Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, July 14, 2014

Michael Hiltzik: Sam Brownback, the Republican governor of Kansas, doesn't just believe in whistling past the graveyard -- he's willing to stroll past it in full-throated song. The graveyard is where the economy of Kansas has been buried since 2012, when Brownback and his Republican state legislature enacted a slew of deep tax cuts in a tea party-esque quest for economic "freedom." "Our new pro-growth tax policy will be like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy," he promised then. Brownback's tax consultant, the supply-side guru Art Laffer, promised Kansans that the cuts would pay for themselves in supercharged economic growth. Brownback resorted to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago to declare that "the early results are impressive." Among other statistics he cited, "In the past year, a record number of small businesses -- more than 15,000 -- were formed."

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Brownback's tax policy came right out of the conservative playbook. His 2012 package cut the top two personal income tax rates from 6.45% (on income over $60,000) and 6.25% (on income between $30,000 and $60,000) to 4.9%. The rate on income under $30,000 was pared to 3% from 3.5%. Pass-through business income was made fully tax-exempt. The law increased the standard deduction, but also eliminated several tax credits that assisted the poor.

More tax changes were enacted last year. The top rate was cut to 3.9% in stages through 2018. But other cuts were reversed; much of a sales tax reduction was canceled, and the standard deduction was cut back, effectively raising taxes for the middle- and working-class.

In all, as the CBPP documents, the changes will cut the taxes of the wealthiest 1% of Kansans by 2.2%. The poorest 20% of Kansans will see their taxes rise by 1.3%.

The impact on overall state revenue has been devastating. Despite Laffer's prediction, the state ended fiscal 2014 with a shortfall of $338 million.

The promised growth, is supposedly just around the corner.

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Also see www.kansascity.com

#1 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-13 11:04 AM | Reply | Flag:

George Bush Sr. called Reagan's "trickle down economics" voodoo economics Then Mr Hollywood offered-bribed Bush with the Vice President slot to JUST SHUT UP

#2 | Posted by SammyAZ_RI at 2014-07-13 11:50 AM | Reply | Flag:

We are sinking big time here in Kansas

#3 | Posted by LarryMohr at 2014-07-13 12:29 PM | Reply | Flag:

Forgot the following paragraph:

Despite all this, Brownback resorted to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago to declare that "the early results are impressive." Among other statistics he cited, "In the past year, a record number of small businesses -- more than 15,000 -- were formed."

Yes, but as shown by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington economic think tank, 16,000 disappeared. And many of those businesses that Brownback crowed about were surely created to take advantage of one of the tax-cut quirks Brownback enacted. This is the elimination of all taxes on partnerships, sole proprietorships, and LLCs that pass through their tax liabilities to their owners. That allows everyone from freelancers and petty contractors to huge partnerships to avoid any state income tax at all, as long as they're organized as a certain type of "small business."

#4 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-13 12:31 PM | Reply | Flag:

The best part is that they blame Obama.

#5 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-13 05:10 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

The best part is that they blame Obama.

Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-13 05:10 PM | Reply

Yeah that's all we hear from the Brownback clan. Blame Obama.

#6 | Posted by LarryMohr at 2014-07-13 05:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

Whereabouts in Kansas are you LM? I'm in Kansas City, MO.

#7 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-13 06:08 PM | Reply | Flag:

Whereabouts in Kansas are you LM? I'm in Kansas City, MO.

Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-13 06:08 PM | Reply

Central Kansas.

#8 | Posted by LarryMohr at 2014-07-13 06:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

I feel like the Mid-West is not a place where you can place the burden on the people. The average person needs every penny. But the wealthy here are really wealthy. They don't need to get a hand-out. Their plan hurts so many people while it doesn't really help the rich.

The school situation is where real damage is going on. If the schools aren't good, nothing can work.

#9 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-13 06:23 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Central Kansas.

#8 | Posted by LarryMohr

I have a sister that lives in Great Bend.

#10 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-07-13 09:45 PM | Reply | Flag:

I have a sister that lives in Great Bend.

Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-07-13 09:45 PM | Reply

I have a lot of My Family who lives in and around Great Bend.

#11 | Posted by LarryMohr at 2014-07-13 10:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

Everyone knows that trickle down is a fantasy. Anyone who is still pushing these days is intentionally deceiving.

#12 | Posted by Sully at 2014-07-14 10:38 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

If the schools aren't good, nothing can work.

#9 | POSTED BY BRUCEBANNER AT 2014-07-13 06:23 PM | FLAG:

By decimating school budgets, the right can them scream that public education doesn't work and push vouchers for religious indoctrination.

#13 | Posted by 726 at 2014-07-14 11:31 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

"By decimating school budgets, the right can them scream that public education doesn't work and push vouchers for religious indoctrination."

yes but that won't accomplish much in Kansas because you'd have to drive 100+ miles in any one direction from many places there to find anything other than a public school.

I agree....vouches won't solve any problems....at least not in Kansas. I won't speak for inner city St. Louis or some place like that.

#14 | Posted by eberly at 2014-07-14 11:35 AM | Reply | Flag:

Once the cash spigot opens up, they will flock to Kansas as fast as they can to get in on that gubmint cash.

#15 | Posted by 726 at 2014-07-14 03:44 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

my solution is to get hit in the head by a piece of flying tornado debris, dream of oz, steal a pair of ruby slippers, talking apple trees, flying monkeys, horse of a different color, and a burnt stump of a flying broom and then sell them for big bucks on ebay...

then again, wake up, and never trust a politician with a last name that is effectively a synonym for --------- interruptus...

