The Buzz

March 27, 2014

New study rips Kansas tax cuts, economic growth

The Washington-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities claims tax cuts were unfair, unwise, and haven’t brought growth. Republicans will sharply disagree.

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A Washington-based think tank on Thursday declared major tax cuts in Kansas a failure, a finding quickly denounced by Gov. Sam Brownback’s



Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

released a study claiming the tax cuts, passed in 2012, have hurt state programs, harmed the poor, and haven’t brought promised economic growth to the state.

“The tax cuts have landed with a thud,” said

Michael Leachman

, one of the authors of the report. “Kansas is going backwards.”


Eileen Hawley

, a spokeswoman for Brownback, questioned the study’s data, and said liberal bias affected the group’s conclusions.

Brownback has made the tax cuts a centerpiece of his first term in office.

“We have grown jobs, reduced unemployment and invested in education,” Hawley said in a statement, adding she wasn’t surprised that a “liberal think tank would take exception to the success of this Republican-driven red state model.”

The Center said the Brownback tax cuts, most of which became effective in January 2013, have significantly reduced revenue to the state. As a result, it said, Kansas has had to cut spending for schools and other services.

If the governor’s future recommendations are adopted, it said, Kansas will have cut per-pupil spending by 17 percent, adjusted for inflation, since the start of the recession.

The Brownback administration disputes that finding. It says spending for schools has actually increased, particularly when additional spending for teacher’s pensions is included in the calculation.

The Center also said the tax cuts have not helped bring jobs in the state. Job growth in Kansas in 2013, it said, slightly lagged behind the rest of the nation.

Brownback’s office responds by pointing to the state’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate, among the lowest in the nation. It also says business creation increased in the state in 2013.

The Missouri legislature is considering tax reductions similar to those in Kansas, and critics of that legislation used the Kansas study to bolster their case.

“Missourians deserve better than empty promises,” said

Amy Blouin

of the Missouri Budget Project.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calls itself non-partisan. It is generally considered a left-of-center think tank.

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