Yael T. Abouhalkah

Kansas jobs jumped in June, but Gov. Sam Brownback better not celebrate yet

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been saying for months that jobs will flock to his state because of his 2012 tax cuts.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been saying for months that jobs will flock to his state because of his 2012 tax cuts. AP

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback just got some encouraging news Friday: His state gained a solid 5,700 jobs in June.

State officials said they were extremely pleased about that fact, especially after the state lost 4,400 jobs in May.

But a new state report and federal Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a few discouraging facts as well.

▪ The state’s unemployment rate continued its upward trend, hitting 4.5 percent in June. That’s up from 4.4 percent in May and 4.2 percent earlier this year.

▪ Since June of 2014, the state has added only 11,500 total jobs, or fewer than 1,000 a month. That’s less than half of Brownback’s announced promise during his 2014 campaign that Kansas would add 2,000 jobs a month in the private sector.

Indeed, the state’s employment growth rate was only .8 percent over the past 12 months — one of the nation’s lowest.

▪ Kansas has gained only 1,700 total jobs in the last six months. That’s pitiful.

In Missouri, employment was up 1,500 jobs in June, though the state’s unemployment rate also rose to 6 percent in June. Overall, Missouri — like Kansas — has had a dismal last 12 months, growing only .8 percent in total jobs.

However, Missouri didn’t irresponsibly slash its income taxes like Kansas and Brownback did in 2012. So Missouri had a healthy budget as the new fiscal year started July 1.

The Kansas Legislature, though, just had to pass the largest tax increase in state history while trying to balance the state’s fiscal year 2016 budget.

The higher taxes were desperately needed because the income tax cuts Brownback pushed three years ago are not doing what they were supposed to do in boosting Kansas employment.

Over the long haul, Brownback continues to pledge that Kansas will attract plenty of employers looking for low income taxes.

So far — and in spite of the positive numbers in June — that’s not happening as quickly as the governor predicted.

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