On Wednesday, Brownback and Kansans found out that the state’sApril revenue collections had fallen $92 million short of forecasts
The state has a “sluggish” economy compared with its peers, Moody’s said, in a decision that will cost state taxpayers money because of higher future borrowing costs linked to the lower rating.
Sure, these events are great political news for Brownback’s probable opponent, Democrat Paul Davis, in this fall’s election.
It’s expected news for all those who have said for more than a year that huge and irresponsible tax cuts backed by Brownback and the GOP-controlled Legislature would be a financial disaster for the state. All of the warnings they have been issuing before and since the tax cuts took effect in early 2013 are coming true.
But you know who’s really hurt the most by the downgrade and the revenue shortfall?
The people of Kansas.
They are the ones whose state-financed services are at risk of being reduced.
That’s true when it comes to K-12 education, higher education or social assistance for people with disabilities.
Kansans who are enrolled in the underfunded state pension system are at risk.
Bottom line: The state’s very future has now been imperiled because of a radical tax experiment by ultra-conservatives in charge of the Legislature, many of whom Brownback helped put there.
UPDATE 1:45 PM: Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday
that he would veto a tax-cut bill approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, partly because it threatens the state’s fiscal soundness.
Brownback and his administration and supporters looked foolish on Wednesday, when they blamed President Barack Obama for the large revenue shortfall.
Huh? Most other states are not having near the problems that Kansas is having, contrary to a hasty press release the administration cobbled together to explain the shortfall.
And just last week,the Kansas Division of Budget and the Kansas Legislative Research Department had increased
the state’s overall budget estimates.
There was no mention of Obama being responsible for that positive news, by the way.
More than ever, the people of Kansas are being punished for the reckless decisions made by Brownback and the Legislature.
It’s time to pull the plug on the tax cuts — although that’s something which won’t happen until there’s a new governor and some different lawmakers in Topeka.