In a time of slack economic growth and high unemployment around the country, Kansas lawmakers thought they had the solution: massive tax cuts for the wealthy would lure economic activity and jump-start the state’s economy. But after Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed $1.1 billion worth of tax cuts into law over the past two years, the state is behind the national average for economic growth.
A new forecast from Kansas’s budget officials projects that “personal income in Kansas will grow more slowly than U.S. personal income in 2014 and 2015,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) writes. The projections come from Brownback’s own Division of the Budget, which expects personal income growth of 3.8 percent this year and 4.2 percent next year. The state’s overall economic growth is now projected to fall behind the nation’s after two decades of keeping pace, the think tank adds.
At the same time that Brownback’s promised economic growth is failing to materialize, his critics‘ predictions about the tax cuts are largely coming true. The tax package is starving the state of revenue. With less money coming in, Kansas is cutting public services. The state Supreme Court has ordered lawmakers to restore funding to poor school districts, saying that the spending levels they enacted were so low as to be unconstitutional. But given the state’s revenue problems, the way that the legislature is going about correcting the underfunding problem simply takes money away from other schools that need it.
Looks like they will have to cut more taxes for the wealthy. That should fix it.