Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kansas --- Brownback and his administration are taking the state down the toilet

There's nothing but bad news in Kansas on revenue and their economy:

Kansas tax revenue $11.2 million less than expected in March

Weak sales, corporate income and oil tax revenue to blame

Tax revenue to the state of Kansas slipped $11.2 million below estimates in March, state officials said Tuesday.
Collection of sales, corporate income, and oil and gas severance taxes fell below forecasts developed by state officials in November. Projections were revised downward at that time to reflect diminished optimism about the state’s short-term economic future.

House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said sweeping state income tax reductions were marketed by the Republican-led Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback as a “shot of adrenaline” to the heart of Kansas’ economy. After three years, Burroughs said, the GOP’s tax policy had been exposed as “more like an ax wound.”
“Kansas continues to bleed revenue as is evident by this month’s numbers," he said. "How we resolve this issue remains unknown as the legislative session is nearly over and we haven’t seen a comprehensive balanced budget.”

State revenue has fallen hundreds of millions of dollars since implementation of legislation approved by the 2012 Legislature and Brownback to repeal state income tax on owners of more than 300,000 businesses and to reduce individual income tax rates.
Kansas is in such bad shape, unable to manage the minimally necessary safety maintenance on its infrastructure that the state is starting to fall down in rubble.  You can be confident that the Republican majorities at the Federal level are doing the same slighting of infrastructure; they won't make up the gaps.  From the Wichita Business Journal:

No April Fools' Day Joke: 2,416 of Kansas's Bridges Need Structural Repair, New Analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation Data Finds

Federal Highway & Bridge Funding Facing May 31 Deadline

The analysis of the federal government data, conducted by American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, shows cars, trucks and school buses cross Kansas's 2,416 structurally compromised bridges 787,632 times every day.  Not surprisingly, the most heavily traveled are on the Interstate Highway System, which carries the bulk of truck traffic and passenger vehicles

The ARTBA analysis of the bridge data supplied by the states to the U.S. DOT also found:
  • Kansas ranks 7th place nationally in the number of structurally deficient bridges—2,416.
  • Kansas ranks 22nd place in the percentage of its bridges that are classified as structurally deficient—10 percent.

Sam Brownback's policies are literally jeopardizing the safety of Kansas citizens and anyone traveling in or through Kansas.

Sam Brownback has promised his policies would work given time.  The architect of those policies is failed Reaganomics trickle-down economist Arthur Laffer - famous, or infamous, for the Laffer curve.

Here is what Laffer was saying back in January 2015, and in 2012.
Back in August 2012, Laffer told a crowd at the Johnson County Community College, if Kansas would slash its income tax rates, it would result in “enormous prosperity.”
He told a reporter at the time that he had not produced an economic model on when Kansas will notice meaningful economic growth.
Two-and-a-half years later, Kansas is staring at a budget crisis, with more than a billion dollar gap between revenues and expenses projected in the current and next budget years. The state is also experiencing a low private job growth rate, as well as a slow-growing economy.
In a 45-minute phone interview, Laffer said while he is “not surprised,” he didn’t know why the deficits have occurred. He still believes adamantly in his supply-side economic theory: If you reduce income taxes, you will raise more revenue, not less.

...The 74-year-old former economist for President Ronald Reagan, who remains controversial among mainstream economists, was paid $75,000 to consult with Brownback and his staff before the tax-cut legislation passed in 2012. Some say Laffer was the inspiration for the Kansas tax-cut plan, if not its architect.
He has stayed in touch with Brownback. Laffer told me the two talked just before the November election.

Read more here:
No one in Kansas is laughing.  The state is swirling around on its final go-around down the crapper.  Kansas is severely under-performing the economies of adjoining states and the national averages, while facing a continuing severe revenue shortfall.  While Laffer -- and presumably Brownback -- want to wait to see results in ten years, the state doesn't have that long.  Further, there is ZERO evidence that following this economic model and policies will EVER produce the desired results.

These are the same policies touted in other red states, and by conservatives at the federal government level.  NEVER have these policies produced the promised economic results.  What they do produce is a more rapidly expanding instability from the enormously widening chasm of wealth and income inequality.

