Lessons from Kansas: A Behind the Scenes Look at America’s Most Discussed Tax Reform Effort

by Jonathan Williams & Ben Wilterdink


Positioned in the center of the United States, Kansas has often served as a stand-in for the preferences of non-coastal America. Perhaps this unique position is why a 2012 tax reform has garnered more media attention, both positive and negative, than just about any other recent state level tax reform effort. From a pure public finance perspective, the tax overhaul in North Carolina in 2013 or Nevada’s imposition of a gross receipts style tax in early 2015 would likely warrant more attention than the 2012 Kansas tax reforms. While the exact causes behind the media flurry around the Kansas tax reform effort might not be clear, it is clear to most observers of state policy at this point Kansas was, and continues to be, a flashpoint in debates about state tax policy.

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