Throughout the last couple of years there has been nothing but bad economic news coming out of Kansas that just continues getting more distressing. Of course it began in 2011 when then newly-elected Governor Sam Brownback conspired with trickle-down economist Arthur Laffer to create “a conservative economic Utopia” founded on tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Laffer guaranteed that cutting government to the bone and giving unfunded tax cuts to the rich would engender increased economic growth, deliver more revenue, and create jobs as a model for the entire nation to envy.
By now it’s really old news that Brownback and Laffer’s tax cut mania was, and still is, a catastrophic failure, but it is unfair to place all the blame on the governor. The Republican majority state legislature was fully behind Brownback’s trickle down cuts from the start; not so much to grow the economy and create jobs, but to cut government down to a size they could drown in a bathtub.
Now, however, there is a monumental rift between Brownback and Republicans in the legislature who are in open revolt over Brownback’s tax cuts during an election year. The legislature’s Republicans are openly refusing to help Brownback slash any more government spending just so he can avoid rolling back even one of his signature tax measures.
Apparently, the Republicans aren’t kidding either. They are saying, loudly and very publicly, that “If Brownback won’t reconsider any of the tax cuts, he will have to figure out for himself how to balance the budget in the face of disappointing revenue.” When lawmakers return from a paid vacation (recess) later this month, if trickle down Sam refuses to rescind some of his precious tax cuts, the Republicans will follow through on their threat, adjourn and forget the budget, and leave the governor with the full authority to slash and burn education, transportation spending, government agencies, and wipe out social services as is his wont.
The Kansas Senate’s President Susan Wagle, a strong conservative Republican from Wichita, said that while most Republican legislators still support low taxes, they want “to see some real solutions coming from the governor’s office. We’re growing weary.”
Another one-time Brownback acolyte, Republican Representative Mark Hutton said, “Let him own it. It’s his policy that put us there.”
And, one of Brownback’s fiercest conservative supporters and trickle down allies, Republican Senator Jim Denning, is now a critic and claims this years-long “budget turmoil has been just amateurish. I’m not happy with how things played out.”
It is noteworthy that the same Republicans were in a state of thrall over the devastating tax cuts and slashing government services as recently as a few months ago. One suspects there is more electoral self-preservation and posturing going on with Kansas Republicans than regard for the state of Kansas’ economy or its residents. Remember, Kansas Republicans supported Brownback’s economy-destroying tax cuts since trickle-down Sam started pushing them as Kansas’ salvation in 2011, and they have had no problem making drastic government cuts to preserve them.
The likely scenario is that Republicans are worried about approving any further social services, transportation, government and education cuts during an election year. Every Senate and House seat is on the ballot in November and the voters are well aware it has been Brownback and Republicans destroying the state to preserve tax cuts for the privileged few.
One thing is certain; Brownback is not worried and could not care less about an election because his only concern is preserving tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Sam Brownback “will not have his name on the ballot again before leaving office in January 2019.” Unless he is recalled or impeached, Brownback will not face any repercussions, electoral or otherwise, like Republicans in the legislature who are as guilty as the governor of destroying Kansas’ economy over trickle down tax cuts.
Brownback still will not acknowledge that the only reason Kansas’ tax revenue vanished is because the state cut the source of tax revenue; taxes. Of course he is well aware of why the state is lacking in revenue, but as is par for “accountability driven” Republicans, Brownback blames everything else; it’s not his or the Republican legislature’s fault.
As is his trickle down habit, Brownback continued his normal response to calls for fiscal sanity, this time from his one-time supporters. It is no surprise that as he has reliably rejected earlier calls from Democrats to “at the very least scale back the tax cuts” to save the state, he is not about to change gears now.
It was reported that Brownback blew off a chance to explain his response to the lawmakers’ unusual demand and threat until new revenue projections are released; even though he knows they will be just as devastating as they have been since he cut revenue. The governor’s spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley said Brownback will release his proposals for balancing the budget sometime later, but she assured anyone within earshot that “a plan to raise taxes on businesses or anyone else will not be among them.”
In typical Republican fashion, instead of taking responsibility for the devastating revenue drops due to his trickle down tax cuts, Brownback blamed the state’s economic catastrophe on everything but tax cuts. He claims Kansas is starving for revenue not because of tax cuts, but because of “slumps in agriculture, energy production and aircraft manufacturing. And some global issues that are going on that we have absolutely no control over.”
Brownback is a slimy cretin and one wonders how stupid or isolated from reality he thinks Kansas voters really are. The nation as a whole is and has been experiencing steady economic growth throughout the duration of Brownback’s Kansas disaster despite the “global issues” he blames. And, in a Democratic-controlled state like California that depends on agriculture, energy production and aircraft manufacturing, the economy is simply thriving and providing yearly budget surpluses; despite the same “global issues” Brownback says are decimating poor lowly Kansas’ economy.
This is the second time in less than a week that a Republican governor thumbed his nose at his own Republican legislature. Just this week Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed a unanimously-passed Republican bill because it helped the poor. And now, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is refusing to even consider appeals from his own Republican legislature to roll back some of the trickle down tax cuts that are driving the state into bankruptcy.
It will be interesting to follow the Kansas Republicans’ open revolt against Brownback, but it seems reasonable that the day after the November general election, the rebellion will cease and Republicans will support any cuts to programs and taxes their hero trickle down Sam demands; all because Kansas voters are ignorant, inordinately religious, and susceptible to Kansas’ Republicans not-so-secret October surprise; the fetus.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.