With the state budget forecast to have a 400 million dollar shortfall, Kansas Republicans are finally acknowledging that the massive GOP tax cuts approved under Governor Sam Brownback have not generated the revenue Republican lawmakers promised. The right-wing Kansas Legislature is now contemplating the unthinkable — raising taxes to plug the budget hole.
The legislature which passed drastic tax cuts in 2012 is now scrambling to find ways to undo the damage their shortsighted approach has inflicted upon the state’s economy and its services. Republicans are acknowledging that they can no longer cut their way to growth, having already taken the budget ax to state pensions, public schools, and government programs.
Republican Senator Les Donovan (Wichita) admitted the failure of the GOP’s tax cuts, stating:
We hoped they would just be a magic lantern and everybody would react to it. But, eh, it’s hard to get a company to uproot their business when they’re established and move to another place just because of this difference in tax policy.
Expecting the tax cuts to work like rubbing a magic lantern reveals the faith-based nature of the Republican Party’s dogmatic adherence to cutting taxes for the wealthy to stimulate economic growth and bring in revenue. They believe in the policy, not because it has worked before, but because they hope it will work like a “magic lantern”. Yet, in Kansas, Republicans are now discovering that there is no such thing as magic when it comes to operating the state’s budget.
The Kansas legislature is working overtime trying to find a fix for the state’s budget crisis. Ironically, each extra day the legislature is in session, an additional 40,000 dollars is added to the financial burden shouldered by Kansas taxpayers. On Saturday, the legislature entered its tenth day over the normal 90-day legislative session, and lawmakers were still trying to work out a solution to the state’s financial emergency.
Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his Tea Party sycophants in the Kansas legislature have insisted for the past several years that tax cuts for the rich would usher in an economic utopia. They envisioned businesses flocking to the state to take advantage of low taxes spurring an economic boom. Instead, the state has fallen on hard times, with massive budget shortfalls triggering savage cuts to education and social services. Even many Republicans are now acknowledging that their policy has been an economic disaster. With much reluctance, those Republicans are now putting tax increases on the table, having exhausted all other options to fill the massive budget hole their shortsighted policies created.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.