Yael T. Abouhalkah

Sam Brownback’s tax cuts fail again: Kansas job growth in 2014 lagged region and nation

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback got some more less-than-good jobs growth news on Tuesday.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback got some more less-than-good jobs growth news on Tuesday.

A new jobs report released Tuesday shows that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts failed to propel the state ahead of others in the region in creating employment in all of 2014.

Missouri — which did not slash income taxes as Kansas did — beat the Sunflower State in gaining jobs in the last year.

Kansas also was far behind the U.S. average job growth over that time.

That pretty much destroys Brownback’s constant whining that President Barack Obama’s policies have held back employment in Kansas. Many other states are doing just fine in padding their jobs rolls.

Here are the numbers, all culled from official U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Kansas officials last week acknowledged that the state information was correct, pointing out that the state had gained more jobs than first thought in 2014.

But as it turns out, other states did even better.

Total nonfarm, seasonally adjusted jobs growth from January 2014 to January 2015:

Colorado up 2.9 percent

Arkansas up 2.3 percent

U.S. average up 2.3 percent

Missouri up 1.6 percent

Iowa up 1.6 percent

Oklahoma up 1.5 percent

Kansas up 1.3 percent

Nebraska up 1.2 percent

Brownback and his allies like to look at private sector job additions, claiming that government jobs shouldn’t be taken into account when measuring the progress of a state’s economy.

That’s inane, of course. If you lose a government job, you are not employed, and that’s bad for the state’s fiscal health.

So what happens if you look at total private sector employment from January 2014 to January 2015?

Kansas is behind the pack, again.

Colorado up 3.5 percent

Arkansas up 2.8 percent

U.S. average 2.6 percent

Oklahoma up 1.9 percent

Missouri up 1.8 percent

Iowa up 1.6 percent

Kansas up 1.5 percent

Nebraska up 1.2 percent

Bottom line: Kansas did add jobs in 2014, and that’s a good thing. But the income tax cuts that took effect in 2013 certainly didn’t propel the state ahead of many others, especially in our region.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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