This Conservative Anti-Tax Utopia Is Imploding

Two weeks after the delusional Gov. Sam Brownback proclaimed in a radio interview that Kansas’ experiment in supply-side economics was “working,” the latest batch of numbers from the Sunflower State further put the lie to the governor’s assertion.

State figures released Tuesday showed that tax revenue came in $11.2 million below expectations in March, the latest in a string of lower-than-expected tax receipts.

Lawmakers must fill a $344 million revenue shortfall by June, and Brownback has moved to plug Kansas’ fiscal hole by slashing education funding, gutting the state’s pension fund and cutting infrastructure. Additionally, the governor has proposed new sales taxes, which disproportionately impact the poor, in order to proceed full steam ahead with his income tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

While personal income tax revenue was above expectations last month, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports that revenues from oil and gas sales and corporate income taxes were well short of what analysts had projected, largely owing to a state economy whose performance is less robust than the Brownback administration had predicted. Given that Brownback aims to eventually eliminate income taxes, the state will depend on those other sources of revenue in the years to come.

The administration’s spin is that things aren’t quite as disastrous as a year ago, when Kansas began attracting national attention amid its revenue freefall. Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan rejoiced that revenue is now $40 million higher than it was at this point a year ago; his analysts, however, had forecast that it would be more than $50 million higher.

“Kansas continues to bleed revenue as is evident by this month’s numbers,” Democratic House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs told the Capital-Journal. ”How we resolve this issue remains unknown as the legislative session is nearly over and we haven’t seen a comprehensive balanced budget.”

Brownback’s latest effort to clean up the mess his tax created came last week, as he signed an education funding bill that will reduce contributions to poor districts and cut $51 million in aid to districts overall. Prior to Brownback’s most recent round of education cuts, Kansas had already imposed some of the largest cuts in the nation.

Those 423,666 votes to re-elect Brownback sure are looking great right now.


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