Yael T. Abouhalkah

New Kansas revenue figures same bad news for Sam Brownback’s campaign

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts continue to make it difficult for the state to make its revenue projections.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts continue to make it difficult for the state to make its revenue projections. The Associated Press

The grand “experiment” that Gov. Sam Brownback is conducting on Kansans experienced another failure in September.

That’s more bad news for Brownback’s re-election campaign as he tries to fend off a strong challenge from Democrat Paul Davis.

The income tax cuts promoted by the Republican incumbent slashed that form of revenue $42 million short of what had experts had estimated would occur in the month.

Overall, the state was $21 million below projections — and that’s unsettling. Here’s why.

The Brownback administration has been claiming for many months that income tax revenues would level off. That was a key statement, because those receipts fell a stunning $300 million short in the April-June period of the most recent fiscal year.

Yet so far, income tax receipts are more than $53 million below predictions from July-September in the new fiscal year.

Davis correctly keeps reminding people that the tax cuts are not working to create a huge number of new jobs, producing all kinds of new revenue. Don’t forget, also, that even more tax cuts are coming under the current scenario.

True, Brownback points out that Kansas is growing the overall number of jobs. However, it’s not at a pace faster than many nearby states, such as Missouri, that have not reduced taxes.

So even with the additional jobs, Kansas income tax collections are still below what the Brownback administration said they would be for this fiscal year, and last.

And those receipts are far below what they were two years ago, before the tax cuts took effect.

Nonpartisan experts have stated that Kansas is on pace to have a budget shortfall of $238 million by July 2016.

The new, bad news from Topeka shows that day could come much earlier. If so, that will force the next governor of Kansas — whether it’s Brownback or Davis — to start cutting more basic services for residents.

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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