Like fictional cartoon figure Bullwinkle the Moose,  Governor Brownback continues with the line "this time, for sure!", believed only by the most gullible, the most credulous, and possibly a handful of toddlers.

The latest news refutes the promises and claims made by Brownback.

As noted by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:
  • The tax cuts delivered lopsided benefits to the wealthy.  Kansas’ tax cuts didn’t benefit everyone.  Most of the benefits went to high-income households.  Kansas even raised taxes for low-income families to offset a portion of the revenue loss; otherwise the cuts to schools and other services would have been greater still.
  • Kansas’ tax cuts haven’t boosted its economy.  Since the tax cuts took effect at the beginning of 2013, Kansas has added jobs at a pace modestly slower than the country as a whole.  The earnings and incomes of Kansans have performed slightly worse than the U.S. as a whole as well.  (An exception is farmers, whose incomes improved as the state recovered from a drought.)  And so far there’s no evidence that Kansas is enjoying exceptional business growth: the number of registered business grew more slowly last year than in 2012, and the state’s share of all U.S. business establishments fell over the first three quarters of last year, the latest data available.
  • There’s little evidence to suggest that Kansas’ tax cuts will improve its economy in the future.  No one knows for certain how Kansas’ economy will perform in the years ahead, but it isn’t likely to stand out from other states.  The latest official state revenue forecast, from November 2013, projects Kansas personal income will grow more slowly than total national personal income in 2014 and 2015.[1]
Evidence from other states and academic studies casts further doubt on claims that the tax cuts will cause the state’s economy to boom.  States that cut taxes the most in the 1990s performed worse, on average, over the course of the next economic cycle than states that were more prudent.[2]  And the academic literature overwhelmingly finds that states with lower personal income taxes perform no better economically than their peers.[3]

It's not just Kansas; every other Republican administered state with Republican majority or super-majority legislatures that emulated these policies is having similar problems.  Conservative Economics, like Republican Math, DO NOT WORK.  Today from Yahoo Finance News:

Why State Tax Cuts Aren’t Driving Job Growth
But the dramatic tax cutting doesn’t appear to have done nearly as much for job growth as promised. 
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that Wisconsin ranked 35th of the 50 states in job growth during the first three years of Scott Walker’s term, and dead last among its immediate neighbors, including, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio.
Kansas hasn’t fared much better. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the state’s rate of job growth has lagged the national average since Brownback’s tax cuts took effect.
North Carolina, at least, matched the national average in job creation in 2013. But the total number of jobs added to the state’s economy in the second half of the year – when the tax cuts went into effect, was actually smaller than the total number added in 2012.
Repeat after me: REPUBLICAN ECONOMIC POLICIES SUCK, THEY DO NOT WORK, THEY DO NOT DELIVER AS PROMISED.  And if you're planning to travel to any of these red states, you might want to find routes that don't require any kind of bridge crossing.  That is, just to be on the safe side.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if Minnesota voters are know realizing that having divided government can only work if the managing party is Democrat.

    Last term, Minnesota was managed by the DFL -both House and Senate plus Governor ... there were arguments, but things got done.
    Now, after voters decided not to participate in the 2014 elections, the MN-GOP took over the House ... who have offered some pretty crazy ideas (and that's not talking about guns or religious issues).

    Now, look at Kansas and Indiana where the GOP is firmly in control ... now my numbers may be dated, but I believe that in Kansas the Republicans control the House 97-28 and the Senate 32-8. In Indiana, the Republicans control the House 71-28 and the Senate 40-10. Both states have Republican governors.

    That's why every day I say a prayer for Barack Obama ... in three months the Republican-controlled Congress has proven that they cannot do anything ... with a near-shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, growing, bitter angst over foreign policy, and abortion politics sinking a bipartisan sex-trafficking bill and delaying a vote on replacing Attorney General Holder (who they hate with a passion ... yet, they won't allow a vote on his replacement.)
    What they have accomplished is to present President Obama with legislation to be vetoed ... Keystone and NRLB ... in three months, he has recorded as many vetoes than in the first six years of his term.

    I hope people learn lessons from that Republicans cannot manage anything.