#16 | Posted by NerfHerder at 2014-07-14 09:42 PM | Reply | Flag:

Two Words.... Indian Casinos

www.sacandfoxcasino.com

#17 | Posted by Pegasus at 2014-07-14 11:30 PM | Reply | Flag:

Never fear, Kansas. The blue states will continue to subsidize you as they always have.

#18 | Posted by DCTexan at 2014-07-15 12:56 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Notice how Rethugs never let a fact get in the way of their fairytale.

#19 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-07-15 09:29 AM | Reply | Flag:

The school situation is where real damage is going on. If the schools aren't good, nothing can work.
#9 | POSTED BY BRUCEBANNER

By decimating school budgets, the right can them scream that public education doesn't work and push vouchers for religious indoctrination.
#13 | POSTED BY 726

But they aren't being decimated, education spending by any measure is up over 2009, when you take out the federal funding which has decreased. Brownback has increased contributions to the state's pension system and capital improvement aid for districts, well over the 2009 numbers.

I don't have much details about the budget, but its at the same level of deficit as predicted, or within 10%

#20 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-07-15 09:36 AM | Reply | Flag:

It's not as bad as it's being reported. We've had a ton of jobs created in the oil industry. Many many small towns are steamrolling ahead with huge tax $$$ to work with.

Yes, the state income tax cut happened and I'm sure it's been done to lower the burden of the state govt. Yes, school funding has been cut but the understanding is that counties will just raise up their mill levys to shore up the difference.

Schools aren't starving, counties/cities are doing fine.

The LA times doesn't give a crap about Kansas anyway except to make an argument against anything that is not a progressive tax increase to fix everyone's problems.

I'm no Brownback fan and I'm not stumping for his tax plan.....I'm just saying that things in Kansas are not as full of misery you are all hoping for.

#21 | Posted by eberly at 2014-07-15 09:49 AM | Reply | Flag:

Here is a better article that attempts to objectively score all of Brownback's claims......

www.kansascity.com

#22 | Posted by eberly at 2014-07-15 09:56 AM | Reply | Flag:

Eb; Read your own link.

In fiscal year 2009 -- the last fiscal year before the recession and before federal stimulus spending began -- Kansas spent $4,400 in base state aid per pupil. Next year it will spend $3,852 per student.

But taxpayers spend more on schools than just the basic per-pupil rate. Brownback argues that when all state aid for education is counted, the total state investment per pupil in fiscal year 2015 will be $7,175. That's $10 per pupil more than fiscal year 2009.

Brownback's additional school spending can be almost completely attributed to increased contributions to the state's pension system and capital improvement aid for districts, not on teacher salaries, books or other operational costs.

When pension spending and capital aid are subtracted, state support for Kansas schools was roughly $100 million higher in fiscal year 2009 than in fiscal year 2014.

#23 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-15 11:16 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

They're counting the pension contribution twice - once as a pension contribution, then as school funding.

In your own link nothing the Governor says is ranked as true. Not one thing.

I can say that this is a direction that you don't want the state to go in. The problem is that these things will only get worse. Due to the balanced budget requirement, severe cuts are on the horizon.

#24 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-07-15 11:20 AM | Reply | Flag:

Bruce, Brownback is shifting a portion of school funding back to counties in the mill levy. This is a trade off from the cut in income taxes.

It is right? I don't know. Education needs to be funded and if you are going to cut state funding because you cut income taxes, they have to be made up somewhere.

#25 | Posted by eberly at 2014-07-15 11:24 AM | Reply | Flag:

In what way is this a stimulus when the tax burden is simply shifted from State to local Government? The big picture appears to be tax relief for Corporations and the wealthy, additional tax burden for workers. This is consistent with all ------ policy.

#26 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-07-15 11:36 AM | Reply | Flag:

"In what way is this a stimulus when the tax burden is simply shifted from State to local Government?"

I don't think it is.

We Kansans have differing opinions of the effect of this but nobody I know calls it a "stimulus".

#27 | Posted by eberly at 2014-07-15 11:42 AM | Reply | Flag:

I don't know if these deep tax cuts will be good for Kansas in long-run or not. But, IMHO, this really is not a conservative route to take.

(1) Federal taxes and the federal government over-reaching authority needs to be slashed, but states, well I tend to think they should have more power. I would rather pay more taxes to my state then the federal government. Individuals have great power on the state level and practically zero power on the federal level.

(2) Slashing taxes without cutting the budget seems unwise.

(3) Slashing taxes so rapidly also seems unwise. There are always unforeseen consequences from any government action, and I believe the smaller the action the less unforeseen consequences.

#28 | Posted by danv at 2014-07-15 08:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

Where are the usual suspects to blame Obama for this? Most damning was the graph showing Kansas, US average employment, and California's. OUCH. To me, the most important omission is the implication that California's and Texas' growth are fueled (ha) by two completely different factors. Texas growth is definitely because of oil and gas drilling and the continued, inflated price of oil. There's no California Miracle, but there certainly isn't a Texas Miracle, either.

#29 | Posted by e1g1 at 2014-07-15 11:23 PM | Reply | Flag:

Yes, school funding has been cut but the understanding is that counties will just raise up their mill levys to shore up the difference.

Maybe somebody should point out to Brownback that there is only one taxpayer. Typical conservative thinking. Cut taxes at one level to make yourself look good then force some other level to make up for it.

#30 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-07-16 08:54 PM | Reply | Flag:

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