How convenient for Gov. Sam Brownback: Six days after Kansas voters re-elected him, they discovered Monday that he had sold them a budget with a $1 billion black hole.
Sorry, voters, but lots of people hoped you would oust this guy, not put him back in charge of a failed tax-cut experiment.
Yet 49.7 percent of voters still went to the polls and chose Brownback over Democrat Paul Davis.
Kansans bought Brownback’s reductions in the individual income tax rates. Now they own those tax cuts and all their disastrous consequences.
So now what?
Brownback and state legislators will look for “efficiencies,” it was said Monday.
In reality, the state is looking at huge cuts in public services, and education is squarely in the target range.
Kansas has to find at least $280 million to balance its current budget. And then it has to find another $436 million in cuts in the 2016 budget.
Oh, and the state will spend down all of about $380 million it had in reserves, thanks largely to a sales tax increase from several years ago.
That’s more than $1 billion that Kansas has to find because revenues won’t come in as strongly as once expected.
Because Brownback and conservative Republican legislators approved deep individual income tax cuts that took effect in 2013, then thought these moves would magically bring in lots more jobs and more state revenues.
It hasn’t happened.
As I’ve documented for months, the state of Kansas is far behind other states in creating jobs. Meanwhile, revenues have come in far less strongly than expected by Brownback and his crowd of true believers.
Months and months of hard work are ahead for the governor and legislators now that reality is sinking in.
The Kansas voters who re-elected Brownback share much of the blame for the problems the state now faces.