September 30, 2016
Missouri rich guy and conservative benefactor Rex Sinquefield was just on the radio, defending Kansas’ tax cuts.
But he got his facts wrong.
He cited a state Supreme Court spending mandate for increased school spending to explain the state’s budget deficit. That’s, he said, was the “biggest factor that affected their decline in revenues.”
Problem is, the court is considering a major school spending case, but that decision is not expected until later this year.
Here’s what Sinquefield said about criticism of Kansas’ 2012 tax cuts:
“This is the favorite pastime of leftists. They love to criticize Kansas. I tell them if you want to gloat, you better gloat now and gloat fast. Because pretty soon, your gloating days will be over.
“What happened to Kansas was just as their taxes were cut their Supreme Court mandated an additional $300 million in educational spending. And $300 million is a lot to the state of Missouri, but Missouri is a lot larger economically than Kansas is. So $300 million was quite a burden to the state of Kansas.
“And that put them in a temporary deficit. And that was the biggest factor that affected their decline in revenues. It had nothing to do with the tax cut. The tax cut is working as it should.”
A spokesman for Sinquefield said the businessman was referencing a bill from 2014 that provided $130 million — not $300 million — to ensure funding equity among school districts. The bill was passed in response to another Supreme Court ruling
Former Kansas budget director Duane Goossen says the tax cuts, not court rulings on school spending, are what put the state in a budget hole:
“In FY 2013, Kansas income tax receipts totaled a little over $2.9 billion. In a normal time, income tax receipts would rise each year, but in FY 2014, with the implementation of the tax cuts, income tax receipts dropped over $700 million to $2.2 billion,” Goossen told The Buzz.
“In FY 2015 and FY 2016 they stayed down at about $2.2 billion, and will almost certainly continue to stay at that level in FY 2017. A very large chunk of revenue has simply disappeared. That income tax drop immediately unbalanced the state budget. Revenue fell far below expenses.
“Kansas has only managed to scrape through these last years, by blowing through all of its reserves, taking large amounts of money from the highway fund, raising the sales tax, and making damaging program cuts.”