A history of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson had a private lunch in the governor’s mansion Thursday with economist Arthur Laffer and St. Louis GOP mega donor Rex Sinquefield.
Laffer, who served on President Ronald Reagan’s economic policy advisory board, was the principal architect of the controversial tax cut package enacted in 2012 by then-Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
Sinquefield, who has donated $1 million to a political action committee created to help elect Parson governor in 2020, is a longtime champion of eliminating Missouri’s income tax. He co-authored a book on tax policy with Laffer.
The governor’s office confirmed the lunch was originally scheduled only with Laffer to discuss tax policy. It’s unclear if Laffer or Sinquefield had any other meetings with elected officials in Jefferson City Thursday.
Sinquefield is Missouri’s most prominent political donor, doling out tens of millions in contributions in recent years to various candidates and causes.
He is currently financing a campaign to allow a statewide vote to force the merger of St. Louis County with St. Louis City. The idea has sparked a backlash from lawmakers, who argue only local voters should have a say.
“The governor and I had a productive lunch conversation about the future economic growth needs of a state we both dearly love,” Sinquefield said in an email to The Star.
Laffer was paid $75,000 by the Brownback administration for consulting work on the 2012 plan that eliminated individual income tax for the owners of limited liability companies and other pass-through businesses in Kansas. The state also sharply reduced income tax rates across the board.
Kansas consistently lagged the national average in job growth after implementing those tax cuts, prompting lawmakers to repeal the plan in 2017 after four straight years of budget shortfalls that required cuts to higher education, Medicaid, and other state services.