Governor Sam Brownback is a conservative ideologue who has completely bought into the Republican mantra on “small government, low taxation, small government, low taxation, ommmmm.” He blithely drove his state into a ditch by enacting a brain dead economic plan that just continued gleefully digging the hole deeper as the state saw massive budget imbalances, credit rating downturns, school closings, etc.
Last year, a group of researchers from Indiana University, the University of South Carolina, and the U.S. Treasury examined Brownback’s tax cuts and concluded there was scant evidence they had led to any additional economic growth. Instead, the “primary effect of the policy” was to cost the state tax revenue by encouraging business owners to relabel their earnings as business profits. The budget fallout was so bad that economists from the conservative Tax Foundation warned Kansas legislators that their ill-considered experiment was hurting the cause of “tax reform”—i.e. tax cuts—nationwide.
There just didn’t seem to be any hope for Kansas because it’s such a red bastion, in fact as it was circling the toilet other states with GOP governors around it were planning to go the same way.
Well, Republicans in Kansas work up from the Reagan spell, smelled the massive deficits and decided not to enable mad scientist Brownback to complete his monster.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in Topeka finally ended their costly misadventure in supply-side economics, when the GOP-dominated Legislature voted by wide margins to override a veto by Gov. Sam Brownback and reverse the massive tax cuts he championed in 2012. Kansas has faced chronic budget deficits and struggled with disappointing job growth during the half-decade since Brownback signed the reductions into law—a grinding fiscal disaster that turned the state into a poster child for conservative policy thinking gone awry and gradually stirred a rebellion among members of the governor’s own party. They were finally spurred to act by a $900 million, two-year shortfall, as well as a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to revamp the spending formula for its underfunded public schools.
Hopefully, national Republicans will take the hint and finally figure out that their mantra only destroys, it doesn’t build. But I’m not holding my breath.