April 23, 2016

Remember, Kansas Republicans supported Brownback’s economy-destroying tax cuts since trickle-down Sam started pushing them as Kansas’ salvation in 2011, and they have had no problem making drastic government cuts to preserve them.

He said no consideration should be given to repealing an income tax break given owners – not employees – of 330,000 businesses in Kansas. “I do not believe it would be useful to have a debate about raising taxes on small business or anyone else”, he said in a prepared statement.

House and Senate members were aware an income tax exemption given to business owners and income tax reductions adopted for individuals, fused with troubling trends in the oil, agriculture and manufacturing sectors, signaled a need to soften the forecast.

Former Budget Director Duane Goossen, now senior fellow at KCEG, said if the Brownback tax cuts hadn’t passed, the state would be collecting more than $1 billion of additional tax revenue per year.

A third option calls for a 3 percent to 5 percent spending cut for most state agencies in the coming fiscal year. Kansas uses that tobacco money each year for the Kansas Children’s Initiative. None of them include revisiting the state’s business income tax exemptions that are the underlying cause of this problem. The plan would cut spending to public schools, universities and most state agencies by almost $140 million.“There’s a prevailing mood among Republicans that he’s got to own this”, said state Senator Anthony Hensley, the Democratic minority leader.

About a month ago, NY published a good piece arguing that the Republican Party “must answer for what it did to Kansas.” “Democrats stand ready to chart a new path forward”, he said.” Unfortunately, unprecedented and unaffordable tax policy continues to wreck our state’s prospects”.

The common denominators among the options are sales tax sweeps from the Kansas Department of Transportation of $185 million over the next two years and the continuation of 3% cuts to the state’s Regents institutions. He also said the House would identify budget solutions “with a broad, clear-headed view of the actual situation”.

State officials, legislative researchers and university economists met Wednesday to draft revised projections for tax collections through June 2017. “Millions short on our estimates”. As an alternative to the tobacco-money plan, Sullivan said, lawmakers could delay $99 million in payments to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System until fiscal year 2018. WSU now has a freeze on all non-critical spending, including anything that is not absolutely required to keep the university running.

The Kansas City Star reported last week, however, that job growth in the state over the last 12 months was 0.0%. Here’s the problem, we haven’t hit the bottom on the tax cut yet. He excluded from that cut the network of community and technical colleges. Unless he is recalled or impeached, Brownback will not face any repercussions, electoral or otherwise, like Republicans in the legislature who are as guilty as the governor of destroying Kansas’ economy over trickle down tax cuts. Brownback’s strategy for delivering a “shot of adrenaline” to the economy didn’t significantly move the dial, but the governor narrowly won re-election in November 2014. Oh, and instead of rocketing growth Kansas has actually underperformed neighboring states. “It will be interesting to see whether Democrats and enough Republicans have the courage to balance budgets by moving Kansas from being morbidly inefficient to grossly inefficient, or if they will choose to inflict more unnecessary tax increases on citizens”, Trabert said.

Annie McKay, Executive Director of the non-partisan Kansas Center for Economic Growth defended the estimating process. Despite all the bad decisions that the Legislature has made to provide cover for the governor’s economic policies – cutting important programs, shorting pension payments, borrowing from and bonding highway funds, to name a few – there’s an even more destructive and reprehensible maneuver on the table: Selling off future tobacco settlement payments for a one-time lump sum payment to raise cash now. After the state has done damage to its highways, schools and others structures that will take a generation or more to fix? In November, the state backed off tax estimates.

Read more from the Farraguter here.

Lisa OwenFARRAGUTER: New Kansas revenue forecast expected to spur budget changes