||$0.000||-$0.587||-$0.622||-$0.660||-$0.699||-$0.741||-$0.786||-$0.833||-$0.883||-$5.810|
|2005||SB 133||Homestead Program - Indexation||$0.000||$0.000||-$0.025||-$0.050||-$0.075||-$0.100||-$0.125||-$0.150||-$0.175||-$0.700|
|2005||SB 23||Repeal of "Clunker" Sales Tax on Used Vehicles||-$5.000||-$5.175||-$5.356||-$5.544||-$5.738||-$5.939||-$6.147||-$6.362||-$6.584||-$51.845|
|2005||SB 138||Certain Tax Credits||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$0.500||-$4.500|
|2005||HB 2040||Sales Tax Ex - Hearing Aid Repair||$0.000||-$0.093||-$0.096||-$0.100||-$0.103||-$0.107||-$0.110||-$0.114||-$0.118||-$0.842|
|2005||HB 2222||Indiv Devolpment Account Program||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$0.503||-$4.527|
|2006||SB 404||Numerous Sales Tax Exemptions||$0.000||$0.000||-$12.702||-$15.448||-$17.291||-$8.173||-$8.630||-$10.087||-$11.546||-$83.877|
|2006||HB 2583||Machinery and Equipment tax phase out||$0.000||$0.000||-$3.500||-$27.162||-$42.737||-$58.905||-$63.698||-$62.729||-$68.869||-$327.600|
|2007||HB 2031||Social Security Exemption & EITC Expansion||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||-$12.900||-$19.400||-$21.300||-$23.400||-$25.800||-$26.135||-$128.935|
|2007||HB 2171||Sales Tax Exemptions - Various||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||-$0.650||-$0.673||-$0.696||-$0.721||-$0.746||-$0.772||-$4.258|
|2007||HB 2240||Sales Tax Ex - Repair of Transmission Lines||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||-$3.000||-$3.387||-$3.506||-$3.629||-$3.756||-$3.887||-$21.165|
|2007||HB 2476||Homestead Program Expansion||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||-$10.500||-$11.000||-$11.600||-$12.200||-$12.800||-$13.500||-$71.600|
|2007||HB 2264||Franchise Tax Phase Out||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||-$7.000||-$16.500||-$26.500||-$37.000||-$48.000||-$50.000||-$185.000|
|2007||HB 2004||Various Tax Credits||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||-$4.100||-$4.100||-$4.100||-$4.100||-$4.100||-$4.100||-$24.600|
|2007||HB 2540||Business Disaster Sales Tax Relief||$0.000||$0.000||-$0.400||-$1.600||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||$0.000||-$2.000|
|2008||HB 2434||Various Income, Sales and Property Tax Provisions||-$114.992|
|Total These Bills||-$6.003||-$6.858||-$23.704||-$89.716||-$122.706||-$142.670||-$161.549||-$176.479||-$187.573||-$1,032.251|
Unfortunately the 2012 legislature's irresponsibility led to a huge budget deficit, which puts all of these tax cuts in jeopardy. Tom Sawyer wants to return to Topeka to help solve this financial crisis before it gets worse. He wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to save not only the tax cuts for working families and seniors but funding for our children's education and other vital programs as well.