Tom Sawyer led the effort in 1992 that cut our property taxes in Wichita by 29%. This year he supported HB 2239, which doubled the homestead exemption- which provides each Kansas Homeowner a $92 tax cut.
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.
Doubled the Homestead Exemption this year
This year Tom Sawyer supported HB 2239 which doubles the Homestead Exemption from $20,000 to $40,000- providing each homeowner with a $92 property tax cut. It also indexes the homestead exemption so that it automatically goes up each year to keep up with inflation.
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 families making less than $59,187 a year. In 2007 he helped pass a law that increased this tax cut by 13%!
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! Unfortunately in 2012 the Kansas Legislature took back some of these gains to help pay for their reckless 2012 tax plan.
This year Tom Sawyer supported HB 2239 which includes the Golden Age property tax rebate. Homeowners 65 or older and Disabled Veterans who make less than $50,000 can get a rebate equal in amount to any increase in their property taxes over the base year (2021).
For example, if the homeowner's property taxes were $900 in 2021 and they were $990 this year, they would get a $90 rebate. If their property taxes go up to $1090 next year, then they would get a $190 rebate in 2023.
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!
Now he is working to increase the cap to $100,000 and then index it to the CPI so that it keeps up with inflation.
In 2005, Tom Sawyer helped pass SB 256 which eliminated Kansas income tax on recruitment and retention bonuses received by taxpayers who are members of the armed forces of the United States, including service in the Kansas army & air national guard.
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.
This year Tom Sawyer supported HB 2239 which provides Income Tax relief for Disabled Veterans. Veterans who were Honorably Discharged and disabled through military service now receive an extra personal exemption on their income taxes. The additional exemption will reduce their state adjusted gross income by $2250.
This year, Tom Sawyer supported a bill that provides a new income tax credit for Kansas Teachers.
Teachers will receive an income tax credit equal to the amount of money they spent on classroom supplies during the past year. The teacher supply tax credit is capped at $250 per year.
Since it is a tax credit and not a deduction, Kansas Teachers will get a dollar for dollar reduction in their State Income taxes for every dollar they spend in the classroom (up to the $250 annual cap).
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 has long called for the elimination of the sales tax on food. Tom promised that after we recovered from the reckless 2012 tax plan and the economy improved, he would once again push to eliminate this unfair tax.
In January 2022, Tom Sawyer introduced HB 2487- a bill to completely eliminate the state sales tax on food by July 1, 2022. In May, 2022 the legislature passed a compromise bill that reduces the sales tax in January and will eliminate the State Sales Tax on food by January 2025.
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.
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.
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 $1 billion. Check out the chart at the bottom of this page to see all of the tax cuts supported by Tom Sawyer and enacted into law between 2005-08.
|Estimated Fiscal Notes for Selected Tax Cuts Supported by Tom Sawyer and Enacted from 2005 to 2008.|
|($ 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 put all of these tax cuts in jeopardy. Tom Sawyer returned to the Legislature in 2013 to help solve this financial crisis before it got worse. He worked 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. He led the House effort in 2017 to repeal much of the 2012 reckless tax experiment that put Kansas back on a stable financial path.