Kansas has had nothing but bad news since electing Republicans to the office of governor and to a majority in their legislature.
Tax cuts don’t grow economies, and they wreck government; it does a disservice to citizens.
Here is one example of what the exploding deficit in Kansas is doing; Brownback took over after one of the worst recessions in history – and was left a small but tidy surplus by the preceding Democratic governor.
First of all, the state of Kansas is hemorrhaging money they desperately need. From the Topeka Capital Journal:
Tax revenue to the state of Kansas slipped $11.2 million below estimates in March, state officials said Tuesday.
Collection of sales, corporate income, and oil and gas severance taxes fell below forecasts developed by state officials in November. Projections were revised downward at that time to reflect diminished optimism about the state’s short-term economic future.
House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said sweeping state income tax reductions were marketed by the Republican-led Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback as a “shot of adrenaline” to the heart of Kansas’ economy. After three years, Burroughs said, the GOP’s tax policy had been exposed as “more like an ax wound.”
“Kansas continues to bleed revenue as is evident by this month’s numbers,” he said. “How we resolve this issue remains unknown as the legislative session is nearly over and we haven’t seen a comprehensive balanced budget.”
Brownback takes his policies ‘straight’ like whiskey, from the Reaganomics/ supply-side/ trickle-downs economist, Arthur Laffer himself. In spite of Laffer talking a good game, those economic policies have never worked, never succeeded in doing what he promises. What Laffer — and to be fair, other Republicans too — HAVE accomplished is to redistribute more wealth to the obscenely wealthy. Those obscenely wealthy recipients of state largesse then make a great crowd of political donors.
But it makes for what the LA Times called the state, “a smoking ruin’. That was last July; it’s only gotten WORSE since then.
Brownback has to have a balanced state budget, so he does what Republican governors usually do — steals the money from the budget that was supposed to be used for education. Kansas has had consistently under Republicans some of the deepest cuts to education of any state. A little over a year ago, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that those cuts were unconstitutional, but Brownback is continuing with them anyway.
Worse than that, parts of the state infrastructure are literally at risk of falling down, like our own I-35 bridge fell down. From the Wichita Business Journal:
No April Fools’ Day Joke: 2,416 of Kansas’s Bridges Need Structural Repair, New Analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation Data Finds
Federal Highway & Bridge Funding Facing May 31 Deadline
The analysis of the federal government data, conducted by American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, shows cars, trucks and school buses cross Kansas’s 2,416 structurally compromised bridges 787,632 times every day. Not surprisingly, the most heavily traveled are on the Interstate Highway System, which carries the bulk of truck traffic and passenger vehicles
….The ARTBA analysis of the bridge data supplied by the states to the U.S. DOT also found:
Kansas ranks 7th place nationally in the number of structurally deficient bridges—2,416.
Kansas ranks 22nd place in the percentage of its bridges that are classified as structurally deficient—10 percent.
Neither Brownback nor Artie the Laugh-riot Laffer have an explanation for why Kansas is failing in pretty much all categories. Laffer has suggested it might take as long as ten years for his supply economics to work. With schools closing, students failing, bridges starting to fall down NOW, and no sign of any improvement, a surplus blown, people getting poorer…….I don’t think Kansas can afford to wait. I can only imagine that if they have any sense whatsoever, they are having buyers remorse for re-electing Brownback.
From back in January of 2015:
Back in August 2012, Laffer told a crowd at the Johnson County Community College, if Kansas would slash its income tax rates, it would result in “enormous prosperity.”
He told a reporter at the time that he had not produced an economic model on when Kansas will notice meaningful economic growth.
Two-and-a-half years later, Kansas is staring at a budget crisis, with more than a billion dollar gap between revenues and expenses projected in the current and next budget years. The state is also experiencing a low private job growth rate, as well as a slow-growing economy.
In a 45-minute phone interview, Laffer said while he is “not surprised,” he didn’t know why the deficits have occurred. He still believes adamantly in his supply-side economic theory: If you reduce income taxes, you will raise more revenue, not less.
The longer Brownback and Republicans are in power, the worse it gets. Conservative economics DO NOT WORK. The only question now is how much longer do people wait before they stop wrecking their states with these failed and disastrous right wing policies. This is true whether those policies are proposed in Kansas, or next door in Wisconsin, or proposed by the MN GOP here in Minnesota.