It has long been a tenet of Republican economic orthodoxy that cutting taxes increases revenues. But as the people of Kansas are now discovering, that isn’t necessarily true and will instead mean steep cuts in state funding for public education in the Hawkeye State.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced earlier this week that it will be necessary to slash nearly $45 million from education just to keep the state solvent for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in June. K-12 funding will be cut by 1.5 percent while universities will see their coffers reduced by 2 percent. Brownback, as is all too typical of a man who has seen his plans fail miserably, tried to spin the cuts by saying it was time for spending on education to be controlled:
“The dramatic increase in state education funding that has occurred over the last four years is unsustainable. School districts are estimated to have approximately $381 million in reserve fund balances to help them offset the smaller than expected increase in state funding.”
During his first term as governor, Brownback and his cronies in the Republican-controlled state legislature dramatically cut taxes for the wealthy while promising the reductions would lift Kansas out of recession and bring prosperity for all. That promise now sounds both hollow and more than a little disingenuous. As a result of Brownback’s failed economicstrategy, the state has seen its debt downgraded, little or no growth, and massive budget shortfalls. Just last month Brownback told Kansans it would be necessary to raise taxes on liquor and cigarettes so the state can attempt to balance its books.
It will probably not surprise you to learn that Brownback still thinks tax cuts can deliver economic prosperity to Kansas, and in his State of the State address last month, Brownback again praised the massive income tax cuts he made during his first term.
Much like Nero did for Rome, Sam Brownback is fiddling while Kansas burns.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org