GREAT BEND, Kan. - The Democratic party is the voice for working people, farmers, and small business. The Republican party is the voice of Big Business. Never was this contrast between the parties more clear than on February 12, 2007 in the Kansas House of Representatives.
That's the day State Rep. Mark Treaster (D-Pretty Prairie) tried to tone down a corporate welfare bill sponsored by Republicans. The Republicans planned to abolish the "Franchise Tax" on all corporations in Kansas, regardless of size. The "Franchise Tax" is the annual fee that corporations pay to do business in Kansas. At that time, the cap on the franchise tax was $20,000 per corporation, and the franchise tax raised $44 million for the State of Kansas each year.
Democrat Rep. Mark Treaster offered an amendment to eliminate the state's franchise tax on all businesses licensed in Kansas with a taxable equity of a half a million dollars or less. The bill not only would have provided a tax break to small businesses, but also included a provision rewarding those small businesses who provide health insurance to employees. (The exemption could climb to 3 million if the company provided health insurance for workers.)
Who could be against such a win/win bill for both small businesses and the everyday Kansans who work for them? The Kansas Republican legislative delegation, that's who. The Treaster amendment was defeated 73-48. The vote was strictly along party lines.
Why did the Republicans object to the Treaster amendment?