A new national report will not improve the mood of Gov. Sam Brownback or inspire confidence in the dwindling number of Kansans that his income tax-cut scheme is going to rev up the state’s economic engines.
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government’s study, released Thursday, is a factual and unbiased review of state revenue figures from across the country.
And it shows Kansas is doing poorly in revenue collections — and not just income taxes — versus most other states.
Here are the two big takeaways relative to Kansas, which in recent weeks has seen a beleaguered Brownback propose hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to education, roads and pensions.
▪ Kansas’ total tax collections for the fiscal year that ended in June 2014 were 2.6 percent below the fiscal year 2013 numbers.
That compares poorly to U.S. total tax collections, which were up 2.0 percent.
Kansas’ overall decline was the third worst in the nation. Only Alaska and Arizona suffered higher percentage losses in tax revenues.
The largest revenue setback for Kansas, of course, was in personal income taxes because of the cuts that took effect in early 2013. But the state’s sales tax revenues were also below the national average from one fiscal year to the next.
▪ Things aren’t looking up for the current fiscal year for Kansas.
For July through September, Kansas’ total tax revenues were 2.5 percent below the three-month period in 2013.
Meanwhile, the U.S. total tax revenues were up 4.4 percent.
Only three other states fared worse: Delaware, North Carolina and Alaska.
The puny increase in Kansas’ sales tax revenues badly trailed the U.S. average. And the decline in the state’s personal income tax collections was third worst in the country.
Brownback and his allies keep saying the state economy has turned the corner.
But when compared with so many other states, Kansas is lagging them in taking in enough money to provide good public services to its residents.