The new national jobs report for April, released Wednesday, shows Kansas now trails 44 other states and the District of Columbia in total nonfarm job creation in the first four months of 2015.
That’s an extremely dismal record, especially given that Gov. Sam Brownback has pledged previously that the huge income tax cuts he pushed in 2012 would bring a resurgence of employment to the Sunflower State.
It’s not happening.
The new report shows Brownback is falling far short of keeping his promise on job creation in Kansas.
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During his re-election campaign in 2015, the governor said he wanted to create 100,000 new private sector jobs in his second term. That works out to just over 2,000 added employees per month over that four-year period. Brownback said Kansas had to grow that quickly so it could gain more tax revenue to avoid budget shortfalls.
But the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows Kansas now has actually lost a total of 300 nonfarm jobs in the first four months of Brownback’s second term, from January through April.
That’s worse than 44 other states. Put another way, it’s better than only Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and West Virginia. All those states have lost jobs at slightly higher rates than Kansas has.
The nonfarm jobs report is the best overall measurement of total employment, including government jobs. If you strip those out, you’re left with the private-sector job figure that Brownback used. I
n that case, total private sector employment has gone up by only 700 in the first four months of the year.
Either way, it’s a very discouraging start to 2015.
Worse, because the jobs aren’t coming and because Brownback’s income tax cuts from 2012 were too severe, the state faces a $400 million-plus budget gap. The Legislature is trying to close it this week by seeing how many taxes have to be increased to balance the budget for 2016, which begins July 1.