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Kansas Economic Policy Conference to focus on future of tax policy

Friday, October 05, 2018

LAWRENCE — The state of Kansas has received national attention in recent years following its 2012 tax cuts, which were eventually reversed. State lawmakers for several years have also grappled with a Kansas Supreme Court decision that has declared unconstitutional funding levels for K-12 education, and on the local level, the number of special taxing districts has increased across the state.

State and local policymakers, economists and public administration scholars from across Kansas will discuss the best path forward on local and state tax policy Oct. 25 at the University of Kansas as part of the annual Kansas Economic Policy Conference titled "Pragmatic Policy: Reforming Kansas Taxes."

"As with any economic policy, it's important to strike the right balance between equity and efficiency," said Donna Ginther, KU professor of economics. "The Kansas Economic Policy Conference will bring together thought leaders to discuss the future of taxes in Kansas and how best to balance the needs of local governments and school districts as we deal with the aftermath of the 2012 tax cuts."  

The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Kansas Union and will conclude at 2:15 p.m.  The Institute for Policy & Social Research at KU, a leading source on aggregating economic and social data on the state and region, sponsors the annual event. Ginther serves as director of IPSR's Center for Science, Technology & Economic Policy.

The conference's full agenda is available online. Anyone is invited to register and attend. The public can also follow updates of the conference on Twitter via #kepc2018.

Carl Lejuez, KU's interim provost and executive vice chancellor, will give the opening remarks.

The morning keynote address will feature Chris Courtwright, principal economist at the Kansas Legislative Research Department, and Tami Gurley-Calvez, associate professor of health policy & management at KU Medical Center, who will discuss "Kansas' Wild Tax Ride: Where We are Now and Where We Should be Headed."

A late morning session will include remarks by Clarence Lang, interim dean of College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and a conversation on local implications of state taxes with Hannes Zacharias, professor of practice in the KU School of Public Affairs & Administration and former Johnson County manager, and Cherise Tieben, city manager of Dodge City.

Jim McLean, managing director of Kansas News Service, will also host a conversation about taxation and school finance that includes Jacob Fowles, associate professor in the public affairs & administration school, and Brad Homman, board member of the Solomon school district and Dickinson County administrator.

The afternoon session will feature remarks by Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and then Ginther introducing a policy conversation, "The Give and Take of Tax Reform," with Kansas House members Steven Johnson, of Assaria, and Kristey Williams, of Augusta. Ginther will also deliver the conference's closing remarks.