March 2, 2016
Kansans looking at their paychecks couldn’t be blamed for wondering when, if ever, the supposed windfall from state tax cuts is going to show up.
It’s plain to see that Kansas’ personal income growth has slowed since the tax cuts took place. Today, Kansas ranks near the bottom of the nation in that category. And that’s no surprise, because the occupations that have added the most jobs since the tax cuts haven’t seen much wage growth. In many cases, they don’t pay enough to get a family of three above the federal poverty line.
One thing repeatedly mentioned by defenders of the tax cuts is that they would stimulate Kansas’ economy and leave everyone’s wallets fatter than before. Upon further investigation, though, that is simply not the case. In the three years before the tax cuts, Kansas’ personal income growth was fifth in the region and was beating the nationwide growth average. Since the tax cuts, Kansas has dropped to sixth in the region and was overtaken by the U.S. average. You might say a drop from fifth to sixth isn’t that dramatic, but keep in mind the tax cuts promised big gains, not small declines.
In fact, the dimensions of the decline can be seen more starkly by a national comparison. Kansas was 12th nationally in personal income growth before the tax cuts and is now 41st. That’s not a small decline.
Disappointing income growth is related to the types of jobs Kansas is growing. Job growth is greatest in work that pays too little for families to make ends meet. Here are the facts:
This information shows what a bad job the tax cuts have done in delivering shared prosperity. Kansas’ personal income has grown after the tax cuts, but is slow relative to the region and the nation. And whatever growth in income that is occurring sure isn’t going to hard-working Kansans who struggle to make ends meet. So if you are waiting to see the economic boost from Kansas tax cuts in your pocket, it could be a while – a long while.